Kiki Smith — encounter with the unexpected
For all the obvious reasons — my encounter today is with Kiki Smith. An artist who always makes me be blown away by her works — of art. And in whose realms I often fantasize being captivated in. In the end, Kiki needs no introduction, and I’ll never be the one in the position to better do it.
Reasons and results coming from this fictionism of mine about her? That’s because Kiki Smith’s sculptures and printmaking have this incredible power to make us wonder about: always innovative and unconventional, she is an artist who instills in the observer, or in the appraiser, that rousing — and intriguing — sense of starting over. By expanding the scope of the very act of looking. By re-addressing the human body, so frail and so enduring. By having, once and for all, that inward motif of experience.
In its concepts, formats, techniques, and functions, Kiki’s experimenting art has its own encounter with the unexpected. And so the artist seems to constantly seek out an innovative concept of art, and once again. Which feels like an eternal recurrence — that so enlarged and outspread probability of images and objects coming into existence again, and once again, always in return to mean not the same but one another. So for it, the observer feels as if in front of a broad set of deviations, transformations, variations — something new seems to be taking place within Kiki’s art but it is also the act of looking, redone, hers and ours, which is into change every new single making or appreciation.
The artist’s open-ended — somewhat obsessed — approach at dealing with a diversity of materials relies on her interest in the diverse social roles and functions they have played since their emergence and use as art possible forms. Rubber stamps, tattoos, photocopies, lithography. And it is all about repetition and uniqueness. Recycling and reusing stones and plates, paper fragments, collages — all this blurring the boundaries between drawing and printmaking, sculpture and other innovative forms of art, so peculiar to be made, seen and re-seen, appreciated after all…
I still remember the day, four or five years ago, I firstly contemplated Kiki Smith’s prints. And then, stunned, voiceless, and totally blind, I could just recall those unforgettable Rilke’s words, that “most experiences are unsayable, and they happen in a space that no word has ever entered”.
The world goes round, and here I am, once again. Stunned. Voiceless. As outspoken as I’m supposed to be. But blind, and with no correct tones to express the plurality and grandeur of her art. Kiki Smith — for all the obvious reasons!