Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Sam Taylor-Wood (born London 1967) is a contemporary artist working mostly in video and photography. She has been identified as a member of the young British Artist group being a graduate of Goldsmiths' College and being married to her dealer Jay Jopling.
Taylor-Wood's parents divorced when she was a teenager and she moved with her mother and step-father to a new-age commune in Surrey. Her mother abandoned the family when Taylor-Wood was sixteen and she moved into a bed-sit to live alone. Having done poorly in exams due to this disruption it took Taylor-Wood several years to gain the required qualification for entry into art school. After a year at a North London Polytechnic she transferred to complete a Fine Art degree at Goldsmiths' College in 1990.
Following University Taylor-Wood held jobs at the Royal Opera House and managed a nightclub Camden Palace. In 1991 her work began to appear in a number of group exhibitions alongside that of contemporaries from Goldsmiths'. Her breakthrough came in 1994 with the work "Killing Time" in which four people mime an opera score. From that point multi-screen video works became the main form of Taylor-Wood's work. Begining with the video works "Travesty of a Mockery " and "Pent-Up " of 1996 Taylor-Wood began to use professional actors. Her work since 1996 has often featured celebrity friends: Elton John was included in a large photo-work and commissioned Taylor-Wood to make a promotional video starring Robert Downey Jr. for one of his records. In 2002 Taylor-Wood was commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery to make a video portrait of David Beckham.
In 1995 Taylor-Wood married Jay Jopling and their first child was born in 1997. Shortly after she was diagnosed with colon cancer that was succesfully treated. In 1999 she was diagnosed with breast cancer resulting in her having a mastectomy.
Taylor-Wood was nominated for the Turner Prize in 1997.
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