Video Art – Sam Taylor-Johnson’s Still Life (Project 2: Time and time-based media – Exercise 2)

Interpreting video art

Watch: Sam Taylor-Wood’s Still Life (2001)

Make notes on:


  • Initial response after 1st viewing
  • Media and form of the piece
  • Contextual info; influences, other work, etc
  • How does this comment on time


In 250 words describe your understanding of this piece. What do you think Taylor-Wood wants us to think about or experience from watching this?

1. Notes

Initial response after 1st viewing

The opening shot of fruit in a bowl is reminiscent of old still life paintings. The fruit has been selected and chosen with care. The colours are a mix of reds and pale yellows. The small bunch of grapes reminded me of Edwaert Collier’s “Still Life with a Volume of Wither’s ‘Emblemes’”.

The bowl is a gentle brown and its texture contrasts with the smoothness of the fresh fruit. The background behind the bowl is out of focus and provides no distraction from the fruit. The light shines from the left and so produces shadows which accentuate the shapes and forms of the different fruits. The fruit is resting on a pale wooden table with a blue ballpen to the right of the bowl. The pen’s colour and form jars with the fruit. Whist everything else maybe described as natural, the pen is plastic and cheap.

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