‘More with Less’, is a playful variation on the well-known phrase ‘less is more’, and exactly what London based visual artist Stephen Smith proposes in his latest exhibition. Working with a mixture of media, and employing both found and manipulated objects, he created an overwhelming visual world where we can examine the essence of fully automated communication and explore various meanings in the transition from analogue processes to digital ones.
‘More with Less’, visualizes the sound of white noise (not the Anthrax album), and leads viewers into a complex narrative that sometimes seems to have written itself. Personally, I love just seeing the work. It’s beautiful, sharp, scratched to the bone and engaging. Once you start staring at it, this initial attraction expands as bit by bit the substance of the aesthetic begins to leak out. It sort of feels like somebody taught you a beautiful sentence in a language you don’t speak. Captured by what appears as simple poetry, you begin to discover that there is a language that supports the sentence and that this language has a history. To understand the sentence, you must start working towards the heart. In this case, this means frequency as vital organ and history as a process of communication.
The organic gets tangled up with the synthetic and spiritual concerns are found floating through the calculated constructions of social architecture as the work investigates how the shape, form and nature of mixed materials inform visual communication. Gaining recognition from his sold out book “Neasden Control Centre,” and outstanding shows such as ‘Spank the Monkey’ (the Baltic Museum) or his participation at the ‘Now Jump’ exhibition at the Nam June Paik Center, if we look back at that first book in 2003 it is clear that Smith has been prolific in developing his own visual language. It is a language he constantly reworks by constructing and deconstructing, allowing chance and conscious decisions to guide a process until a direction forms and the dust settles. In bringing forward the analog, the work itself is not nostalgic, but rather creates space for what we might consider as dying languages in rapidly expanding contemporary structures.
The large sculpture, which reminds me both of Sol LeWitt and Buckminster Fuller, makes the shadows grow warm and subtle details like an old film projector spinning in front of a video makes a strong and simple statement on the powers of perception and the illusions inherent to mediated information. Everything in the exhibition relates to everything else, and through the chaos there are some very clear lines to hold onto as you take in the show.
More with Less, by Stephen Smith, also known as Neasden Control Centre, will be on show every day from August 21st to October 3rd, at MU, on the first floor of the Witte Dame building.
Emmasingel 20, Eindhoven.
Monday to Friday 10.00-18.00h., Saturday 11.00-17.00h., Sunday 13.00-17.00h.