Evolving out of the physical exploring, salvaging and excavating of urban contexts, artist Erik Smith’s (US) recent work seeks to bring to light latent or concealed features of the built environment and give tangible form to the uncanny in revealing things not readily visible but always felt to be present.
Selected solo exhibitions include de Appel Contemporary Arts Centre, Amsterdam NL; Errant Bodies, Berlin DE; Skulpturenpark Berlin_Zentrum, Berlin; DimensionsVariable, Miami FL; Kapinos Galerie, Berlin; Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco, CA. His work has also been presented in numerous group exhibitions internationally including SculptureCenter, LIC, NY; BBB centre d’art, Toulouse, FR; Arsenic, Lausanne CH; Pierogi, Leipzig; Magnus Müller Gallery, Berlin. Upcoming shows include Counterpath, Denver, CO and Fragmenta, Malta. Smith studied comparative literature and art in the US and Italy and has lived and worked in Berlin, Germany since 2003.
Referenced in the interview are two Berlin projects: Test Dig No. 1 (2012), the unearthing of a fully intact, 19th-century spiral staircase embedded under the former Death Strip of the Berlin Wall; and Titanic (2014-16), a current work-in-progress that began with the physical salvaging of a large-scale wooden shelf from an underground bunker site in Berlin-Mitte. In the 19th century the location was home to a theatre famed for performances of Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld; today the newly opened Titanic hotel occupies the site. Smith’s project installation features sound/noise collages of multiple Orpheus in the Underworld 78s and techno records created by modifying turntables to play at ultra-slow speeds, recalling detonations and other abstract soundscapes. Sample tracks can be heard here. For more information on these and other projects go to: www.eriksmith.de.