Galerie Peter Kilchmann
Zahnradstrasse 21, CH-8005 Zurich
tel. +41 44 278 10 10
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
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.