Melanie Smith was born in the U.K. but established her career in the Mexican art scene of the 1990s. Smith moved from the political and economic tensions of Thatcher’s Britain to Mexico in 1989, where she witnessed the impact of capitalist modernisation, neo-liberal globalisation and hyper-consumerism, the development of an informal economy alongside traditional forms of manufacture, and the ongoing failures or collapse of modernity. Smith’s work embraces a range of media but informs them in unique ways with a persistent reference to painting; nevertheless, she does not describe herself as a painter. In her work, there is a continuous play between farce (implying absurdity, mockery or travesty) and artiﬁce (meaning both artiﬁciality and deception, and, ultimately, the ‘artiﬁce of reason’), and she applies these concepts to contemporary society and what has been termed ‘baroque modernity’. She has described her body of work as a ‘giant palimpsest’ that presents itself on a variety of media that range from video and photography to painting and installation.
Last update: October 8th, 2019