Smith / Stuart
11/13/99 - 01/09/00
The Glasgow-based artist couple Stephanie Smith (b. 1968) and Edward Stewart (b. 1961) have been working together since 1993. Their medium is videos, which they employ either in installations or present as works for a single monitor. The artists themselves are always the protagonists in their works.
Their themes focus on the relationship between man and woman which they examine under the aspects of aggression and obsession. In recent works they have extended their scope to the relation between inside and outside, closeness and distance of bodies and sensory organs.
Smith/Stewart state that they work with video as a medium because it facilitates direct access and allows for unmediated action and control. They view themselves not so much as video artists but as performance artists.
At Portikus, Smith/Stewart present four works created since 1997 which can be experienced in chronological sequence, revealing the development and differences of the works.
DUAL is a work for a single monitor from 1997. The two artists perform mirror-image movements directly addressing their identity. They write their names simultaneously: Stephanie Smith, as a left-hander, leads Edward Stewart's left hand, while he, as a right-hander, leads her right hand. Time and again, they write their names in this manner, until the handwritings become unreadable and mutate to a maze of lines.
In VENT, a piece from 1998, an image is seen showing the view from deep inside the oral cavity outwards. Here, a sensory organ changes its purpose: the mouth can see. Using the contrasts between inside and outside, light and darkness, a different type of duality is created.
STATIC is a dual projection showing mirror-image action. In each, the shape of a head (of the artists) covered by a T-shirt can be recognised. The hand of the respective partner places itself on the face, thus impeding the other's breathing.
These works are complemented by RELEASE, a newly developed light-and-sound installation.