Biography

Born in Poole, England, Melanie Smith received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Reading, where she studied painting. In 1989, she moved to Mexico City, joining an international community of artists and writers there. Her work was included in the first exhibition of installation art in Mexico, curated by Guillermo Santamarina at the Museum of the Ex-Convento de los Leones. Since then, the city has played an important role in her work; she has produced installations, videos, films, photographs, and paintings in which she considers Mexico City’s density of population and structures, its production of detritus, and its endless entropy and reconstruction. These concerns are balanced by Smith’s interest in the legacies of modernism and post-avant-garde movements as they manifest themselves in Latin America.

In her 2002 video, Spiral City, Smith filmed one of Mexico City’s suburbs from a helicopter as it flew in a widening spiral over the densely gridded urban space. The video takes Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty as a referent, and draws from the unique topography and dramatic immensity of Mexico City. In other projects, she has focused upon the legacies of Surrealism in the Americas. Writing about Smith’s work, art historian Dawn Ades describes the artist’s relationship to modernity and the present: “There is nothing sentimental about Smith’s pursuit of the modern spectacle in Mexico… No reference to history and the weight of the past. This is modernity of a shattered, intimate kind, already old, past its sell-by date, but always still to happen.”

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“In general, both in painting and film, I am searching for an unstable, undefined ground that creates potentials. … It is always a question of following various lines of research that for me coincide at my sites of interest and result in these layers of associations and visual encounters.”

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2018

Melanie Smith. Farsa y Artificio - Museu D’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain

2017

Obscuridades bucólicas, La Tallera, Cuernavaca, Mexico.

 

Proyecto Paralelo, Mexico City, Mexico

 

Atlas De Ausencias, Caja Negra, Madrid, Spain

2016

Abandoned Bodies and Uncertain Futures, Sicardi Gallery, Houston, TX, USA.

 

Museo Tamayo, Mexico City, Mexico

2015

Fordlandia, LULU, Mexico City, Mexico

 

Melanie Smith, Maps, mud and mundo(s), Galería Proyecto Paralelo, Mexico City, Mexico.

 

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

2014

Fordlandia, Galería Nara Roesler, São Paulo, Brazil

 

Melanie Smith, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, TX, USA

 

Green is the Colour, Sicardi Gallery, Houston, TX, USA

 

Melanie Smith, Milton Keynes Gallery, Buckinghamshire, UK

 

Melanie Smith, Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius, Lithuania

2013

Irreversible/ Illegible /Unstable, Museo Amparo, Puebla, Mexico

 

Xilitla, FLORA ars+natura, Bogota, Colombia.

2012

Melanie Smith, Galerie Peter Kilchmann, Zürich, Switzerland

 

Short Circuit, Villa Merkel, Esslingen, Germany (with exhibition catalogue)

 

Melanie Smith, Fundação Joaquim Nabuco, Brazil

2011

Wall Eyed, Galeria Nara Roesler, São Paulo, Brazil

 

Red Square Impossible Pink, Mexican Pavilion, 54th International Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy

 

Bulto, Museo de Arte de Lima, Lima, Peru (with exhibition catalogue)

2010

Xilitla, Museo Experimental El Eco, Mexico City, Mexico

2009

Spiral City & Other Vicarious Pleasures, MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA, USA

2008

Parres Trilogy, Pérez Art Museum Miami, Miami Beach, FL, USA

 

Resiste, Galería Alberto Sendrós, Buenos Aires, Argentina

 

Grey (negative) rectangle on white background, Galerie Peter Kilchmann, Zürich, Switzerland

 

Urban Views, Patrick Painter Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, USA

2007

Melanie Smith: Spiral City & Other Vicarious Pleasures, The Laboratory of Art and Ideas at Beldar, Lakewood, CO, USA

 

Parres, Galería OMR, Mexico City, Mexico (in collaboration with Rafael Ortega)

