I am a Wanderer – Kiki Smith

I am a wanderer is a celebration of the various media works of Kiki Smith (b. 1954), at Modern Art Oxford. Smith, born in Nuremberg, but brought up in New York, her early works are influenced by the culture of the place and time, Social Agenda, Sexual identity, the AIDS crisis and feminist activism.

Interdependence between humans and habitat feature in her later works and the exhibition displays a superb series of twelve Cotton Jacquard tapestries. Smith says “I love tapestry. It buffers and makes a cushion between you and the world”

Kiki Smith, Sky, 2012, Cotton Jacquard Tapestry

Smith’s early works which are also on display are prints, sculptures and photographs which tackle bodily taboos such as decay, intimacy and mortality.

Oxford, Modern, drawings, sorcery, magic
Kiki Smith, Sorcery (1st – 9th hour) 2019, etchings on Hahnemühle paper

Kiki smith claims to be a “Wanderer” and you could see this as you travel through this wonderfully curated exhibition as themes digress and change from room to room. She was born into a family with well developed artistic talent (her mother was an opera singer and her father an architect, painter and minimalist sculptor) but she has successfully travelled through an independent career wandering through her own themes.

Alice, wonderland, oxford
Kiki Smith, Pool of Tears II, 2000, watercolour.

Pool of Tears II does evoke memories for me of Alice in Wonderland, on a journey, but who knows where, which is sort of appropriate in Oxford.

Unfortunately, and this seems to be a trend with me and tapestry at Oxford Modern Art, the exhibition is now over, but do look out for Kiki Smith in the future.

Cathedral Oxford tapestry
Kiki Smith, Cathedral, 2012, Cotton Jacquard tapestry

Sky and Cathedral © Kiki Smith 2012

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