“She: I think someone's watching.
He: mmm… So what do you think of the place?
She: It's got potential, a lot of character. I see you've hung some of your art already. Soon you'll have it looking cozy and homely.”
The conversation, held between a couple sitting on a table and drinking wine, kicks off the delicate Background to a Seduction, by South African artist Gregg Smith. Alternating between stretches of silence and conversation, the couple remains in the same place/stage setting. The viewers watch from different angles and locations. A subtle voyeurism connects us to a narrative that drifts through space. The location here represents transit, a passage to the confluence of gazes on the scene. Selected for the 15th Videobrasil International Electronic Art Festival (2005) and included in the Videobrasil on Tour 2006-2007 programme, the work serves as focal point for a new FF>>Dossier in the Outros espaços [Other Spaces] series, focusing on the relations between image and space.
The owner of an established artistic path that moves back and forth between painting, performance, and audiovisual, South African-born French resident Gregg Smith creates works often structured according to spatial relationships. Instead of building narratives based on space, the artist turns it into a quasi-protagonist. In his work, he uses the resources of video to attain another form of space, one less committed to linearity-“the space of what has not yet been spoken”-in the words of artist Jill Magid, author of the Essay on Smith's work, featured in this edition of FF>>Dossier.
A seasoned performer, Gregg Smith also acts in his own videos, thus creating strong connections with the field of performance. His videos are edited in a very simple manner, with no effects or image processing, as he builds works that resemble recordings of performances, yet widen the creative possibilities through the inclusion of narrative flows which, instead of imprisoning the senses, end up very much widening the signification processes.
Further info on this artist available at the collection