20 - 22 NOVEMBER 2018

Cob Gallery, London is pleased to announce it's participation in Loop Barcelona 2018, presenting Sam Austen's work Run!! For The Present.


Surrealism and science fiction are particularly visible influences on the work of Sam Austen. Fantastical and abstract landscapes house indefinable shapes, objects and words. The films lucidly explore a relationship between physicality and transience, referencing early pioneers of abstract cinema such as Len Lye and Oskar Fischinger; their unusual styles and techniques using light and colour are metamorphosed sculpturally in Austen’s films. The dancing abstract patterns and use of fast-paced, erratic music makes for an entrancing but often unnerving experience in which the narrative is in a continual process of being lost and found
Run!! For The Present is presented in six chapters - each distinct films or narratives in themselves, each with a title scene that hint at other unknown sub- narratives. The main title reflects the overarching narrative theme through the film of trajectory and momentum. Run!! For The Present is both an imperative, installing fear or paranoia, of escape from something, but is also potentially emboldening, a call to action in the here and now.

A stampede of animated naked legs move past as if we are in the dirt, an abstract field of view hovers and the camera rises high above until an Icarus type free-fall, two figures travel through dark landscape while the sky is littered with cosmic structures, the numerals that head each chapter create an end narrative of their own, turning into a kind of landscape that seems to be counting it’s own version of time. Each scene contains a feeling of a time both moving, passing, ticking and marching, time as a flow of images.

Recurring imagery of a surface of dots reminiscent of Polke’s spot paintings, appears in many scenes, like a kind of resolution itself it manifests in different visual forms, speaks of itself as vision and light but also a voice, information and noise. The soundtrack, recorded and made by the artist, acts to relocate the viewer within the image, switching between warm serenity to nightclub panic, a city overlaid by wild nature, creeping horror rhythms shift into crumbling industrial soundscapes. A brief echoed sample of ‘Three’ by Prince’s jazz fusion band Madhouse begins the film as a kind of sensuous but shrill warm up.


Sam Austen, (b. 1986 lives and works in London) is a graduate of the Royal Academy Schools. Early animated cinema, graphic novels, horror film, and science fiction are particular influences on Sam Austen’s work. Primarily he produces 16mm films that utilise a range of in-camera multi-layered special effects, shooting an array of studio built objects, material, drawing and texts.

Austen is interested in creating an awareness of the image as a physical entity, something that wrestles with it’s non-physical nature, wrangling with an excessively expanding eye that flirts with both the virtual and the real. A constant vortex of looking and longing, both inwards and outwards of the image.

Selected group and solo exhibitions include: Hologram Burnt On To The Retina, Farbvision, Berlin (2018), NEW WORK PART II: MATERIAL, Cob Gallery, London (2018), CHUMMING, The Pipe Factory, Glasgow (2018),   Run!! For The Present, Deptford X, London (2017), Like Honey From A Weed, Cass Sculpture Foundation, West Sussex (2017), Bearing Liability, Strange Cargo, Folkestone (2017), Such Animals, Paradise Row, London (2014), A Cool Drink To Cheek, Plaza Plaza, 2014, Open Heart Surgery, The Moving MuseumLondon 2013, Young London, V22, London 2012, and Angry Film, The Sunday Painter, London 2010.

In 2009 the artist was awarded the ACME Studio Prize Chelsea.

November 20, 2018