06.25.2016

John Smith

There’s a certain grain of stupidity that an artist can hardly do without, and this is the quality of having to stare, of not getting the point at once. The longer you look at one object, the more of the world you see in it, and it’s well to remember that the serious artist always makes stuff about the whole world, said someone with a big head stone. I can’t remember who. Morandi was certainly dumb about his bottles. And John Smith, not a strict monogamist like Morandi, also seems a little short-minded about the films he makes. Which is, of course, one of the things we’re over the moon about. “If I’m planning a film I’ll start with one shot, and there won’t be a second unless there’s a reason for it.” Smith said, “Basically, you’re starting with your navel and then moving out from that.” It seems a little perfunctory to bathe Smith’s disparate shorts in the same acid, reducing them down to their constituent parts. Each is it’s own mystery, wordlessly convicted.

Smith lives and works in London. He teaches part-time at the University of East London.

Worst Case Scenario, 2004. 18m
Slow Glass, 1988-91. 40m
Associations, 1975. 7m
Girl Chewing Gum, 1975. 12m
The Black Tower, 1985-87. 24m