2006

Spiral City & Other Vicarious Pleasures, Museo Universitario de Ciencias y Artes, MUCA Campus, Mexico City, Mexico (with exhibition catalogue)

 

Parres Trilogy, Art Now, Tate Britain, London, UK

 

Inmaterialidad sensible, Galerías del Bosque y Nacho López, Mexico

2005

Parres Trilogy, Galerie Peter Kilchmann, Zürich, Switzerland

2004

Cerca Series: Melanie Smith, San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, CA, USA

 

Six Steps to the Unpredictable, Mark Quint Contemporary, La Jolla, CA, USA

2003

Seis Pasos Hacia la Realidad, 2002 and Untitled (works with no sense) 2003, Galería OMR, Mexico City, Mexico (in collaboration with Rafael Ortega)

 

Marco Noire Contemporary Art, San Sebastiano, Italy

2002

Seis Pasos Hacia la Abstracción, Galerie Peter Kilchmann, Zürich, Switzerland

 

Seis Pasos Hacia la Realidad, Laboratorio Arte Alameda, Mexico City, Mexico (in collaboration with Rafael Ortega)

2001

100% acrílico, Galería OMR, Mexico City, Mexico

 

Galerie Peter Kilchmann, Zürich, Switzerland

1997

Orange Lush, Instituto Anglo Mexicano de Cultura, Mexico City, Mexico (with exhibition catalogue)

1996

Obra reciente: 1916-1996, Galería OMR, Mexico City, Mexico

 

Installation, Randolph Street Gallery, Chicago, IL, USA

 

Dream spots: Taxqueña bus station, Sala Díaz, San Antonio, TX, USA

1994

En la punta de mi lengua, Galería OMR, Mexico City, Mexico

1992

L’Escaut, Brussels, Belgium

1989

Salón de Los Aztecas, Mexico City, Mexico

Selected Public Collections

Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, Irvine, CA, USA

Arte Contemporáneo en Valencia, Spain

British Council, London, England

The Bruce and Diane Halle Collection, Scottsdale, AZ, USA

Centro Cultural Muros, Madrid, Spain

Centro de Arte Contemporânea Inhotim, Braumadinho, Brazil

Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation, Miami, FL, USA

Colección Isabel y Agustín Coppel, Mexico City, Mexico

Cruz Rojas, Mexico City, Mexico

Daros Latinamerica Collection, Zürich, Switzerland

ESSL Collection, Klosterneuburg, Austria

EVN Collection, Maria Enzersdorf, Austria

Fomento Cultural Bancomer, Tamaulipas, Mexico

Fundación ARCO, Madrid, Spain

Fundación BBVA Bancomer, Mexico City, Mexico

Fundación Colección Jumex, Mexico City, Mexico

Fundación Televisa,  Mexico City, Mexico

Fundación Vergel, Cuernavaca, Mexico

Grupo de los Dieciséis, Mexico City, Mexico

Inhotim Brazil, Brumadinho, Brazil

Institut Valencià d'Art Moderne, Valencia, Spain

Ivor Braka Gallery, London, UK

Jerry Speyer Collection, New York, NY, USA

Lucille & Ronald Neeley Foundation, San Diego, CA, USA

Marco Noire Contemporary Art, Torino, Italy

Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, TX, USA

Museo Amparo, Puebla, Mexico

Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León, Spain

Museo de Arte de Lima, Peru

Museo de Arte Moderno y Contemporáneo de Santander y Cantabria, Spain

Museo de Arte Moderno, Mexico City, Mexico

Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City, Mexico

Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City, Mexico

Museo Universitario de Ciencias y Arte, Mexico City, Mexico

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, The Netherlands     

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, NY, USA

Nara Roesler Gallery, São Paulo, Brazil

Peter Kilchmann Gallery, Zürich, Switzerland

Quint Contemporary, La Jolla, CA, USA

Tate Modern, London, UK

Villa Merkel, Esslingen, Germany

Vergel Foundation, New York, NY, USA

Zabludowicz Collection, London, England