SMITH’s career includes several post-graduate degrees : from the Paris-Sorbonne University in Philosophy, from the National School of Photography of Arles, from the Aalto University in Helsinki, and from the National Studio of Contemporary Arts – Le Fresnoy. Their transdisciplinary work, plastic and theoretical, is understood as an observation of constructions, deconstructions, displacements of human identity. Photography rubs shoulders with cinema, video, choreography, bio-art and the use of new technologies, leading to collaborations with science and philosophy research teams, such as the CNRS/IRCICA (French National Centre for Scientific Research) in 2012, or the IRAP (Institut de recherche en astrophysique et planétologie) in 2018.
The idea of transition is a central element of their artistic practice, deployed in its multiple dimensions (identity, politics, scientific but also formal). By exploring the combinations of scientific and artistic approaches open to the potentials of fiction, SMITH constantly invents and reinvents forms to unveil the radiating presence of all kinds of beings that obsess their imagination. SMITH has created a hybrid environment – all at once laboratory, projection room, archive library and portrait gallery – in which they develop para-scientific poetics that draws on the thin line separating rationality from imagination. Going forward with their investigation of Catherine Malabou, Jacques Derrida or Donna Haraway’s conceptual philosophy, SMITH tackles the metamorphosis of oneself from the angle of “destructive plasticity”. Through the representation of ghostly and phantasmatic figures, as well as post-traumatic transformations, they capture negative and subjectivised processes intertwined with self-effacement and self-image issues. Accounting for creative destruction, SMITH’s works invite viewers to be immersed in a dark and diffuse atmosphere, which is characteristic of their auratic and ethereal style, and conducive to daydream and meditation. SMITH for instance completed an interactive hybrid installation, implying the implant of an electronic chip inside of their body, allowing the artist to feel the presence of absent bodies – those of the installation in situ visitors..
French photographer and photography specialist Arnaud Claass wrote about their work, in the preface of their first monographic book: “There is no mystery; SMITH’s approach to the visible, at once luminarist and dark, is valid as an image of the uncertainty of sexual roles. Questions of gender, a current in philosophy over the last twenty years or more, occupy an important place in the intellectual development of her oeuvre. In her world, into which a certain violence occasionally erupts, faces betraying an inexpressible tenderness, a lost look in the eyes, bodies surrendered in a heat-haze of intimacy, the warmth of ice-floes sublimated into breath, deserted horizons –these are polarized like magnetic auroras by the new style of challenge that the modern world hurls at the separation of the sexes. It is more a question of metamorphosis than metaphor”.
Their works were exhibited during solo shows at the Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie in Arles, at the Filles du Calvaire gallery and Palais de Toyko in Paris, at the Photographic Museum of Helsinki in Finland, but also in several countries in Europe (Sweden, Luxembourg, Germany, Spain, Italy), Asia (China, Cambodia, South Korea) and Latin America (Mexico, Chile, Uruguay). Their first monograph, “Löyly” (by (Filigranes) was published in 2013, followed by “Saturnium” (Actes Sud) in 2017, and a long-length interview by art historian Christine Ollier in 2017 (André Frère). New books “Astroblème” (Filigranes), “Si tu pleux” (André Frère) and “TRAUM” (Textuel) will be released in 2018.
Their two first feature films, “Spectrographies” and “TRAUM”, were presented during cinema festivals in Europe. Their artistic and choreographic performances were presented at the Centre Pompidou and Théâtre de la Cité Internationale (Paris) with the support of the Hermès – New Settings Foundation, at the CND (Pantin), at the Dance Museum (Rennes) and at the CCN-ICI (Montpellier).
SMITH is currently completing a PhD in Philosophy (UQAM, Montreal).