Contemporary Arts Museum Houston opening reception: Melanie Smith

Courtesy the artist and Galerie Peter Kilchmann, Zurich

The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston hosts video and sculpture by Mexico City-based artist Melanie Smith. CAMH's exhibition focuses on three video-based installation works: Xilitla: Dismantled 1; Bulto: Fragments; and Elevator.

Working in cinematic installations since the late 1990s, Smith, as an English-born artist living in Mexico, initially took an almost ethnographic approach to the eccentricities of the sprawling, chaotic mass of her adopted home city, considering as worthy of critical examination the markets full of plastic and the shear physical expanse of the massive metropolis. Since 2010 her works have grown less analytical and increasingly poetic, sensual and surreal.

Xilitla is named after the town in Northern Mexico where eccentric English artist, poet and patron of the surrealist art movement Edward James built the architectural folly called Las Pozas. Now half returned to the jungle, its sculptures recall an expatriate Englishman's response to the indigenous culture of the Americas through the lens of the surrealist's subconscious interpretations of it.

Bulto: Fragments was filmed in Lima, Peru, and in it we see a large, ungainly mass being carried, dragged, abandoned and reclaimed throughout the urban center of the city as well as nearby archeological sites, without anyone questioning what is hidden inside the bundled object. At CAMH, the video will be presented in its dissected form in which fragments appear on multiple small monitors throughout the public areas of the museum, including the bathrooms and elevator.

The short and darkly humorous Elevator presents episodic tableaux that appear and vanish as an elevator opens on different floors, becoming increasingly comic and surreal. This work is presented with associated objects that are derived from the increasingly wild scenes.

The opening reception is on March 21, 6:30-9 p.m. An artist talk will be held on March 22, 2 p.m.



Contemporary Arts Museum Houston
5216 Montrose Blvd.
Houston, TX 77006


Admission is free.
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