Sam Smith

(Australia 1980 – )

Control structure

Location
Not on display
Further information

Sam Smith's 'Control Structure' 2008 is both sculpture and video installation. It takes the form of a classic portrait bust, though one which lies on its side as if fallen from a pedestal. Constructed of sections of cut plywood there is something both cubist and classical about this form, the planar sectional shapes recalling analytical cubism while the overall shape of the sculpture is a like a diagrammatic version of a classical statue. The monochromatic reduced palette of the plywood further removes the work from realist representation and recalls the similar use of mutely coloured timber in sculpture over the last decade by Ricky Swallow, James Angus and Peter Hennessey.

Extending from one eye of the sculpture like a telescope is a large lens. Smith has often used a camera lens in his work, both as a sculptural object with formal properties in its own right and as something which implies that filming or photographing is about to occur. As a video and filmmaker himself, the lens also becomes a prosthetic extension of the artist's own body, implying a type of super-vision or a body which has melded with technology.

The fact this sculpture is a form of self-portrait is also suggested in the video footage played on screens which occupy parts of the sculpture and which includes footage of the artist with a large surreal lens extending from where his eyes should be. The fact that the other eye of the sculpture seems blinded by black material suggests that vision mediated by technology is all that is now available. The prosthetic lens extending from the artist also embodies the craft of the filmmaker, the cameraman, the material and vision of Sam Smith's art practice itself.

Year
2008
Media
Sculpture, Time-based media
Medium
single-channel HD video on LCD monitor, colour, stereo, 16:9 ratio, 4.30 min loop, hoop pine plywood, maple plywood, polyester resin, fibreglass, mortar, aggregate, polyurethane foam, silicone
Dimensions
280.0 x 260.0 x 125.0 cm
Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Credit
Gift of Stephen Grant and Bridget Pirrie 2011. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
Accession number
402.2011.a-c