For more than three decades, the American artist Kiki Smith (born in 1954, Nuremberg) has created a multifaceted practice that deals with the political and social as well as the philosophical and spiritual aspects of human nature. Her fearless investigation of the body is a complex consideration of the human condition, addressing topics of age, death, wounding and healing, resuscitation, fragmentation, birth, sexuality, gender, and memory. In addition to sculpture, Smith works in a variety of other media, notably drawing, etching, and lithography; but also the artists’ book, photography, video, and more recently tapestry. Drawing upon traditional and newer forms of craftsmanship, her work employs a variety of materials such as bronze, plaster, glass, porcelain, paper, aluminum, latex, feathers, or beeswax.
The exhibition presents an overview of Smith’s artistic practice over the past three decades. Early works from the 1980s emerged in the wake of explosive changes in political, social, and cultural conditions marked by the AIDS crisis, a fervent discourse on sexuality and gender, and feminist activism. However, since the early 1990s, Smith has become increasingly interested in alternative narratives, exploring history, myths, legends and tales, religious belief, and the traditions of nonwestern cultures. “Procession” embraces this multiplicity and maps its development into the present day.