Sam King (b. 1995) is a British artist who lives and works in London. He studied Fine Arts at The Art Academy in London, where he developed his technical skills and the conceptual bases of his artistic experimentation. Among the various awards he received are the Jorge-Aguilar Artist Award in 2018, the Liberty Art Award, and the ACS Studio Prize – Shortlisted in 2020. Since 2018, he has taken part in several exhibitions in Asia and Europe.
Through his artistic activity, King investigates subjectivity in the digital era by bringing to light the contradictions of life and contemporary experience, which are characterized by the dispersion of identity between the physical and the digital world. His experimentation aim is to explore the human condition with the ultimate purpose of disrupting pre-made notions of identity imposed by society. He does that in order to find a primordial connection to the self: “The resulting work deals with universal concepts of creation and destruction, being and non-being, fullness, and nothingness […] Confronting questions of being, spirituality, mortality, and incarnation, he strips away the physical boundaries of the body, to reveal it as the active site in which meaning is produced.” – The Flux Review. With an interest in the idea of removal to reach transient and incomplete states, he combines classic oil painting techniques with a variety of creative and destructive techniques such as impasto, burning, scraping, cutting, and dragging to alter figures and surfaces. The main subject of his work is the body, through which he represents substance in a monolithic way. He does that by combining chiaroscuro and dramatic compositions to various mental processes and digital distortion. “My work provokes contradictory sensory and emotional responses that reveal the contingent nature of incarnation and the subversive possibilities of representation. Pietas is one of my latest works which combines traditional oil painting with airbrush fading, connecting the present to the past: on the one hand, there is an authentic and coherent narrative of the old Masters, on the other, the fragmentary experience of consumerism and the flat, glossy aesthetics of digital screens. By means of synthesising alternative interpretations of the body, my practice aims to transgress the experiential boundaries imposed by contemporary culture”, says King.