Sam Smith - September 2009

Sam Smith, Into The Void (2009) Excerpt from Sam Smith on Vimeo.

Into the Void reviewed in The Sunday Age:

Tuesday 1 September 2009
Sam Smith's Into the Void premieres this Thursday at Fed Square

Presented on Federation Square’s Big Screen,Sam Smith's Into the Void is a beautifully cinematic work that uses video special-effects to wryly critique romantic and anachronistic ideas about the transformative power of art.

Shot on location in New York City, the work responds to Yves Klein’s seminal 1960 work Le Saut dans le Vide (The Leap into the Void). At the time of its making Klein said: “To paint space, I owe it to myself to go there, to that very space... without illusions or tricks, nor with a plane or a parachute or a rocket ship: [the painter of space] must go there by his own means, with an independent individual force, in a word, he must be capable of levitation.”

Into the Void takes this statement and relates it to Smith’s own art practice. Into the Void tracesthe journey of a young man (the artist) around New York City. We follow the man as he visits the Museum of Modern Art and Gagosian Gallery. The artist uses video special-effects to give the illusion of him physically immersing himself in Klein’s famous blue paintings and suspending himself in a sublime realm. The work culminates with Smith’s reinterpretation of Klein’s famous Leap into the Voidphotograph, where Smith has melded multiple moving-image shots of New York to make up an astonishing, modern-day version of the photograph. The artist hovers not only in space but also in time, suspended in a digital loop.

At once an artistic critique of cinema and an exposure of the technology behind video imagery, Into the Void contains a joyfully poetic and technophiliac aesthetic. The work is a leap into the video void.

Sam Smith's Into the Void
On the Big Screen at Federation Square.
5:30 to 6:30pm
Thursday 3 September
Thursday 10 September
Thursday 17 September
Thursday 24 September

Sam Smith is represented by GRANTPIRRIE Gallery, Sydney

IMAGE: Sam Smith, Into the Void, 2009. Video still.


At once an artistic critique of cinema and an exposure of the technology behind video imagery, Sam Smith's practice integrates sculptural form and digital media with humour and intelligence. Form and matter disport themselves within fantastical worlds, reality and the digital realm repeatedly clash, and sci-fi references abound. Despite Smith revealing himself as the puppet-master, his magical digital worlds still manage to astonish. These works have a joyfully, technophiliac aesthetic. Smith has exhibited in Australia, Japan and New Zealand with screenings in Australia, Brasil, China, Ireland, Mexico, Thailand and Spain. In 2007 he received the prestigious Helen Lempriere Travelling Art Scholarship to undertake a series of artist mentorships in New York. He has since also won the inaugural 2008 Wilson HTM National Art Prize and the 2008 Churchie National Emerging Art Award.

IMAGE: Same Smith, Video Camera [HDW-F900/3], 2007. Single channel HD video (still). Plywood, pine, green screen paint.