Michael E. Smith, Meat Wad, 2013
Photo: Alexander Koch. Courtesy of Michael E. Smith and KOW, Berlin

Michael E. Smith’s show
at KOW, Berlin

May 8 2013
3:00 PM

The works in Michael E. Smith’s solo show at KOW are not easy to find sometimes. Loosely scattered throughout the eccentric gallery space, they are almost hiding from view in plain sight, as if it has been an enormous endeavor to get to their current positions, lurking around corners and on the ceiling, luring the viewer into coming closer. For this staging of an unearthly world of objects, the Detroit artist completed site-specific works during the installation process, employing his signature mix of all kinds of different materials, from day-to-day industrial objects like plastic bags or furniture, to undefinable organic materials. Whereas other artists working with similar materialities often go the route of visual overkill through amassing and clustering, Smith heads in the opposite direction, exposing the vulnerability of these strange compositions when simply left by themselves. The hybrid material fusions of Smith’s works often have a direct relationship to the body—be it the t-shirt spanning a large bowl, the chair in the window bearing a plastic excrescence underneath its seat, the hood of a sweatshirt stuffed with black plastic or a bundle of feathers. Through their familiarity as everyday objects they create an uncanny intimacy, forcing themselves upon the viewer in their disturbing materiality that lies in between life and death. (Kathleen Reinhardt)

Michael E. Smith’s show at KOW, Berlin, will run through July 21.