Melanie Smith was born in Poole, England, in 1965. After studying Fine Arts, in 1989 she left behind the political and economic tensions in the United Kingdom of Margaret Thatcher to settle in Mexico, where she has witnessed the impact of capitalist modernisation, neoliberal globalisation and hyper-consumerism. Both Latin American and British contexts are essential to her work, which explores, through performances, sculptures, videos and photographs, the contradictions between the supposed rationality of modernity and the farce, deception and chaos on which it is based. Although Smith does not define herself as a painter and works with a wide variety of media, all her production is imbued with a unique and persistent reference to painting.
She has exhibited at the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art (2004); Tate Britain, London (2006); Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, USA (2009); Museo de Arte, Lima (2011); Museo Amparo, Puebla (2013); Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum, Rotterdam (2014); and MACBA, Barcelona (2018). Her work is in numerous public and private collections, such as the British Council, London; Tate Modern, London; MoMA, New York; Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum, Rotterdam; Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City; Museo Amparo, Puebla; and MACBA, Barcelona.