In 2012 Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen acquired the video ‘Xilitla’ (2011) by Melanie Smith (1965, Poole, UK), a British artist based in Mexico City. This work was featured in her solo presentation in the Mexican pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2011. The Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen here presents an exhibition of Smith’s work from 1994 to the present. The exhibition was shown earlier at the MK Gallery in Milton Keynes and includes the video work Xilitla, her most recent film Fordlandia, vitrines with hundreds of objects, wall paintings, photographs and collages. This is Smith’s first solo exhibition in the Netherlands.
Melanie Smith was born in Poole, England. She has lived and worked in Mexico City since 1989. Recurring themes in her work include migration, travel, adventure, getting lost, utopian ambitions, dislocation, abstraction and the idea that the grass is greener on the other side. A good example is the work ‘Xilitla’. In this film Smith explores the Mexican rain forest and stumbles upon mysterious ruins overgrown with vegetation. The fantastic structures and follies were built by Edward James, the eccentric collector of Salvador Dalí, Paul Delvaux and René Magritte. Her recent work ‘Fordlandia’ takes place in the Brazilian Amazon, where Henry Ford attempted to establish a rubber plantation in the 1920s. This video was recently acquired by the museum. The exhibition is a partnership with MK Gallery in Milton Keynes.
Melanie Smith trained a painter and makes photographs, installations, films and videos. Important solo exhibitions include Bulto, Museo de Arte de Lima, (2011); Xilitla, El Eco Experimental Museum, Mexico City, (2010); Parres Trilogy, Pérez Art Museum, Miami (2008); Six Steps, San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, VS (2004) and Spiral City and Other Vicarious Pleasures, Mexico City and USA (2006). She has published three artist’s books: Spiral City and Other Vicarious Pleasures (2006), Parres (2008) and Red Square Impossible Pink (2011).