Sam Taylor-Johnson: Second Floor

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When Sam Taylor-Johnson climbed the famous mirrored staircase of Chanels headquarters at 31 Rue Cambon, Paris, she did not quite know what to expect. Her destination was Coco Chanels private apartment on the second floor; her mission, to photograph it. Through the door marked Mademoiselle Prive, Taylor-Johnson entered Coco Chanels secret world exactly as she had left it at her death in 1971. Taylor-Johnson captures the mysterious, eerie presence of Cocos ornaments and furniture: a golden lion, a bejewelled birdcage, leather-bound books, Chinese lacquer screens, crystal chandeliers. Ultimately we are left with a sense of beautiful emptiness cocos touch is everywhere, but everywhere is haunted by her absence. Born in 1967, Sam Taylor-Johnson (Sam Taylor-Wood) is at the forefront of contemporary British art. Filmmaker, photographer and conceptual artist, her solo exhibitions include those at the Kunsthallle Zurich, the Hayward Gallery, London, and the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston. In 2009 Taylor-Johnson directed her debut feature film Nowhere Boy about the young John Lennon. Her books at Steidl include Crying Men (2004), Still Lives (2006) and the upcoming Birth of a Clown.