‘The intensity of the streets of Mexico City infiltrated my work’ says Melanie Smith

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Melanie Smith shows TateShots around the area of Mexico City in which she lives and works, a city which has had a profound effect on her artistic practice. Smith feels the contrast between where she comes from and where she lives now permeates throughout her work, with each piece an exploration of both the occidental and her current surroundings.

A demonstration of this can be found in her collaboration with filmmaker Rafael Ortega, Xilitla. The work is named after a small town in Mexico which is the location of a garden created by the eccentric British aristocrat Edward James, an important collector of surrealist art. In Smith’s film, workmen carry a large mirror along the jungle paths and through the pools, reflecting and displacing the image of the garden. Xilitla consequently considers the theme of displacement experienced by both James and Smith as British expatriates living in Mexico.