Home Suite

1993-4
Country: UK
Synopsis

Home Suite is a close-up journey through a domestic landscape and a journey through memory. Playing upon ambiguity and the unseen, the tape uses physical details of the space to trigger fragmented verbal descriptions of associated memories.

‘John Smith takes us on a real time tour of the home from which he is being evicted, chronicling the history of the everyday items he has lived with and bringing them back to life. Reminiscences of the emotional scenes which have been played out on the stair carpet, the confusion of trying to remember who brought each of the many toothbrushes, and the problems of decorating the kitchen, are both hilarious and poignant. The ephemera and detritus of everyday life as seen through the eyes of a comic genius.’

Abina Manning ‘Pandaemonium’ Festival Catalogue, ICA London 1996

‘…The space gradually fills with its history: complex, eccentric, funny, until it has become a kind of monumental environment, about which epic stories could be told for ever more. The work serves to remind us about the complexities of the history of even simple spaces and objects, a complexity to which most films do not even begin to do justice…’

Nicky Hamlyn, from ‘John Smith’s Local Locations’ in ‘John Smith – Film and Video Works 1972-2002’.


 

Bio:

John Smith was born in Walthamstow, East London in 1952 and studied film at the Royal College of Art. Initially inspired by conceptual art and the structural materialist ideas that dominated British artists’ filmmaking during his formative years, but also fascinated by the immersive power of narrative and the spoken word, he has developed an extensive body of work that subverts the perceived boundaries between documentary and fiction, representation and abstraction. Often rooted in everyday life, Smith’s meticulously crafted films rework and transform reality, playfully exploring and exposing the language of cinema.

Since 1972 John Smith has made over fifty film, video and installation works that have been shown in independent cinemas, art galleries and on television around the world and awarded major prizes at many international film festivals. His solo exhibitions include Centre d’Art Contemporain de Noisy-le-Sec, Paris (2014); The Gallery, Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle upon Tyne (2014); Figge von Rosen Gallery, Cologne (2013); Tanya Leighton Gallery, Berlin (2013, 2012 and 2010); Kestnergesellschaft, Hanover (2012); Turner Contemporary, Margate (2012); Weserburg Museum for Modern Art, Bremen (2012); Uppsala Art Museum, Sweden (2011); PEER Gallery, London (2011); Pallas Projects, Dublin (2011); Royal College of Art Galleries, London (2010); Sala Diaz Gallery, Texas (2010); Ikon Gallery, Birmingham (2006); Kunstmuseum Magdeburg (2005); Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool (2003) and Pearl Gallery, London (2003). Major group shows include ‘Invocable Reality’, Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (2014); ‘The Reluctant Narrator’, Berardo Museum, Lisbon (2014); ‘Constellations’, Tate Liverpool (2013-14); ‘Image Counter Image’, Haus der Kunst, Munich (2012); ‘Has The Film Already Started?’, Tate Britain (2011-12); Berlin Biennial (2010); ‘The Talent Show’, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis and MoMA PS1, New York (2010); Venice Biennale (2007); ‘A Century of Artists’ Film in Britain’, Tate Britain (2004); ‘Live in Your Head: Concept and Experiment in Britain 1965-75’, Whitechapel Gallery, London (2000) and ‘The British Art Show’, UK touring exhibition (1984). John Smith regularly presents his work in person and in recent years it has been profiled through retrospectives at film festivals in Oberhausen, Tampere, St. Petersburg, La Rochelle, Mexico City, Uppsala, Cork, Sarajevo, Regensburg, Stuttgart, Karlstad, Winterthur, Bristol, Hull and Glasgow.

John Smith lives and works in London. He teaches part-time at the University of East London where he is Professor of Fine Art. He received a Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award for Artists in 2011, and in 2013 he was the winner of Film London’s Jarman Award. His work is held in numerous collections including Arts Council England, Tate Gallery, Ella Fontanals-Cisneros, Kunstmuseum Magdeburg, Wolverhampton Art Gallery and Ferens Art Gallery, Hull. His films are distributed by LUX, London, Video Data Bank, Chicago and Light Cone, Paris. He is represented by Tanya Leighton Gallery, Berlin.


 

Read more:

Interview with John Smith from Sight & Sound

John Smith, A Life in Film’ from Frieze Magazine

Pioneers – The Heretical Jacobin’, Simone Menegoi from Kaleidoscope magazine

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