Melanie Smith

Grey (negative) rectangle on white background

February 23 - March 29, 2008

Peter Kilchmann Gallery is pleased to announce the fourth solo exhibition of English artist

Melanie Smith. We will show an expansive video installation as well as new paintings, drawings,

photos and a video projection.

When entering the main room of the gallery, a wall reaching into the room catches our

attention. On the white painted wall we can see the negative print of the painting process.

This is indicated by some colour stains that seem to build a frame. Melanie Smith refers to

these as “negative paintings” and in this context picks out the following two central themes:

She refers to the process of painting on one hand. The "negative image" sort of functions as

a witness of the creative act of an absent image. On the other hand, the white image space

hints towards the deconstruction of illusionism, which is usually assigned to painting. The

artist denies to create an illusionary image space and hence confronts the beholder with a

white canvas.

The sound that is audible in the exhibition room eventually leads the visitor towards the video

installation “grey (negative) rectangle on white background, 2008” behind the wall

construction. This room is dominated by movable walls which remind one of a studio

situation. A video installation and a monitor screen on the floor show images of the artist

while painting. Thus, the observer becomes a witness of the creation process of a painting,

which is however not part of the exhibition. This ostensible documentary is broken up by

excerpts, leaps in time and the permanent usage of the zoom. The context of time and space

that is here generated physically and filmically, refers to the “negative painting" on the

exterior wall and once again alludes to the illusionary painting machinery. A series of sixteen

photos as well as series of six paintings are shown in this exhibition. Both take up motifs from

the video installation and visualize the inversion of the negative effect.

In the smaller exhibition room of the gallery, a video projection originally recorded with S8

can be seen. A diffusely painted, bright canvas takes up the entire space on the monitor

screen and zooms out with increasing velocity. The mystery of the picture is quickly being

unravelled: The screen has been fastened to a bicycle carrier. We can watch a cyclist who

rides his bike on a lonely country road towards the horizon. He falls down and then continues

cycling. This is where the film ends and begins anew. The display screen is divided into four

parts, each of which show the scene slightly time-delayed in a loop. The central theme of this

sequence is the metaphor of the myth of timelessness and autonomy in painting.

In 2006 and 2007, Melanie Smith had completed two solo exhibitions amongst others, at The

Laboratory of Art and Ideas at Belmar (Lakewood) and at MUCA Campus (Mexico City). In

this context, she published her first monographic catalogue “Spiral City & Other Vicarious

Pleasures. Melanie Smith”. March 2008, Melanie Smith will open an exhibition about her

Parres-Cycle at the Miami Art Museum in cooperation with Rafael Ortega. On the occasion of

this exhibition, a publication will be presented. At the beginning of 2009 her solo exhibition

will be displayed, partly modified, at the MIT List Visual Arts Center in Cambridge/Boston.