Trained as a painter, Melanie Smith explores the extended field of painting and its relation to the moving image.
Her work reflects on today’s industrial society, pointing towards the precariousness and violence occurring on city outskirts. She will be visiting CAST to introduce a screening of two of her films.
Fordlandia (2014) explores the tensions between industrial and natural landscape in a small settlement on the River Tapajos in the Brazilian part of the Amazon, where Henry Ford set up a rubber industry in the 1920s. Mainly due to the resistance of nature the project failed and was abandoned some twenty years later.
Maria Elena (2018) takes its title from a town situated in the Atacama Desert, South America; one of the world’s driest deserts. The settlement is connected to the oldest salt mine in Chile, which was owned by the Guggenheim family in the 1920s. The film combines fragmented narratives of the colonial past with the dusty present of the salt mine. It further explores Smith’s interest in industrial expansion in the Americas during the 20th century and its relationship to violence and crime.
Melanie Smith lived for 29 years in Mexico City, but is currently living in London. Recent exhibitions include Liverpool Biennial and MACBA, Barcelona (2018); Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2016); Tamayo Museum, Mexico City (2015) and Hammer Museum, Los Angeles and MK Gallery, Milton Keynes (2014). In 2011 she represented Mexico at the 54th Venice Biennale.
Building on the legacy of Groundwork, CAST Film Club is an ongoing programme of moving image work by British and international artists.
The public programme at CAST is currently supported from funds awarded by Arts Council England for the Groundwork programme.