Texts by Johanne Sloan, Aoife Rosenmeyer, and Andreas Baur
Published by Snoeck Verlagsgesellschaft mbH, Köln, 120 pp.
Melanie Smith’s installations, paintings and video works address a wide range of ¬issues relating to perception, as well as philosophical questions with an emphasis upon socially ¬relevant issues. Her impressive contribution to the Venice Biennale in 2011, which she readopted in a markedly extended form in her first museum-based solo show in Germany this summer at the Villa Merkel, Esslingen, wowed audiences across the board. Set in her tasteful design for the ground floor of the neoclassical villa, she presented the video »Xilitla«, which focuses thematically upon the sculpture park »Las Pozas de Xilitla« created in the mid-twentieth century by the English Artist Edward James in the tropical rainforests of Mexico – a lush landscape full of biomorphic architecture and concrete sculptures. And so when men carry human-sized mirrors into the frame, the scenery suddenly takes on surreal proportions, inasmuch as the mirror images are interwoven with ¬cinematic moments of movement, emphasizing thus the oneiric ¬elements of a found »symbiosis of architecture and landscape«. At the same time, there is a conceptual link to the outdoor mirror ¬placements by the American land art pioneer, Robert Smithson. In addition, Melanie Smith presents us with a painting of surfaces and process-based conditions, where her works, push¬ing the boun¬daries of representationality, ¬appear to excite the very facticity of purely pictorial reality. One always imag¬ines oneself, frame by frame, to be at the beginning of something new.
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