VIDEO

Time-lapse "Studies for Fake and Farce", Melanie Smith. 2017-18

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Exhibitions / Other

Studies for Fake and Farce (2017-18)

In 2017 Smith staged a series of seven live tableaux in Mexico, collectively titled Bucolic Obscurities, based on fragments of the paintings of Hieronymus Bosch (c. 1450–1515) and Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1525–1569). One of the scenes centred on a giant disembodied ear derived from the right-hand panel depicting Hell in Bosch’s triptych The Garden of Earthly Delights (1490–1500). Smith’s tableaux recreated the scenes with amateur performers taking the part of figures within the painting and, in the case of this particular scene, with the accompaniment of a Mexican punk band; each tableau also incorporated the painting of a fragmentary mural as a part of the performance.

The scene is revisited here, with its scaled-up ear, but is presented without performers taking roles from the painting. Instead, the performance focuses on the presence of the mural painter, who creates a large version from panels painted as studies by Smith and on which she has created a composition based on fragments of various Bosch paintings.

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