Kiki Smith


“This is dedicated to the Virgin Mary/Lot’s wife/Peter Noever and/the objects of the Österreichisches Museum für angewandte Kunst.” This is the first entry in Kiki Smith’s notebook, which documents the one-year development of this exhibition. She entitled her intertwining of biblical myths and site-specificity “Silent Work.” The museum’s collection presented itself to the artist in no way as an organized exhibition. Such anarchy dissipated the institutional and historical laws of presentation. What was decoration could now be seen as morphology.

But these rooms were a zone of protection. They marked a hidden, veiled part of the museum. Why shouldn’t Baroque porcelain figures begin to dance here? But it is not the decorative or beautiful that Smith used in “Silent Work,” 1992. She transformed the interplay of formal qualities and intensities among the objects.

“Chair with ripped up lining

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