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Painting (MA)

Samuel Hanner

Sam Hanner (b. 1990, Norwich, UK) lives and works in London. He completed his BA in Art Practice at Goldsmiths, University of London in 2012.

His work has been shown in group exhibitions including Final Not Over - Again at Unit 1 Gallery Workshop, London in 2021 and Dark Ages - James Collins, Ben Westley-Clarke, Sam Hanner, Ed Hill and Rae Hicks at Geddes Gallery, London in 2016.

His work will be shown in Locus Amœnus opening at The Function Suite, London on 19th July 2021, an exhibition curated by Sam Hanner and Sophie Goodchild.   

“Sqruark?” asked the Heron

“Producing generative fictions that pose, model and enact alternative modes of embodiment and knowledge.” I said.

“Eh BOMP” asked the bittern.

I sighed. “Let me expand. Producing – Through the use of painting, writing, music, video and installation. 

Generative Fictions – Imagined frameworks or constructed scenarios that set themselves up in opposition to/are in conflict with/deviate from an established consensual reality and are themselves productive. For instance the fiction of an artist living in a world of harmonious symbiosis between all life.

Pose – meaning either presenting or assuming a particular position.

Model – the representation of a proposed structure and it’s simplified workings, but which always exists in some degree of isolation from its eventual intended context and is therefore a fragment, a dream.

Enact – to put in to practice, carry out or in some way reify or make manifest the model or plan. 

Alternative – departing from or challenging a norm. For instance declaring that there is a way of organising life that is not economic or prioritised according to financial growth. “It is as if the side-paths have been overgrown and forgotten, as history tends to do” as Kai Althoff said. 

Mode – the way in which something is experienced. Like the medium of embodiment.”

“Dadim cheep cheep”, Interjected a reed warbler with a seemingly unrelated comment.

“Um, sort of, conventionally meaning someone or something that"

“Squark" Heron.

"someone...that...contains a quality or idea. But, I mean the sensation of being a body that is and contains the sense of self or multiple selves.

Then there's Knowledge – The facts and information that inform the way we live. I’m specifically thinking about developing a living wisdom in contrast to an inherited history or knowledge system which, if unquestioned, turns in to dogma. For instance the insistence on burning, extracting and farming peatlands in the face of the conclusive evidence of the environmental benefits of peat - like it efficiently sequestering carbon and supporting biodiverse ecosystems.”

“mna mna”, said the otter.

“To find realities in stories within stories. As Timothy Morton writes “They who adjust the past hold open all kinds of futures”. My practice harnesses the constellation of elements that affirm the lack of a single stable reality.”

FEN — 2021 Video, 00:30:51
Ácennan Fengelad — 2021 Video, 00:05:02
FEN — Installation Image
FEN — Installation Image
FEN — Installation Image
FEN — Installation Image
FEN — Installation Image
FEN — Installation Image
FEN — Installation Image
FEN — Installation Image
FEN - Mr Arborescent — Acrylic on Board, 360 x 110 cm, 2021
Fen - Golden Bud — Acrylic on Board, 260 x 80 cm, 2021
FEN — Video walk-through, mixed media installation.

FEN is the project that has occupied my practice since December 2020 when, in my childhood bedroom, legs tired from a stomp across heavy clay Norfolk fields, I read of the wetlands that used to stretch across an area of East-Anglia not far from where I sat. Richly biodiverse fragments of an eco-system coalesced in my mind.

For the first video, I decided to explore the impossibility of accessing the lost landscape of Hereward’s resistance to the Norman invasion, through the available resources and places around me in South-East London. From a disused astro-turf pitch behind a supermarket grew the question of what kind of relationship this Hereward had formed with the landscape, based on the scant information recorded. Was there less of a separation between human and nature in their time? In what ways were they attuned to the idiosyncrasies of this lost landscape? And, specific to the facts about Hereward’s life, why did he vanish without a record after the fall of his stronghold? A narrative for my exploration of this character and their relationship with the Fens began to form.

The second strand that led into the following video considered how the landscape of the Fens will go on changing with the threat of rising seas and the eventual exhaustion of the peat rich agricultural land. How will our attitudes to the incoming waters shape the landscape just as Anglo-Saxon attitudes to landscape are reflected through the language.


Video, Installation, Painting, Sculpture
Birch — Acrylic on Elderberry Dyed Canvas, 60 x 40cm, 2021.
Saxon Gold — Collaged Acrylic on Paper with Staple, 20 x 30 cm, 2021.
Steeped — Acrylic on Paper, 100 x 70cm, 2021.
Tidal — Acrylic on Paper, 100 x 70cm, 2021.
Bloom (Detail) — Acrylic on Calico, detail of 150 x 500cm, 2021
Bloom (Detail) — Acrylic on Calico, detail of 150 x 500cm, 2021


Acrylic on Elderberry Dyed Canvas, Collaged Acrylic on Paper, Acrylic on Paper, Acrylic on Calico.

This installation was the gateway to the FEN project. The medieval helmet is emblematic of an intangible world, a pre-modern mindset. Drawn to the surface of the helmet, the shine rendered in thick oil paint on the roughest Hessian, the presence of the void within the helmet seemed amplified. I wondered about the noise that had existed within. To form the scenario of a ritual organisation of collected materials, I conceived of this space as somewhere to contemplate the possibility of a lost, alternative engagement with landscape, the psyche and space-time.

My work has developed from the idea of mythopoesis, characterised in Fictioning by Simon O’Sullivan and David Burrows, as “productive of worlds, people and communities-to-come often drawing upon residual and emergent cultures”, towards a myth-science, which “functions by producing alternate perspectives and models, revealing habits of thought concerning physical historical and social realities as yet more myth”. I was especially drawn to the consideration of medieval Mappae Mundi as ““novel points of entry” into contemporary situations. For medieval maps, rather than being just representations of worlds, are sacred objects that guide or invite journeys.” P.113


Oil Paint on Hessian, Black PVC Fabric, Plaster, Steel, Cob, Wire Mesh, Polythene and Marker Pen


Various Dimensions