Farsa & Artificio | Melanie Smith

European artist, settled in Mexico, Melanie Smith, known for her colorful and interactive art installations, the use of light as a tool of art, paintings, sculptures, and art projections, as well as film director, best known for “Xilitla” (A film essay about the Mexican surrealist garden by Edward James) that has been presented in the 54th Venice Biennale (International Vecine's Film Festival).

Melanie Smith Is now presenting her first individual exhibition “Farsa & Artificio” with a compilation of artworks she has been creating since the 90’s to the present. This virtual reality exhibition is shown in a 360 camera, functioning the same way as Google maps, but, finally, in an art museum.

Art Style

Her work consists of different use of colors and minimalistic art styles, —with a mix of  kitsch, but staying truly into the abstraction path—. Inspired by the avant-garde and mid-century movements, “Farsa & Artificio”, is composed by a variety of video performance and multiscreen art (series of videos presented in a projector), paintings and sculptures, made by ready-made recycled material, which criticizes the loss of meaning and how everything can be easily modified.

Farsa& Artificio

Fake and Farce (2018) - Retrieved from Melanie Smith art page.
Fake & Farce, is a sculpture made of expanded polystyrene, iron, paper, and wood, which supports a series of video projections showing the theatrical performance made by La Tallera, a Mexican museum, and cultural center back in 2017, but now, as a video-installation piece.  The purpose of this artwork, as said by the artist, is the “loss of meaning after being modified”.

As It is a compilation of the whole performance, filmed in different shots, from seven different locations from the performance-painting live action —from Bosch and Bruegel the Elders paintings—, it represents a different interpretation of the artworks from a political and social view that the artist wants to show from changes of society she has seen through the years and the contrast from her life in Europe and Mexico.


Green lush (Subtropicana jungle mix I)(1999) - Retrieved from Museo Amparo.
Experimenting with fluorescent lights and plastic, the artist recreated a natural display by a mixing media installation, inspired by hanging gardens, illustrating the evolution of an abstract industrialization world where now nature can be faked. Keeping in mind, she describes her work as a “palimpsest”—manuscript that still retains traces of another previous writing—, as she uses objects that have been used for other purposes to create a unique piece with it.

The whole art exhibition, curated by Tanya Barson, (Chief Curator of the MACBA since 2016), consists of 94 artworks (sculptures, assemblies, reliefs, paintings, video works, photography, and installations),  can be seen on the Museo de Arte Contempor├íneo de Monterrey (MARCO) website http://www.marco.org.mx/index.pl?i=1874 until July 12th, 2020. The museum is closed physically until further notice, the exhibition has moved to a virtual mode for the comfort and safety of the visitors.

Farsa & Artificio was originally developed by the Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA), then the sample adaptation from Museo Amparo, now as a virtual tour by the current museum where it is being displayed. The artist is well known for the often use of reconstructing objects to disassemble and assemble, the change shapes, colors, sizes, to form works of art by the use of light, videos, installations, performances, of which she expresses the change and evolution of society from the 20th century to the present day, detailing the change of an era, from her point of view as an artist inspired by the diversity and innovation that we see nowadays in our world.