Son[i]a #266 Melanie Smith
- 00:01 You can’t stay still in my work
- 04:07 Painting as a thought process
- 05:54 Working with other people
- 07:00 Mexico... why did I go there?
- 10:42 Dismantling Minimalism
- 12:58 The experience of color and the inoperativeness of art
- 15:36 'Spiral City'. Urban grid and abstraction
- 18:47 'Aztec Stadium'. Chaos and Modernity
- 25:12 If we define the sign too much, then we just mimic
- 28:00 Humor as a political gesture
- 32:05 'Farce and artifice'. Estrangement and awkwardness
- 36:48 Deconstructing the stage, breaking down the surface: 'Parres' and 'Xilitla'
- 39:34 “Parres”
- 41:39 “Xilitla”
- 42:46 Modernism grew up through Colonialism
- 43:46 'Bulto'. Post-colonialism and phantasmagoric identities
Melanie Smith (b. Poole, United Kingdom, 1965) dismantles and ruptures art history in order to generate new associations, stories and questions in the contemporary spectator. Her work alternates and mixes films, photographs, sculptures, assemblages, performances, and installations. And painting runs through all of it. Painting understood as process, as an invisible unifying thread, and also as object of deconstruction.
In 1989, after graduating with a B.A. in Fine Arts from the University of Reading, Melanie Smith travelled to Mexico, where she has lived and worked ever since. European and Latin American realities collide in her work, generating a sensuous play of contrasts, tinged with irony, through which she exposes the contradictions of the modern project, colonialism, industrialisation, and neoliberalism. The colours, the shapes, the sounds, the bustle, and the folklore of Mexico City engage in an artistic dialogue with Smith's minimalist background and Anglo-Saxon cultural baggage.
In this podcast, Melanie Smith talks about her encounter with Mexico, her relationship with painting, and the risks of so-called political art, which can end up being as dogmatic as the behaviour it supposedly condemns. She also reflects on satire and absurdity as tools of subversion and on the need to break down artistic frameworks and surfaces in order to create new realities. And she discusses some of her most significant works, including ‘Spiral City’, ‘Farce and Artifice’, and ‘Aztec Stadium’.