Discover the practice of artist Melanie Smith who represented Mexico in the Venice Biennale in 2011. Smith discusses exploring cities, urbanism, art and architecture, and the journey from her British upbringing to her current home in Mexico City when she delivers the 2013 Lloyd Rees Memorial Lecture, in honour of the late painter who delivered insights about art to generations of architecture students.
The Lloyd Rees Memorial Lecture is supported by ArtsNSW
Part of Sydney Architecture Festival
About the speaker
Melanie Smith was born in Poole, England in 1965. She received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Reading. Since 1989 she has lived and worked in Mexico City, an experience that has enormously influenced her works ever since. Her work has been characterized by a certain re-reading of the formal and aesthetic categories of avant-gardes and post-avant-garde movements, problematized at the sites and within the horizons of heterotopias. Her production is intimately related to a certain expanded vision of the notion of modernity, maintaining a relationship both with what this means in Latin America, particularly in Mexico, and with the implication this has for her formal explorations as a critical moment in the aesthetic-political structure of modernity and late modernity.
Her earlier pieces considered Mexico City itself, recording its multitudes, its violence, its banality, and its clandestine nature and at the same time its inherent decomposition. The most outstanding piece from this cycle is the video Spiral city (2002). In another of her works, she broadens the notions of place and non-place by documenting the small town of Parres on the outskirts of the city. She produced a trilogy of 35mm films and a series of paintings and installations that rework the modernist idea of the monochrome.