Elisabeth Smolarz, Encyclopedia of Things, April 2017 – December 2017

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ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THINGS is my latest portrait series in which I collaborate with individuals in their home environments. Each participant selects personal objects as portals to memory that are both precious and meaningful, they are then arranged for the camera in a temporary installation. The installations of the participants’ most treasured objects embody their sense of self-hood and identity, and tell the story of each individual. Since starting this long term project in 2014 I collaborated with individuals in North America, Europe, the Middle East and most recently in East Asia. The final result is series of intricate non-concrete portraits consisting of a prevalent vocabulary made out of ubiquitous objects that echo the universality of the human condition.

Immigrating from Poland to Germany, Elisabeth Smolarz grew up on the cusps of two different cultures affected by a communist and democratic system. Consequently, she became involved in the idea of how consciousness and perception is formed by one’s surroundings. Since then her work has been shown nationally and internationally – in venues such as The Bronx Museum, New York, Eyebeam Art + Technology Center, New York, Galeria Aleksander Bruno, Warsaw, Oberwelt e.V, Stuttgart, Kunsthalle Galapagos New York, Baden Württembergischer Kunstverein, Photography Triennial Esslingen, Carnegie Mellon, Independent Museum of Contemporary Art (IMCA) Cyprus, Brooklyn Arts Council, Reykjavik Photography Museum, Espai d’art contemporani de Castelló, the Sculpture Center and the 3rd Moscow Biennale among others. Awards and residencies include the LMCC Work Space Residency, New York, AIM Artist Residency, Bronx Museum, Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen Travel Grant, Karin Abt-Straubinger Stiftung Grant, Sarai Artist Residency, New Delhi, India, Capacete Artist Residency, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Red Gate Gallery Artist Residency, Beijing, China and more. Elisabeth Smolarz received her BA and her MFA from the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste Stuttgart.

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