The Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis presents the first survey of the early work of New York-based Sean Landers. Since the 1990s, Landers’ work has been one of the most captivating enterprises in contemporary art, as a practice that has long gamed sincere attempt to map the boundaries of human-nature and the self. This exhibition proposes that Landers’ formative body of work, produced from 1991-1994, was one that defined his twenty-year career. The show presents an overview of the artist’s oeuvre including text works on paper, photographs, paintings, sculptures, and diaristic calendars, with a focus on his performative videos shot in the studio. Across this diverse range of media, Landers presents a holistic set of themes and methodologies, key among them a sincere and unflinching presentation of the artist’s consciousness. Weaving stream-of-thought text or soliloquizing on lo-fi video, Landers presents the artist as an object of study: from the earliest yellow legal pads featuring as autobiographer the fictional artist Chris Hamson, to the reclaiming of the persona by Landers’ own voice. In this relentless articulation of emotion, at its most base and its most noble—from self-loathing, self-doubt, and humiliation, to humility, empathy and true love—Landers’ explores the process of artistic creation through the invention, and simultaneous revelation, of the self.
Sean Landers: 1991-1994, Improbable History is organized by Paul Ha, Director, and Laura Fried, Assistant Curator, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis. A new catalog, featuring Lander’s early work and new texts, will be produced on the occasion of the exhibition.