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Exhibition CAAM - Los Balcones 11. Plantas 1 y 2

You are in CAAM » Exhibitions » 2014 » Ray Smith Tras una muerte exquisita

Ray Smith Tras una muerte exquisita

Since 27 February 2014 to 25 May 2014

To Marycruz,
muse, mother, wife and friend

Although its own title («In Search of an Exquisite Death – Drawings, a Retrospective») shows the museographic signal of a retrospective, this exhibition is not structured or planned exactly as a «usual retrospective», that is: «an exhibition that displays a chronological common thread to illustrate the historiographic evolution in the work of an artist». No; this exhibit is not a circular path or a cycle that could be depicted according to temporal segments. This exhibition is not organized around that idea or museographic concept –maybe somewhat old fashioned already– that characterizes the 21st century. Since this is rather a coalition of straightforward confrontations of the ways in which Ray Smith, this Texan-Mexican artist who lives in NYC, understands and deals with the work on paper as specificity. The starting point, or focus, is a group of about ten solo exhibitions that the artist has held over the last five or ten years, where paper as a medium takes the leading role 1. Therefore, we have chosen, as our museographic guide, the surrealistic method that Ray Smith pays tribute to with his project Exquisite Corpses, made on paper, wood and fabric and with sculptures in ceramic, resins and bronze. The museographic concept that has led us has been the «replication of the surrealistic play», where the notion of duplicity was faked in order to duplicate the personality of those who create a poetics. From this very logics, which provides the base for most of Smith’s work in the last twenty years, the exhibition is organized or distributed into mental-rooms-spaces, where the artist becomes –once and again– Another.


In Search of an Exquisite Death is meant, then, as a space of folds, pleats, borders, hideouts or forks where the artist reinvents himself, in –or against– a germinal, absurd, offensive, dreamy, romantic or grotesque way, as he faces the almost infinite possibilities of producing stories by drawing. Ray Smith does not understand drawing as a research tool that sketches his future works, that is, as the language of an analytic thinking while looking for an idea; for Smith, the drawing itself is actually the idea. Drawing is already an ideological act that generates a mental speed with its own rules, which in turn hold a dialog with the media used for this purpose. Thus, for Smith, the drawing is the final work, not the «intermediate work», since he finds the greatness of drawing easily, as if he were accomplishing a Japanese writing, or a «poster exercise» of the past or some period of the past that shall come back –as a sort of revival–. This is, then, the work of one of the most extraordinary draughtsmen of the second half of the 20th century… In every symbolic death experienced by his work, his real life revives: this time, embodying a boxer, a cabaret dancer, a pirate, a seductive witch or an insatiable lover.

1Ray Smith, Recient Works, Akida Ikeda Gallery, Berlíin, Germany, (2006); Ray Smith: Smalls Texns Stories, Galería Sandunga, Granada, Spain; Ray Smith: HECHIZO (Dibujos Germinales), Galería Manuel Ojeda, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain; Ray Smith: CARICATURA (Delirium Tremens), Galería Joan Prats, Barcelona, Spain, (2007); Ray Smith: Nuevos Cadáveres Exquisitos y otros sueños, Galería Fernando Santos, Porto-Lisbon, Portugal; Ray Smith: Small Change, Costantini Arte Contemporáneo, Milan, Italy; Ray Smith: The Bad Dreams, Galería Sandunga, Granada, Spain, (2008); Ray Smith: Unguernica (Dibujos), Project-Rooms, Galería Álvaro Alcázar, ARTJAEN´09, Jaén, Spain; Ray Smith: Unguernica II, Galleri Gösta Bergman, Stockholm, Sweden, (2009), stand out among other creative projects.

Evidently, Ray Smith has been drawing since the very beginning of his artistic career, but this proliferation of personal exhibitions of works on paper struck us as symptomatic enough to devote it special attention.

Besides, this exhibition somehow completes the appreciation of the artist’s work already enabled by his retrospective DEUS- MACHINE / IDEOLOGÍA POÉTICA, which we also curated and was held at six museums and art s centres, in Spain and the United States.

Artist Ray Smith

Exhibition title: Tras una muerte exquisita
Curator: Omar-Pascual Castillo
Dates: 27.02.2014 to 25.05.2014
Place: CAAM - Los Balcones 11. Plantas 1 y 2
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Spain.