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Sam Contis


May 13 - June 18, 2022

Opening Reception : May 13, 2022 6-8 pm, Performance at 7 pm

Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery is pleased to present Duet, Sam Contis’s second solo exhibition with the gallery. Utilizing both rooms of the space, Contis will exhibit a new series of photographs created between 2016 and 2021. The work examines the body’s production of sound, centering on a single subject, the New York- and Berlin-based vocalist Inbal Hever. The show incorporates live performances by Hever, performing a piece by composer Chaya Czernowin. Between performances, a recorded version will play on speakers situated in the center of the back gallery, resonating through the entire space.

In Duet, Contis expands upon an interest in the body’s physicality and movement in space. In her photographs she looks closely at Hever, whom she first saw perform in a rehearsal in Berlin in 2016. Watching that intimate performance from an unusually close perspective, Contis was struck by the small details she was able to observe – the strain of the singer’s neck muscles and the flush of her face as the sound moved through her body. This led to a collaboration that has been ongoing for the past 6 years.

“Over the years we met up in different makeshift studio spaces, often domestic spaces that weren’t either of our homes. I was always photographing her in natural light, so proximity to the window was important and we were always opening and closing windows to modulate the sound going out and the sound from outside coming in. I started to think of this as akin to the body bringing air in and pushing it out – the windows became ways of thinking about interiors and exteriors, and the space of the studio as another body.”

The two rooms of the gallery show two distinct but connected sequences of images. In the front gallery we see images of Hever rehearsing – her body refracted in a mirror, a large-scale portrait in which the motion blur of the image suggests the force of her breath, a diptych where she holds a tuning fork to her ear to find a note. In the back gallery are images of the spaces where the two artists collaborated. Contis here focuses on the windows of the different studios, directing our view outward – into other windows, across courtyards, through curtains and tree branches. Combining live performance, audio recording and photographs, Contis explores her relationship to Hever, the nature of perception and attention, and the body as a landscape animated by voice and breath.

An interview between Sam Contis, Inbal Hever, and River Bullock will accompany the exhibition. Please email the gallery ( for a digital copy, or pick up a hard copy during the show.

Performance Schedule

Inbal Hever will perform Adiantum Capillus-Veneris (Maidenhair fern) I, II, & III Etudes in Fragility
by Chaya Czernowin on the following dates:

Friday, May 13: Opening reception 6-8PM, Performance at 7PM

Friday, May 20: Performance 7PM
Saturday, May 21: Performance 1PM followed by a panel discussion between Contis, Hever, and River Bullock

Thursday, May 26: Performance 7PM
Saturday, June 4: Performance 1PM
Friday, June 10: Performance 7PM
Saturday, June 18: Performance 1PM

please note that each performance lasts approximately 30 minutes

Sam Contis (b. 1982) received her MFA from Yale University in 2008 and BFA from New York University in 2004. Her work has been exhibited widely, including at the Barbican Art Gallery, London; the Gropius-Bau, Berlin; the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. She is the recipient of a 2022 Guggenheim Fellowship, a Nancy Graves Grant for Visual Artists, and an Aaron Siskind Fellowship. Contis’s work is represented in collections including the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; Carré d’Art, Nîmes; Centre Pompidou, Paris; KADIST, Paris and San Francisco; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. She is the author of Deep Springs (Mack, 2017) and Day Sleeper (Mack, 2020). A new monograph, Overpass, will be published by Aperture this fall. In July–November 2022, a solo exhibition of her work will be on view at the Carré d’Art, Nîmes.

 Inbal Hever is a Mezzo Soprano, whose repertoire ranges from Baroque to Contemporary Classical music. Following her studies at the Buchman-Mehta Academy of Music at Tel Aviv University, Hever earned her B.Mus and M.Mus from the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. Hever has performed as a soloist in Israel, Europe and the US. She recorded Chaya Czernowin’s Adiantum Capillus-Veneris for Deutschlandfunk (WERGO, 2017).


Sam Contis Reviewed in The New Yorker

Duet, Sam Contis's current solo show, was reviewed in The New Yorker by Andrea K. Scott. Scott traces the lineage present in Contis's work while celebrating the variety of formats on view.


Sam Contis Reviewed in Musée

Duet, Sam Contis' 2022 solo show, was reviewed in Musée Magazine by Lia Jung. Jung finds similarities between vocalist Inbal Hever's body movements and the camera itself.


Sam Contis Awarded 2022 Guggenheim Fellowship

The Board of Trustees of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation awarded Sam Contis a 2022 Guggenheim Fellowship for her achievement and promise in the field of photography.

Museum Acquisition

Sam Contis Works Acquired by The Centre Pompidou

The Centre Pompidou has acquired the following artworks from Sam Contis's Deep Springs series: Untitled (Neck), 2015; Hold Down, 2014; Pulling Back the Skin, 2014; Eggs, 2015; Red Desert (Death Valley), 2014; Shoeing, 2013; Untitled (Sheet), 2016; Cover, 2013; Arbor, 2014; Untitled (Riding the Range, ca. 1920-24), 2016.