Known for her sculptures, drawings, and prints that focus on the human body as subject, Kiki Smith has often used herself as material for her work. After making a number of prints that included depictions of various parts of her own body, the artist became interested in creating a picture that showed the skin of the body as a flat image, similar to the way a map becomes a flattened version of the globe. Working with printers at the workshop Universal Limited Art Editions, Smith gained access to a special camera (of which there are only three) at the Royal Academy at the British Museum in London. Originally designed for use in geological surveys, the camera can produce a 360º image. To make it, Smith spent a week at the British Museum being photographed on a rotating table, finally emerging with a negative that could be made into a photogravure printing plate. In making the final print, Smith added marks via the process of lithography, and hand-colored the images as they emerged from the press. The resulting print with its red and blue fields of color reveals an unusual self portrait that evokes a blending of landscape and the human form.
Copyright 2000 Walker Art Center