Sam Smith and Andrea Zucchini at Assembly Point / London


Sam Smith and Andrea Zucchini

14 Sept – 22 Oct 2016

Assembly Point
49 Staffordshire Street
London SE15 5TJ

In the temple architecture the main room stands at a considerable distance from the garden; so dilute is the light there that no matter what the season, on fair days or cloudy, morning, midday, or evening, the pale, white glow scarcely varies (1).

× [here the sun does not enter] brings forth an ambience reminiscent of shadows dwelling in quiet alcoves. The exhibition arises from a thoughtful collaboration between two artists, whose distinctive practices become temporarily interwoven within gestures of appropriation, abstraction and inscription. It stages artefacts, extracts and combinations of data from the ancient or recent past; yet as in a moment of reverie, the preceding, the present and the projected lie folded, intimately touching.

The threshold behind you grows narrower.

The soothing sound of water washes over silence. A drop falls into the devouring sea, breaking against a piece of rocky shore in southern France. Eloquently embraced by the vegetation of the coastline, E-1027 stands like a ghost of a house. Designed in the late 1920s by Eileen Gray as a short-sighted token of romance, the building came to bare conflict of many emotional degrees: break-up, jealously, obsession, vandalism and, ultimately, death. Le Corbusier, the Swiss-French man of many traits, drowned in the waters below. Sam Smith has adopted the architectural plan of E-1027, now considered one of the ‘modernist shrines’, and reconfigured this into a series of sculptural furnishings. A composition of intuitive lines, corners and curves becomes relieved from its impassioned history.

Return to the innocence of the blueprint.

Jorge Luis Borges once wrote of a curious archaeological excavation endeavour near the ancient riverbed. The students unearthed – or produced – a gold mask, an archaic sword, two or three clay amphorae, and the verdigris’d and mutilated torso of a king with an inscription on the chest that has yet to be deciphered (2). This was not a common archaeological dig, since the discovered artefacts were born from the very act of seeking, shaped by the mind of she who searches. Thus, the past became not only the subject of interrogation but also of modification, being no less malleable than the future (3).

Relics drift on the spectrum of the foregone and the emergent; rest within darkness akin to the depths of the Earth. Appropriated by Andrea Zucchini from the Smithsonian’s digital archive, these objects attempt to question the ways in which contemporary 3D technology mediates the material as well as the spiritual knowledge of the past. The biotic and manmade entangled by a shuddering temporality.

Dreaming of 6470 BC in AD 4630.

Have you never felt a sort of fear in the face of the ageless, a fear that in that room you might lose all consciousness of the passage of time, that untold years might pass and upon emerging you should find you had grown old and gray? (4)

Hanna Laura Kaljo

1. Tanizaki, J. (1933) In Praise of Shadows
2. Borges, J.L. (1940) ‘Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius’ in Fictions
3. Borges, J.L. (1940) ‘Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius’ in Fictions
4. Tanizaki, J. (1933) In Praise of Shadows


Sam Smith’s recent solo projects include: Whitechapel, London (upcoming), ICA, London; The Telfer Gallery for Glasgow International 2016; KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin; Centre for Visual Arts, Portugal; The Royal Standard, Liverpool; and Australian Centre for Moving Image, Melbourne. Recent group shows include De Appel, Amsterdam; E-WERK, Freiburg; Jupiter Woods, London. He graduated from the MFA in Fine Art from Goldsmiths in 2015.

Andrea Zucchini’s solo shows include: Tenderpixel, London and Salon, Madrid; recent UK group shows include Camden Arts Centre, Zabludowicz Collection, Jupiter Woods, Tenderpixel, ICA, London; Gallery North, Newcastle; and international shows include F2, Madrid and The Gallery Apart, Rome. He is a recent graduate of the MA Sculpture course at Royal College of Art (2015) and BA from Goldsmiths (2013).