The work of Michael E. Smith is enigmatic, thought-provoking and often confounding. Frequently working with found objects of an abject nature such as crushed plastic containers, tarred bird feathers, deconstructed computer casing and resin-encrusted clothes, Smith places these fragments in empty expanses, dark recesses or high corners of gallery spaces. By damaging, embellishing or sometimes simply presenting such objects, Smith encourages a confrontation with both their past and present. His exhibition at the Zabludowicz Collection populates the tiered mezzanine and spreads to small side rooms and back corridors. The human scale and deliberate starkness of the artworks prompts reflection on the fragility of bodies, and in turn the fragility of society and the natural environment. Smith translates the resourcefulness of his upbringing in Detroit in to a practice full of defiant awkwardness, sensitivity and dark humour.
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