Inside the studio of Kaili Smith in the Netherlands as he wraps up the work on his debut U.S. solo show “A Utopia Where The Problems Are Not Fixed” opening October 17 at Thinkspace.
Artist Statement: A utopia where the problems are not fixed. That sentiment encompasses both my painting & film practice. I grew up in the Netherlands & Australia, both times in diverse inner-city areas. In my works, I recreate a world that is based on the youth culture in these environments. From mundane scenarios of friendships & connectivity, other works look at the perspectives of young people growing up in environments where they face criminality around them, showing both children simply getting by in these environments or ones who have become involved. The idea of utopia is based around the loyalty, trust and love built within this imperfect environment, as well as one’s own self-worth and comfortability in who they are. The paintings often include baroque style costuming, mixed with streetwear. These costumes do not signal current privileges but rather show visions of a “come up” and reflect class aspiration these children have. The film works are generally centered around dark humor and like the paintings play with a “realistic-surrealism”. Through a focus on dialog, the films show both positive aspects of these environments while critiquing certain norms within them. A diverse range of subjects are purposely represented to open a dialog and show the ever-growing complex family dynamic children live in, which often crosses blood or racial lines. Showing how when one comes from an absent family structure they are likely to build one themselves. My practice is also influenced by a growing understanding of psychology with focus research into the process of Normalization of behavior and the human need for a tribe/belonging. Breaking expectations while at the same not hiding uncomfortable truths is the balance all my works aim for.
The exhibition will be on view from October 17 through November 7.
We plan to have visitation for the show each Saturday, including opening day from noon to 6 pm. We will post a scheduling platform link on our website this coming week.
Video courtesy of Birdman