SALTS art space in Basel is currently hosting the first official collaboration between Brooklyn-based artists Emily Mae Smith and Adam Henry, which is also their first exhibition in Switzerland. With the goal of the space being supportive to young international artists developing unique projects, The Little Apocrypha is definitely a schoolbook example of such efforts.
Inspired by the fictional “brain planet” from Stanislaw Lem’s book Solaris, the artists created a whole new body of work and transformed the exhibition space into a peculiar alien terrain for this showcase. The leading idea was to present the act of painting as a medium of communication, regardless of its formal appearance, while utilizing Lem's overview of the relationship between anatomy and consciousness. With this showcase the artists wanted to question authorship and authority of knowledge, referring to the idea that every change in science comes from pseudo science or a spiritual belief. The planet itself has been used as a metaphor for the mental concept of painting as a highly unstable and open-ended process, which is further backed up by Lem's commitment to scientific accuracy and existential considerations. With this in mind Smith and Henry decided to join their artistic forces and instead of presenting their individual artistic styles, merge them into a new, third entity. Mixing Smith's hyper real figurative vocabulary and Henry's abstract color investigations, they've created a unique aesthetic which hardly falls into any common painting categorization. This fusion was further accented through effective floor installation that divided the space in black and white parts which eventually blurred into each other. —Sasha Bogojev