musée d'art contemporain
de Bordeaux

Exhibition // Exhibition-Panoramic Table #3 //

14.11.2013 -> 16.02.2014

Michael E. Smith

At a time when Western societies overstep the limits of their growth and should switch from expansion to self-preservation, Michael E. Smith’s oeuvre counters the ecological and economic disaster of our era with a materialism of basic needs. Smith has effaced humans from his art and replaced them with a physiology and psychology of things. He prepares discarded pieces of apparel like socks, T-shirts, and hats, domestic objects like bottles and bowls, parts of technical appliances or animal cadavers, residues of all sorts, and arranges them as though to lay out a forensics of maltreated lives that persist in their material fragments. PVC foam fills their insides, resins impose rigid shapes on them, their surfaces are gummed up and scratched. They bear the traces of former uses like scabs.Smith’s objects look like physical reconstructions of emotional vulnerability and violation, that situate themselves among an "after"; his exhibitions, like an archaeology of humanity.

Smith’s sculptures and pictures draw on a frugal repertoire of materials that used to satisfy basic physical needs for food, warmth, or integrity or served in technical routines of everyday life. He takes them out of use. The objects produced are set down in the empty spaces of his exhibitions, haunting them rather than passively occupying them. Dismissed from the social world of which they were once a part, they persist in isolation, in a dark atmosphere of deterioration, entropy and regression that characterizes Smith's work despite which it is the formal aspects of the objects that stay with the viewer.
Smith's art pointedly refuses to align itself with ascetic ideals proclaiming that "less is more." Modest lifestyles have long started to spread against the will of those who adopt them, and upward economic redistribution is teaching the middle classes the fear of social decline. For many people, "less" means a bare-bones life, and Smith’s objects trace that threshold of pain in lieu of a body politic that is sometimes deaf to its own needs. Up to the point that, like asserted by Michael E. Smith, a thing can be more human than a human being.

Setting down a handful of recent works that were largely created inside the CAPC Contemporary Art Museum exhibition rooms, Michael E. Smith came up with a score of light and darkness, solid and void, noise and silence that explores the viability of art. A proposal that will be (site-specifically) reconsidered by the artist himself in 2014, at La Triennale di Milano where the exhibition will be on view in March 4-30, 2014.

Michael E. Smith was born in 1977 in Detroit (United States), he lives at Hokpinton, New Hampshire.
From 2004 to 2006, Michael E. Smith studied in Detroit at the College for Creative Studies (CCS). In 2008 he finished his art studies as a student of Jessica Stockholder at the Department for Sculpture at Yale University. Since 2008 he has taught at the CCS. Recent exhibitions include: 2011 Mönchehaus Museum Goslar; 2012 Culturgest Lisbon, Whitney Biennial New York; 2013 Ludwig Forum Aachen.

The exhibition is co-produced by CAPC Contemporary Art Museum Bordeaux and La Triennale di Milano.

-> Curator(s): Alexis Vaillant, Chief Curator at the CAPC museum of contemporary art of Bordeaux

-> Galerie Foy, ground floor
-> Disabled access
-> Price: Entrance of the museum : 5 €, 2,50 € (reduce rate)

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