Smith invents their own way of life and their own universe in this singular photographic project. They play with avatars in their images, building a genuine network in which the viewer finds bodies that hover on the brink between masculine and feminine: suspended identities in the process of “becoming.”
The question Smith considers is one of passage, transit, and transition. In between, we find an indeterminate space that is open to all possibilities. It is in the cold, in the icy mists, the darkness thick with water vapor, rain, and snow where the artist—in their own body, biologically, culturally, artistically—takes a stand. The color palette (cold blue, grey-blue, evanescent white) speaks to the northern countries. The bodies are reserved, enfolded, withdrawn—incarnations of alabaster and vanished looks.
The images in ”Löyly” evoke incontestably romantic painting; a double cloud threatening as a tornado; landscapes of frost and cold. Many of the young people are photographed from the back, in postures of reverie or withdrawal. They look as if they exist in another world. A very pale young man, with glacier eyes and raven-black hair, makes a recurring appearance in the series—he has an androgynous face and a dreamy, melancholy look. He is lost in his own inviolate interiority. Open for a word or a caress that will not happen.
Tired and morbid, he delicately rests his youthful head on a velvet cushion, his arm bent under him—offered yet already withdrawn, disappearing like a fleeting and desirable apparition.
Smith is currently exhibiting another selection of work, “Saturnium,” at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris until September 2017.
If you’re interested in seeing more work like this, we’d recommend these previous features: Nobody Important, No One Else, a poetic project on growing up, moving on, and grappling with change; Me and Me, a series on the relationship between two artists captured through a set of artful, handmade photobooks; and Not Seeing is a Flower, Maroesjka Lavigne’s project that looks at Japan’s modern beauty while exploring its lasting influence on Western art.