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SPECULUM: 10 Characters, 2019-2020.

Digital animation, 4K triptych, 3 minutes.

Description: SPECULUM by the Dutch collective, SMACK, brings Bosch’s masterpiece firmly into the twenty-first century. Presented at Matadero Madrid on three LED screens, with a total length of 21 metres, this digital triptych situates the visitor before ruthless depictions of the present. Eden is a pastel landscape of invasive technologies, image-obsessed loners wander in Paradise, and Hell is a gory compendium of personalised tortures.

The central panel, Paradise, was created in 2016, commissioned by the MOTI/Museum of the Image (now the Stedelijk Museum, Breda, The Netherlands). Colección SOLO acquired this work the following year and supported the team to develop Eden and Hell, completing the piece now known as SPECULUM. Like its Renaissance predecessor, this is a treasury of visual tales, each of them an invitation to consider who we are and the society we have built.

In SPECULUM: 10 Characters, SMACK offers alternative viewpoints of selected figures from their digital triptych based on Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights. In each case, the artists have created a new environment for the protagonist, employing the compositional techniques and linear perspective of Renaissance painting to centre the viewer’s attention. Six works from this series are presented at Matadero Madrid, digital animations which serve as crude mirrors of the present-day.

Isolation, tech-addiction, self-love and self-loathing all appear in these depictions of contemporary malaise. Cyberbully sees an internet troll punished on a hashtag pillory, in Big Dada, surveillance cameras become instruments of torture and Egonaut — used as the poster image for this exhibition — floats in a paradise of self-obsession.

Biography: SMACK is a collaboration between Ton Meijdam (Geldermalsen, the Netherlands, 1973), Thom Snels (Tilburg, the Netherlands, 1978) and Béla Zsigmond (Budapest, Hungary, 1975). All three studied at the St. Joost School of Art & Design (AKV) and began working together in 2005. Their insightful animations have won numerous prizes, including at the Amsterdam Film Experience, the European Design Awards and the UK Music Video Awards.


︎ @thisissmack
︎ SMACK Website

︎NAVE 16.MATADERO    ︎︎︎07 OCT—27 FEB