Self-metamorphosis plays a central role in the artistic practice of French artist SMITH (b. 1985), whose poetic images invite reflection and evoke the memory of absent bodies. The Spectographies resemble laboratory images and reference new technologies that allow us to see, touch and communicate with physically absent beings through the screen. SMITH uses an infrared camera to explore and transform anatomy, and to seek to represent what lies beyond the body. The resulting thermographic images, or thermographs, are specters conjured from absence. In an accompanying film, a figure walks alone in the night. Here, too, the body becomes phantom; absence becomes a material force that affirms its presence through an excess of light. In this tête-à-tête with the invisible, what has disappeared reappears. For the artist, it is a means of bringing together philosophy, literature, cinema, science and psychoanalysis into a body of work that shines a spotlight on the invisible.
The exhibition was produced in collaboration with Les Filles du Calvaire Gallery in Paris. Joël Vacheron’s interview with SMITH appears in Could you talk about…, a triannual series published by MBAL.