Profile: Sam De Santis >

Each year the GSA selects one image from students from across the School to represent Degree Show on our promotional posters, tickets and other publciity.

This year's selected image 'Hand-Compacted Sphere' is by student Sam de Santis, from Fine Art Photography. More of Sam's work is featured in the image carousel above, and you can find Sam's degree show in Studio 24, Mackintosh Building.

Sam de Santis' Artist statement: 'No Attempt to Fix'

"You know, one pebble moving one foot in two million years is enough action to keep me really excited" [Robert Smithson]

It is all too easy to overlook the subtle shifts that occur around us everyday. From ice melting in a glass to a "pebble moving one foot", the significance of, and the possibilities that can arise from these little moments of transition are underestimated. Passing them off as mundane, arbitrary and insignificant, it is easy to miss the underlying complexity and beauty that emanates from the constant state of flux in which all matter exists.

An understanding of how materials function allows one to grasp a sense of 'real time', to become aware of the physicality of actual duration. Time isn't just a clock face or the position of the sun, it's the drying of soil, the rust on steel, or the fogging of photographic paper. When you start to consider time in this way, without the confines of minutes or hours, the intrinsic relationship between duration and physicality becomes clear and it is this relationship that my work explores.

Through use of descriptive titles, and matter a fact modes of display I create a situation where the work can stand completely independent of an explanation. Once the show is opened I stand back, allowing the pieces made to simply do what they do and be what they are with no attempt to fix or preserve on my part. When the distance between the work and myself is put in place I become very much part of the audience, often seeing the complete space for the first time with them. It is my belief that this keeps the work active, not only in a physical, but also in a theoretical sense. I, alongside the viewer am learning, seeing the works as objects for what they are, what they can represent and evoke. Other than setting the initial parameters for how a work is formed, once completed, I no longer have control over any of the things I make, and nor do I want to.

Put simply; they are just spheres of soil, it is a pile of exposing photographic paper and I did put dirt in white paint, however, through such simplicity of gesture arise complexities that even I am only starting to understand. Once a show is opened, no reading is incorrect, my opinions stand for nothing and the work is no longer mine.

Sam can be contacted at