Conference interpreter during the conversation beetween Melanie Smith and Tanya Barson

Melanie Smith was born in the United Kingdom in 1965, but has developed her career in the Mexican art scene since the 90´s. In 1989 she left behind the political and economic tensions of Thatcher’s Britain to settle in Mexico, where she witnessed the impact of capitalist modernization, neoliberal globalization and hyper-consumerism, the development of an informal economy parallel to traditional forms of manufacturing, and the continuing failures or collapse of modernity.

Both contexts – the Mexican or, more broadly, Latin American, and the British or, more broadly, Anglo-Saxon or Eurocentric culture – are essential to her work. Although Smith does not define herself as a painter and works in a variety of media, they are all imbued with a singular and persistent reference to painting.

In his work Smith displays a continuous play between farce (in the sense of absurdity, mockery or parody) and artifice (understood as artificiality and deception and ultimately as the “artifice of reason”) and applies these concepts to contemporary society and what has been called “baroque modernity”. This exhibition covers Smith’s work from the early nineties to the present day. Rather than following a chronological arrangement, it is organised according to a series of apparently simple themes or motifs that are recurrent in his production: Abstraction, Urban, Colour, Body, Archaeology, Nature and Scale. This arrangement allows for the juxtaposition of works produced at different moments in the artist’s career, highlighting the continuities between them and at the same time embracing tensions, conflicts, irrationality and chaos. The artist herself has defined her corpus as a “giant palimpsest”.

Posted in Contemporary Art.