Sam Shendi makes an audacious statement about art that counters the notion that “It’s not art until you finish it.” One could say the opposite is true of Shendi’s minimalist objects. They appear to be accidental byproducts of some elaborate process undertaken to produce a thing wholly unrelated to the art he is presenting. If one were to enter his studio and observe him meticulously applying perfect high gloss finishes and precise details to one of his sculptures one would invariably be compelled to ask, “what is it?” And that is when one will know that Sam Shendi has once again proven the old adage, “True innovation does not exist until it is given the care and attention it doesn’t yet deserve.” Well, it could someday be an old adage.
Born and raised in Egypt and trained in monumental architecture, his work employs much the same principals of divine proportion as did the great pyramids of his homeland. And for all we know they may have been finished in bright primary colors as well.
Ever since he was a student he has been interested in exploring steel as a medium using scrap metals and car parts. His current body of work, mostly rendered in steel, are cut from sheets and welded, to produce perfect angles and lines. The manipulation of the steel, aids the way the light falls on the pieces giving them a friendly almost weightless look, impervious to the power of gravity. Assisted by the use of colour to deceive the eye, flouting a sense of gravity and taking the attention away from the material. Also giving the work a strong optical impact.
These sculptures are like three-dimensional pictures. They are subtle reminders that the line of art history is not broken. In them we can readily find linguistic loops from Brancusi and Gerrit Thomas Rietveld. These imageries undergo a ‘conceptual remix’ in Sam’s poetic sculptures, not far removed from the masters of 1970s Minimalism, Donald Judd and Ellsworth Kelly.