JOSHUA SMITH AND THE (MINIATURE) WEIGHT OF REALITY

Digital art is exploring the boundaries between reality and CGI, challenging us to reconsider our own eyesight. Joshua Smith's vision, however, is based on raw reality... Miniature raw reality.

During our childhood, science fiction cinema (and much of the cinema in general) had to get by without digital effects, and still create plausible worlds that didn't exist. Generally, they'd do so by using miniature models with an insane amount of details, which made you really believe what you saw on the screen. Because it was something real and tangible. Something that had its specific weight. Something that was lost when 3D came into play and, from that moment on, we stopped believing what we saw in the movies because we began to assume that nothing was real anymore. That it was only fiction.

That's why the vision of artists like Joshua Smith is so necessary. Born in Norwood (South Australia), his career began with the use of stencils, making him one of the most relevant names of Australian street art. But as it often happens, Smith suddenly put aside his art to create the Espionage Gallery, a space where to promote new artistic voices, active until 2015 and transformed into a real Australian gold mine. Since that year, however, Joshua returned to focus on his creative vision... This time with a creative miniature vision instead.

Scratch-building is a building technique for tiny models that stays away from prefabricated kits with basic pieces, and thrives on raw materials that the artist himself manipulates (hence the term scratch). Not a fan of simple things, Joshua Smith transforms pieces of metal, plastic and wood into fascinating 1:20 scale models. And infuses them with a special taste for the decline of urban landscape... From a Brooklyn boutique to an apartment building in Hong Kong. From a record shop on San Francisco's legendary Mission Street to a Sydney bar. Whatever the place, the artist reproduces it while paying particular attention to all the details that give it that urban veracity, made of dirt and desolation: time-consumed graffiti, posters on the wall, stencils, garbage, packets of tobacco thrown on the ground, stains...

He doesn't care about a polished and perfect vision of reality, rather about reality itself. That's why his work has traveled all over the world and has been exhibited in cities such as London, Berlin, Paris, New York, San Francisco, Hong Kong and Taiwan. And that's why, even when we contemplate his models on Instagram, which is the exhibition space of modern art, we perceive in them the same reality of the films we used to watch when we were little. Because what is physical will always have a weight and a magic that not even a thousand computers will ever be able to recreate.