Melanie Smith

Melanie Smith, Xilitla, 2011, film still.

Press release

Melanie Smith
11 October 2014 - 11 January 2015

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen presents Melanie Smith’s most recent video work ‘Fordlandia’ as part of her first solo exhibition in the Netherlands. The film is set in the Brazilian Amazon, where Henry Ford attempted to establish a rubber plantation in 1928. In this work Smith explores the tension between nature and industrial development. The exhibition also includes collections of objects, paintings, photographs, videos and collages made since 1994.

Melanie Smith (1965, Poole, UK) has lived and worked in Mexico City since 1989. Recurring themes in her work include migration, travel, adventure, dislocation and abstraction. Although Smith enjoys an international reputation, this will be the first opportunity for a Dutch audience to see her work on such a large scale. The exhibition is a partnership with the MK Gallery in Milton Keynes, where it was shown earlier this year.

Major acquisition
In 2012 Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen acquired Smith’s video ‘Xilitla’ (2011), which was shown in the Mexican pavilion at the Venice Biennale the previous year. 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 Dalí, Delvaux and Magritte, part of whose collection was acquired by Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in the 1970s.

Important exhibitions
Melanie Smith is trained as a painter and makes photographs, installations, films and videos. Her work has been exhibited internationally. In 2011 she represented Mexico at the Venice Biennale. She has published three artist’s books: ‘Red Square Impossible Pink’ (2011), ‘Parres’ (2008) and ‘Spiral City and Other Vicarious Pleasures’ (2006). Her work is included in important private and public collections, such as Tate Modern, London, and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen.

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen has an ongoing partnership with the MK Gallery in Milton Keynes. In 2013 the two museums co-produced the Pushwagner exhibition, and the MK Gallery is currently hosting the exhibition ‘Cadences’, which features a film by Catherine Yass shown amid forty works from the collection of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. The works, by artists including Hendrick Goltzius, Neri di Bicci, Bas Jan Ader and Wim T. Schippers, share themes from Yass’ work like flight, falling, destruction and gravity.