Brown Water

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Object Name: 
Multi-Part Sculpture
Brown Water
Accession Number: 
Assembled W: 426.8 cm, D: 50.8 cm; Individual Elements L: 10.2-19.1 cm, W: 6.4 cm, D: 5.7 cm
Not on Display
Credit Line: 
Purchased with funds from the Arthur Rubloff Residuary Trust
Web Description: 
Brown Water, an installation by the internationally known artist Kiki Smith, was made in 1999 with the Pennsylvania glassblower Tom Farbanish. Smith is a sculptor and a printmaker who uses a variety of materials and techniques in her work. The human body and the natural world are her recurring subjects, and she uses glass as a spiritual element and as a metaphor for sky and water. Smith is one of many artists who have used glass effectively to explore ideas about landscape and nature. In Brown Water, 247 hot-formed, solid drops of glass create a landscape that evokes falling water (the drops spreading randomly across the floor like the patternless spotting of rain) or that constitutes its own body of water (seemingly solid but still requiring navigation). Here, Smith explores the contradictory nature of the material, which is often called a “rigid liquid,” and its wondrous ability to give form to amorphous substances, such as water and light. Assembled dimensions variable.
Pace Gallery LLC, Source
Primary Description: 
Transparent brown and colorless soda lime Spruce Pine glass; hot-worked, iridized, assembled. 247 solid, tear-drop shaped elements to be arranged on a flat surface.
Hearing You with My Eyes. Kiki Smith
Musee cantonal des Beaux-Arts de Lausanne 2020-10-09 through 2021-01-10
Next October 2019, the Musee cantonal des Beaux-Arts de Lausanne will open its new building to its visitors. Its regular exhibition program will be launched in February 2020. The last temporary exhibition of the year 2020 will be devoted to the work of Kiki Smith. This will be her first solo show organized in Switzerland since 1990. Entitled Hearing You with My Eyes. Kiki Smith, the exhibition will examine her work from the 1980s to today with a very singular approach: by looking at how the artist has always engaged with the senses and explored different kinds of connections (separated body parts, human/animal, body/spirit, etc.), it wants to suggest that there is a sort of sensorial phenomenon going on, close to the experience of synesthesia. A fully illustrated catalogue will accompany the exhibition. This exhibition is curated by Dr. Laurence Schmidlin, Curator of contemporary art. It is conceived in close collaboration with the artist who was immediately enthused by this renewed look into her work and who has been giving her whole support to the project since its beginning. We herewith take the liberty of asking you to consider favorably our request for the loa nof the following work: Kiki Smith "Brown Water", 1999 2007.4.6 This work would be of utmost importance for our project for several reasons. Firstly, it materializes what has only a temporary form, in such a way that the floor seems to offer a snap of the drops of an odd rain just before disintegrating. It shows what we can never really witness. Secondly, the color of these drops refers to other types of liquids than water, notably human ones. This triggers an imagery of the human body as a wonderful and loving spectacle.
Kiki Smith: Hearing You with My Eyes (2020) illustrated, pp. 34-35, 175;
The Corning Museum of Glass Annual Report 2007 (2008) illustrated, p. 15; BIB# AI90242
Recent Acquisitions (2008) illustrated, p. 12 (lower right); BIB# AI101005
Recent Important Acquisitions (2008) illustrated, p. 122; BIB# AI75448
Contemporary Glass Sculptures and Panels: Selections from the Corning Museum of Glass (2008) illustrated, p. 37, 176-177 (fig. 74, plate 64); BIB# 107478
Glass Seriously (2005) illustrated, p. 3, bottom; BIB# 139444
Kiki Smith (2005) illustrated, p. 195; BIB# 90442
Kiki Smith (2005) illustrated, p. 195; BIB# 90442
Immersion (2003)
H20 (2003)
Kiki Smith: You are the Sunshine of My Life (1999)