artist / participant
Matthew Smith describes his practice as a “process of deconstruction,” a process where he attempts to manifest something about which he can be only silent. His works exist outside of and are prioritised over language, where the meaning of objects such as a futon mattress, a dyed towel, a spoon for example, is dissolved, and it is how this remaining landscape is stripped and then described that is central to Smith’s process of learning and making.
These ‘fragments’ of objects do not exist in order to leave and display to us a trace however or a collapsed and discarded symbol for the body, but more what becomes of them, if they are not doing this, how do these objects then exist? Smith removes these objects from stability and a knowledge of their use and beginning, and into a state where they become flexible, transient and moveable of association. The ‘objects’ now exist within configurations - a combination of things.
They are no longer held as use/function either and yet Smith uses objects laden with association, recognisable ‘things’ that exist amidst our living. However it is their existing in the world that is the focus, the fact they populate offers us a basic idea of the world. Within this Smith seeks to restore a sense of flexibility and complexity to things and making collections that aim to give a truer account of a perception of reality - an “opening up of things,”
Smith continually resists the temptation to allow the work to refer to an objective sense of meaning and within this actively attempts to understand the nature of subjectivity. Amidst this there is a particular focus on material - of casting, concrete, wood - the trace of the works making is ever present. For example for this show, Smith has cast wooden spoons in concrete but not as a way to immortalise their domestic function, there is no ‘hand’ illustrated in these works except those of the artist’s making. These spoons are not made to be real (neither the towel as window or mattress as bed) they have not lived through a ‘real’ life, rather Smith has allowed them to veer as far away from reason as possible and there they float momentarily as we gather additional reasoning and conclusions for their existing.
Born in 1976, Matthew Smith lives and works in London. Recent exhibitions include solos at White Columns, New York; Rivington Arms, New York (both 2008) and Store, London (2007). Recent group exhibitions include Galerie Chez Valentin, Paris; Studio Voltaire, London and ‘Legends,’ Domaine Departmental De Charmarande, France (all 2008). Smith was selected for East International last year and is represented by Store Gallery, London.