Michael E. Smith at Kunsthalle Basel

Artist: Michael E. Smith

Venue: Kunsthalle Basel, Basel, Switzerland

Date: March 3 – May 21, 2018

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Kunsthalle Basel

Door, birds, fleece robes, laser, drill: at once too generic to give away much, and too specific to be arbitrary, Michael E. Smith’s material lists read almost as if concrete poetry. The artworks made from these elements have a macabre wit to them, humorous and tragic, loaded and light at the same time.

The artist works with discarded things, resonant with the accumulated traces of their existence, and transformed through the simplest of gestures into captivating, uncannily sentient sculptures. For his first solo exhibition in Switzerland, Smith creates a peculiar, minimal show. Yet his is not emptiness refined into chic minimalism, but instead a sparseness that commands the space and speaks with dystopian pathos about the human condition in our present moment.

Michael E. Smith was born in 1977 in Detroit, USA; he lives and works in Providence, USA.

Installation view, Michael E. Smith, Kunsthalle Basel, 2018. Photo: Philipp Hänger / Kunsthalle Basel

Installation view, Michael E. Smith, Kunsthalle Basel, 2018. Photo: Philipp Hänger / Kunsthalle Basel

Installation view, Michael E. Smith, Kunsthalle Basel, 2018. Photo: Philipp Hänger / Kunsthalle Basel

Installation view, Michael E. Smith, Kunsthalle Basel, 2018. Photo: Philipp Hänger / Kunsthalle Basel

Installation view, Michael E. Smith, Kunsthalle Basel, 2018. Photo: Philipp Hänger / Kunsthalle Basel

Installation view, Michael E. Smith, Kunsthalle Basel, 2018. Photo: Philipp Hänger / Kunsthalle Basel

Installation view, Michael E. Smith, Kunsthalle Basel, 2018. Photo: Philipp Hänger / Kunsthalle Basel

Installation view, Michael E. Smith, Kunsthalle Basel, 2018. Photo: Philipp Hänger / Kunsthalle Basel

Installation view, Michael E. Smith, Kunsthalle Basel, 2018. Photo: Philipp Hänger / Kunsthalle Basel

Installation view, Michael E. Smith, Kunsthalle Basel, 2018. Photo: Philipp Hänger / Kunsthalle Basel

Installation view, Michael E. Smith, Kunsthalle Basel, 2018. Photo: Philipp Hänger / Kunsthalle Basel

Installation view, Michael E. Smith, Kunsthalle Basel, 2018. Photo: Philipp Hänger / Kunsthalle Basel

Installation view, Michael E. Smith, Kunsthalle Basel, 2018. Photo: Philipp Hänger / Kunsthalle Basel

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