Anggrek Agency is thrilled to present Pleasure Boy, a selection of Polaroid Collages by multidisciplinary British artist Stuart Sandford (GB, *1978).
Sandford works across (and often combines) different media, including photography, sculpture, painting, moving image, and installation, and has pushed the boundaries of artistic expression, fearlessly delving into themes of identity, queer culture, and the complex nature of human relationships.
In recent times, Sandford has ventured into the realm of sculptures, working with traditional materials such as bronze and marble but with a 21st Century approach of using state of the art 3D scanning and modelling. Whilst these sculptures can take many months or even years to complete, one fascinating facet of his artistic journey comprises his Polaroid Collages, which can best be described as an embodiment of instant sculpture.
Sandford’s captivating use of Polaroid photography as a medium enables him to capture both fleeting moments and deeper emotional narratives. By seamlessly blending intimate moments with both animate and inanimate objects such as flowers, plants, vintage road signs, landscapes, etc., he creates a compelling visual narrative that draws us into a realm where reality converges with imagination.
Sandford’s work has been shown in galleries and art institutions around the world such as Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit and Centre de la Photographie Geneva, it’s part of the permanent collection of the Tom of Finland Foundation in Los Angeles, and appears in many important private collections including the Sir Elton John Photography collection, the Koç Collection, and the Rennie Collection.
Text by Francesco Dama
Over the past five years Stuart Sandford has been taking polaroids, which he has then cut and reassembled in new compositions. The resulting body of work, titled Polaroid Collages, and the companion series Polaroid Collages - LA/CDMX made in 2022, document the artist’s social circle - his “friends, lovers & others”, in his own words - in several locations between Los Angeles, Europe, and Mexico.
Taking a polaroid finds a perfect equivalent in writing down a note: both actions share the same immediacy and respond to the same urgency of fixing an idea before it disappears. It’s something that has to do with capturing a thought or an instant, clinging to a moment in the awareness that we’ll be able to go back to it, in the form of memories. Promises of a pleasure yet to come.
Stuart describes his pictures in poetic terms, referring to them as “instant sculptures that, held in your hand, come alive and sing”. Their physical nature is enhanced by the cuts and the junction lines left visible on the surface of each photograph, reminding us that these are images made of different pieces.
Thus fragmented, the men in the Polaroid Collages strike for their vulnerability. They inhabit a place of intimacy and tenderness, slipping through life, effortlessly.
It’s here that one revisits those captured thoughts: in the towering palm trees of Laveta Terrace; in the melancholic gaze of a young man whose name we’ll never know; in the low rays of sun that turn everything they reach into gold, come dusk.
Stuart has kept his promises.