Monday, July 20, 2015

Michael E. Smith at Sculpture Center

Photo by Kyle Knodell

It's a cliche at this point to say that Smith makes the mundane object estranged. And in a sea of so many surrealists currently operating, less than helpful. Estrangement is today's go-to strategy. Whereas for Kiaer and many other this is a compositional strategy, totemizing the mundane through specific arrangement which feels odd, Smith's is individuated, each object set off so that we can no longer "know" the sculpture, eroding a complete vision, and opening a distrust. A psychological sliver. We cannot know the object, its relation to other objects is broken, either categorically (there is no category to place the object within, surrealist) or psychologically (the unknown threat). The rocking chair I project from the two elegant bones still in contact with the substrate of the real is not the same as the one in your head. This unknown destabilizing of our ability to conceptualize the objects in equitable terms to exchange with another -both other objects and other people - (eroding the material semio-substrate with which our exchange is based) breaching a distrust, is its sinister quality.

This is an estrangement of our concept of the object from its material version, this distance is the psychological shivers.

See too : Michael E Smith at Lulu, Michael E. Smith at Susanne Hilberry , Ian Kiaer at Lulu , Olga Balema at Croy Nielsen , Sophie Nys at Crac Alsace