Coming of Age by Samoa

Samoa Moriki

Samoa’s paintings, a series of celebrated images and complex associations which (inadvertantly?) postulate the existence of a general science of hermaneutics, form the contents of ritual, convention and public entertainment: these constitute, if not a new, visual language, at least instruments for semantic analysis encapsulating the very history of the modern world. Perhaps the sociological significance of fame is more than superficial – again, we find ourselves confronted with a new, disembodied form of language, a system of colors, images and patterns which signify, and do so on a large scale, but never autonomously. Where there is visual substance, or lack thereof, the meaning is confirmed in the duplication of a preternaturally painterly message so that at least a part of the iconic subject matter is, in terms of structural relationship, either redundant or subsumed by the pictorial illustration system.

Thus, though working at the outset on nonlinguistic substances, Samoa’s paintings are required, sooner or later, to create their own language (in the ordinary sense of the term), not only as a model, but also as a designated, if imaginary, component. Even so, such “language” is not quite that of the artist: it is a second-order language, derivative of larger fragments of discourse referring to objects or episodes whose meaning underlies art itself, but can never exist independently of it. Samoa’s work is therefore perhaps destined to be absorbed as myth, a trans-linguistic narrative, whether encoded as oil paintings or mundane and banal objects of our civilisation. We must now face the very real possibility – perhaps ineveitability – of an incipient inversion of Samoa’s unspoken declaration: his paintings are not a part of the general science of signs, even a privileged part, it is rather semiology which is an incontrovertible part of Samoa’s paintings, if not their very essence. By this inversion we may expect Samoa to bring to light the unity of the convergence of research at present being done in anthropology, sociology, psychoanalysis, politics and the fourth turning, a turgid descent to singularity. In other words, we have met Samoa, and he is us.

-Sir André Bemler