Michael E. Smith

The series of exhibitions of site-specific works of art in the main hall of the Ludwig Forum, which began in 2011 with Susan Philipsz’ sound installation, continues this spring with a project by the Detroit artist Michael Edward Smith. So far, Smiths’ work has only been on show in Germany in a single museum solo exhibition. Smith’s works are completed on-site, and attain a potent synthesis of autonomy and referentiality. His objects, images and videos are destillations of social dynamics, and they draw their vitality as things from exactly this.

Smith’s inspiration comes from his perception of the economic and social crisis in the USA, a general decline foreshadowed long ago by the demise of the automotive industry in his hometown, Detroit. A moment of assertion against the pressure of such conditions materialises itself in his objects and shows itself clearly in his titles and video clips.

Smith’s paintings, drawings, sculptures and videos, which he created especially for this exhibition over the past few months at home in New Hampshire and which he will bring together in the exhibition room to form a force field, will only attain their final shape and intensity when they are arranged on site. A wide range of materials are treated with adhesive tape, industrial foam, resins, oils and varnishes, or simply cut, trimmed and set out in the exhibition room. Their presentation is not usually straightforward: they hide themselves away behind the piping, squat on top of the strip lighting, crouch under ledges or retreat from the open space of the room into the nooks and corners. Their behaviour in the room and their distinct corporeality creates the impression that, rather than having simply been put in their places, they are actively “infesting” the room. This staging of an autonomous, animate and weirdly sinister world of objects creates a dense atmosphere in which American society itself is reflected in the disturbing potential of “things”.

Curated by: Anna Sophia Schultz

Michael E. Smith, Installation Views



Michael E. Smith, Untitled. live cable feed channel 601, Cartoon Network. Photo Carl Brunn


Michael E. Smith, untitled, plastic chair, saw, 96x55x95 cm. Photo Carl Brunn


Michael E. Smith, untitled. window foil, 59 foils 193,5x73 cm. Photo Carl Brunn
Photos: Carl Brunn / Ludwig Forum Aachen

Ludwig Forum Aachen
Jülicher Straße 97–109
52070 Aachen
Tel. +49 (0)241 1807-104
Fax +49 (0)241 1807-101

Opening hours
Tue-Sun 10am-5pm
Thu 10am-8pm
Closed on Monday

Tue-Fri 1pm-5pm

Guided tours and workshops
+49 241 432 4998

Regular € 6.00
Reduced € 3.00

More Information

No events in date-range