biography

Kiki Smith was born in 1954 in Nuremberg, Germany. She lives and works in New York.

Smith is a New York-based artist and a leading figure in the international art world. The human form, especially the female body, became central to her work in the 1980s. She began to focus on the themes of loss and death through her depiction of the body’s internal components, especially organs, cellular structures and the nervous system. The evacuation of these physiological components from the body presented anxieties surrounding the maternal body and the notion of the body as a receptacle for incorporeal components such as knowledge, belief and storytelling. By exposing its internal structures, Smith portrays the dichotomy between the psychological and physiological spheres of the body. In recent years, Smith’s work has evolved to incorporate animals, domestic objects and narrative tropes from classical mythology and folk tales. Her career, spanning more than three decades, is characterized by great experimentation with techniques and materials: she employs a wide-range of non-traditional materials ranging from hair and latex to beeswax and gold to a diverse body of media that includes painting, photography, bookmaking, sculpture, drawing, and printmaking.

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Kiki Smith was born in 1954 in Nuremberg, Germany. She lives and works in New York.

Smith is a New York-based artist and a leading figure in the international art world. The human form, especially the female body, became central to her work in the 1980s. She began to focus on the themes of loss and death through her depiction of the body’s internal components, especially organs, cellular structures and the nervous system. The evacuation of these physiological components from the body presented anxieties surrounding the maternal body and the notion of the body as a receptacle for incorporeal components such as knowledge, belief and storytelling. By exposing its internal structures, Smith portrays the dichotomy between the psychological and physiological spheres of the body. In recent years, Smith’s work has evolved to incorporate animals, domestic objects and narrative tropes from classical mythology and folk tales. Her career, spanning more than three decades, is characterized by great experimentation with techniques and materials: she employs a wide-range of non-traditional materials ranging from hair and latex to beeswax and gold to a diverse body of media that includes painting, photography, bookmaking, sculpture, drawing, and printmaking.

Kiki Smith select solo exhibitions include: Sonne, Mond und Sterne, Diözesanmuseum Freising (2023); Kiki Smith: Free Fall, Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul (2022); Kiki Smith: From the Creek, Albuquerque Museum, New Mexico (2022); Inner Bodies, Fondation Thalie, Brussels (2022); Kiki Smith. Hearing You with My Eyes, Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne (2020);  Kiki Smith, Monnaie de Paris, Paris (2019); Kiki Smith: Procession originated at the Haus der Kunst, Munich and traveled to the Sara Hildén Art Museum, Tampere, Finland and the Belvedere, Vienna (2018); Musée d’Art Moderne, Saint Etienne (2013); Brooklyn Museum, New York (2009); Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2007); San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2005); Museum of Modern Art in New York (2003).

Her work has been included in group exhibitions such as: Nian Nian - The Power and Agency of Animal Forms, Deji Art Museum of Jiangsu, Nanjing (2023); Feminine power: the divine to the demonic, The British Museum, London (2022); Artists Need to Create on the Same Scale that Society Has the Capacity to Destroy: Mare Nostrum, Venice Biennale, Complex of the Chiesa di Santa Maria delle Penitenti Fondamenta Cannaregio, Venice (2019); The Moon – From Inner Worlds to Outer Space, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk and traveled to Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Oslo (2019); Like Life: Sculpture, Color, and the Body (1300–Now), The Met Breuer, New York (2018); The American Dream: Pop to the Present, British Museum, London and traveled to Fondation Custodia, Paris, France (2018).

Smith’s works are included in numerous prominent museum collections, such as the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Tate Gallery, London; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. 

Her work has been included in five Venice Biennales (2019, 2017, 2009, 2005, 1993).

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images

Empath 036, 2022

Watercolor and crayon on kitakata paper

44,5 × 50,8 cm

Empath 017, 2022

Watercolor and crayon on kitakata paper

44,5 × 50,8 cm

Empath 097, 2022

Watercolor and crayon on kitakata paper

44,5 × 50,8 cm

Empath 086, 2022

Watercolor and crayon on kitakata paper

44,5 × 50,8 cm

Capture, 2016

Crayon on handmade laid paper

40 × 59,1 cm; 48,8 × 67,5 cm framed

Bombalurina, 2022

Hand painted laser cut shina plywood

20,6 × 35,6 × 16,2 cm

Posie, 2022

Hand painted shina plywood

30,8 × 33,3 × 16,2 cm

Cousin, 2016

Hand painted laser cut shina plywood

42,9 × 35,9 × 16,2 cm

Heart in Hand, 2015

Hand painted laser cut shina plywood

31,1 × 28,3 × 16,2 cm

Send, 2016

Blackened bronze

36,2 × 91,4 × 30,5 cm overall with base; sculpture: 35,6 x 76,2 x 12,7 cm; pedestal: 101,6 x 91,4 x 30,5 cm

