The year 2022 starts with a new edition of KEWENIG's monthly rotating programme 12 Rooms in the gap space between the gallery and the adjacent building. It regularly offers a platform to young talents and allows presentations of particular art historical positions.
Here, in the adjoining room, formerly an outdoor space, we see Canal Steps—a sculpture by the American artist Seton Smith: two homogeneous elements made of copper, covered with patina, in a narrow distance from each other. These are cuboids, each with three recessed steps facing the other element. The steps lead either to a higher level or down to the empty space, which as a 'canal' separates and at the same time connects the two elements.
The sculpture describes opposites. Steps are familiar to us, but these here, made of thin sheet metal, are too fragile to step on. They invite us to notionally climb up or descend, to move toward or away from each other. The space that surrounds the sculpture is what connects the two elements. The space it occupies remains enigmatic and indeterminate. Both readings involve the viewer, in a dialogue between the inside and the outside, between the real and the imaginary, between approximation and distancing.
The main focus of the artistic work of Seton Smith, daughter of sculptor Tony Smith and sister of Kiki Smith, is actually photography. She puts seemingly everyday views of architecture and landscapes in an unreal light through her use of colour direction, blurring, and distanced self-positioning. These works, like the sculpture shown here, offer a multitude of possibilities of perception, which are always determined by the individual experiences and expectations of the viewer. In this way, 'Canal Steps' invites us to attend and enter the dialogue that Seton Smith opens.
Seton Smith (*1955 in New Jersey) lives and works between Paris and New York. An institutional solo exhibition has been presented at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1998), selected group exhibitions featuring Seton Smith's work include the Musée d'art contemporain, Geneva, Switzerland (1998), Lille métropole, musée d'art moderne, d'art contemporain et d'art brut, Lille, France (1999), the International Incheon Women Artist's Biennale, Incheon, South Korea (2007), and the Centre Pompidou, Musée national d´Art moderne, Paris (2009).
Press release courtesy KEWENIG.