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'Body Without Organs
' by Matt Smoak at BAD WATER, Knoxville

My eyes want,
my sphincter wants,
my lungs want,
my heart wants,
I become the nature of their collective desire.

I spend the afternoons making drawings. Sumi ink on sandwich wrappers. A likeness born from my mind’s eye has moved my hand. I take apart clothing and furniture. A mirror of interiority. The construction of a possible body using the scraps and fragments from the items around my home.


The light is warm, yellow.
The disorganized body.
The assembled body.
How do I make myself a body without organs?

— Matt Smoak, 2021

Today Matt texted me about art unfolding beyond the shadows of institutional ways of thinking, of consuming. Several weeks ago talking on the phone, he says to me something about poetry under the shadow of capitalism. This ethos is woven in to the work in Body Without Organs. It resides somewhere other than the world of surface and appearances. The material, familiar— cotton shirts, sandwich wrappers, thrift store tags, polaroid photographs— but in their reassembly move towards a vast reservoir of becoming. I’m reluctant to say they hold secrets as nothing is intentionally kept hidden, the work just always has the capacity for further unfolding. 

More draped over a hanger than properly hung. Stretcher bars dangle from a hole in a shoulder, drawings rest in the crook of an armpit, a reflection is seen in paintings of mirrors and in shining compressed pie tins, poetry tumbles out of every sleeve. I wrote a note in my journal in between these two times speaking with Matt about the shadow of the earth itself. Cast through its atmosphere and into outer space, the shadows visible fringe appearing in the early dusk and late dawn. I wrote this thinking about watching the sun rise and set not only to see the sun, but to be a witness to the earth seeing itself. 

2.4.21 — 6.5.21

BAD WATER

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