Surge, 2016

Blackened bronze

37,5 × 76,2 × 30,5 cm overall with base; sculpture: 36,8 x 56,5 x 7,6 cm; pedestal: 101,6 x 76,2 x 30,5

Haunted I, 2012

C-print

64,8 × 54 cm

Haunted II, 2012

C-print

64,8 × 54 cm

Haunted III, 2012

C-print

64,8 × 54 cm

Untitled (Geneviève and the May Wolf), 2000

Chromogenic color print mounted to board

33,7 × 49,5 cm

Untitled (Autumn), 2000

Chromogenic color print mounted to 2-ply board

33,7 × 48,9 cm

Untitled (Calling), 2000

Chromogenic color print

50,8 × 40,6 cm

public exhibitions

MTA Arts & Design

Grand Central Madison

New York City

River Light; The Presence; The Spring; The Sound; The Water's Way

Photo: Anthony Verde

CityLife Park, ArtLine Milano Public Art Project

Milan, Italy

Guardiane

Photo: Alberto Fanelli

SeMA

Seoul

Kiki Smith ― Free Fall

15.12.2022 – 12.3.2023

Photo: Yoonjae Kim

National Museum of Modern Art

Zagreb, Croatia

Gloria: Croatian Female Artists Salute Kiki Smith

25.11.2021 – 28.1.2022

Photo: Goran Vranić

MCBA Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts

Lausanne, Switzerland

Kiki Smith. Hearing You with My Eyes

9.10.2020 – 10.1.2021

Photo © Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts de Lausanne / Étienne Malapert

Storm King Art Center

New Windsor

Kiki Smith River Light

15.7 – 9.10.2020

Photo: Jeffrey Jenkins

Monnaie de Paris

Paris

Kiki Smith

18.10.2019 – 9.2.2020

Photo: Martin Argyroglo / Monnaie de Paris

Modern Art Oxford

Oxford

I am a Wanderer

28.9.2019 – 19.1.2020

© Modern Art Oxford. Photo by Ben Westoby.

Belvedere

Vienna

Kiki Smith: Procession

7.6 – 15.9.2019

Photo: Johannes Stoll, © Belvedere, Vienna

Sara Hildén Art Museum

Tampere

Kiki Smith: Procession

9.2 – 12.5.2019

Photo: Jussi Koivunen / Sara Hildén Art Museum

DESTE Foundation Project Space

Slaughterhouse

Hydra

Kiki Smith: Memory

18.6 – 31.10.2019

Photo: Eftychia Vlachou

Haus der Kunst

Munich

Kiki Smith: Procession

2.2 – 3.6.2018

Photo: Maximilian Geuter

press

Scoprire Kiki Smith a Milano

Interviews with Raffaella Cortese, Gabi Scardi and Roberto Pinto.

Silvia Conta

ArtsLife

February 17, 2023

Kiki Smith

Kiki Smith reflects on her life and art

Sarah Moroz

Artforum

October 23, 2019

Artist Kiki Smith: ‘We all know we are in a precarious situation’

Caroline Roux

Financial Times

October 11, 2019

Kiki Smith e Alejandro Cesarco alla Galleria Raffaella Cortese

Valeria Montebello

L'Officiel Italia

January 22, 2018

I Myself Have Seen It: Photography and Kiki Smith, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary art, Arizona

Aesthetica

March 30, 2012

Family History and the History of Objects - Kiki Smith

Interview

Susan Sollins

Art21

September 2003

publications

Kiki Smith

Silvana Editoriale

Milano

2019

Kiki Smith. What I saw on the road

Demetrio Paparoni, Renata Pintus, Eike Schmidt

Giunti Editore

Florence

2019

Kiki Smith - Procession

Edited by Petra Giloy-Hirtz

Prestel

New York

2018

Kiki Smith: 2000 Words

Edited by: Karen Marta

DESTE Foundation for Contemporary Art

Athens

2018

video


Artists' Visions: Kiki Smith

2024

Nan Rosenthal, curator at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., moderates a discussion with contemporary artist Kiki Smith.


When fantasy meets popular folklore: Artist Kiki Smith’s work on display in Paris

2019

Video by France24 on the occasion of Kiki Smith's solo exhibition at Le Monnaie de Paris – 11 Conti


I Make Things to Experience the Process

2014

TateShots

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