John Smith (b. 1952) lives and works in London. Since the mid 1970s, John Smith has produced films inspired by conceptual art and structural film, but incorporating narrative elements and exploring the tensions between illusionism and material construction. One of his best-known early films 'The Girl Chewing Gum' (1976) adds a fictitious commentary to a documentary image, using the manipulative power of the voice-over to immerse the viewer in an imaginary world while simultaneously drawing attention to that manipulation and the artifice of cinema itself. Smith's work has continued to playfully explore the relationship between sound (the spoken word in particular) and image, mainly using documentary imagery of the everyday world as source material. His works have been widely shown internationally and forthcoming solo exhibitions include: Kestnergesellschaft, Hanover, Germany (February 2012); Weserburg Museum of Contemporary Art, Bremen, Germany (January 2012) and Uppsala Art Museum, Sweden (October 2011). His current solo exhibition 'unusual Red cardigan' can be seen at PEER, London, until November 26th.
John Smith | I am extremely grateful to the Paul Hamlyn Foundation for the first ’no strings attached’ award I have received in Britain since winning the Brooke Bond Tea Junior Art Prize in 1963. For my painting of the Oxford and Cambridge boat race I was presented with a publication entitled ’The Childrens’ Book of Achievement’ so in financial terms, even after taking inflation into account, the Paul Hamlyn Award represents a significant improvement in my fortunes. It will allow me to take risks that I have never dared take before, not least by enabling me to take time out from, or perhaps even leave, the part-time teaching work that I have relied on for a regular income over the past three decades. I am really excited by the prospect of making a full-time commitment to my own work over the coming years.