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. In the autumn of 2014 Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen presented an exhibition of Smith’s work from 1994 to the present. The exhibition was shown earlier at the MK Gallery in Milton Keynes and included the video work Xilitla, her most recent film Fordlandia, vitrines with hundreds of objects, wall paintings, photographs and collages. This was Smith’s first solo exhibition in the Netherlands.
Melanie Smith was born in Poole, a city nearby London. 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 was a partnership with the 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). For more information visit: www.melaniesmith.net
Melanie Smith also had an exhibition at Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius. Click here for more information
Video Art Collection
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen’s collection of video and film includes unique films by pioneers of artist’s film and video such as Marcel Broodthaers, Bruce Nauman, Vito Acconci, Bas Jan Ader and Richard Serra. It also includes works by younger contemporary artists such as David Claerbout, Melvin Moti, Yael Bartana, Guido van de Werve, Pipilotti Rist and Aernout Mik. Video is a central aspect of the museum’s programming, with continuous displays of video in the Video Space and in Pipilotti Rist’s installation ‘Let Your Hair Down’.