Memories of the Inanimate

By Chloe Mercier-Legros

Memory is the sanctuary of consciousness. Stories, feelings, and sensations are held in the mind and are the pillar of identity. Threads of the past, deeply buried, sometimes resurface, echoed by a voice, a taste, a scent, a process. For Samuel Ross, as memories bloom in the living, they also appear in objects. Find out more in Memories Of The Inanimate

Coarse, displayed at the Friedman Benda Gallery in New York from May 10th to June 17th, is the second solo presentation of British fashion designer, artist, and creative director Samuel Ross. He is known for founding the fashion label A-COLD-WALL and working with brands such as Timberland, Off-White and Nike. A-COLD-WALL is luxury menswear inspired by British class system disparities in society, more precisely in macro-cities such as London.

Inspired by the value of memories, this exhibition is a most-layered collection. The six pieces of art exhibited, Anaesthesia I, Anaesthesia II, Birth at dawn, Border, Fire opens stone and Slab, testify with a sophisticated bluntness of the imagination of the stories of materials.

This exhibition explores the ties between materials and their history. It embodies the conflicts between past and present, and the process of separation of the two via the challenging changes the materials go through. An element is chosen, and from then the purpose is the celebration of its roots. The art pieces, covered in honey, spices or even milk are transformed into a visual expression of their journey from where they came from, aiming to better understand how they got to their current form.

These pieces of art have gone through time, through hands, through fire, through life, and are here to illustrate this process. They represent a real evolution, coming from the land, carrying their memories, time passed and they changed. But still, the fibres inside testify of where they came from. This ever-so-reliable duality is a main inspiration for Samuel Ross, as human beings strive to evolve and grow, struggling to maintain a place for roots.

The pieces of art’s memories are resuscitated throughout the changes they overcame. The most important part is the process, it animates the objects. Each mark on the material is an illustration of its memories, of its life, it’s a representation of the object’s narrative.

Cleverly complex, but raw to the bone, the exhibition intertwines around the areas of common grounds, and togetherness, but unexpectedly does it around spiritless elements. We find ourselves relating to pieces of concrete, understanding the importance of their background. This collection is full of contrast, both industrial and raw, modern and rough, and not only manages to give life to the inanimate, but it also gives them roots, a story.

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