Melanie Smith at Lulu / DFMexico

Melanie Smith
Bajio 231, the red door (corner of Manzanillo). 
Colonia Roma
06760 DFMexico

August 8 – September 13, 2015

Lulu is proud to
present Fordlandia, an exhibition by the Mexico City-based artist Melanie
Carrying on
s interest in themes such as colonialism, urbanization,
the effects of industrialization and ultimately, entropy and nature, Fordlandia
(2014) is a video that revolves around Henry Ford
eponymous work colony in the Amazon rain forest in Brazil. A Fitzcarraldian
fiasco of epic proportions, Ford
s impetus in establishing the
outpost was to develop his own rubber for tire production. He struck a deal
with the Brazilian government, trading 9% interest in the profits generated for
a 10,000 km2 (3,900 square miles) piece of land, upon which he built an
entirely prefabricated city, replete with American-style, perfectly manicured
lawns. For a variety of reasons, ranging from revolt of local laborers, to the
rubber tree plague, to the eventual invention of synthetic rubber which
rendered rubber cultivation virtually obsolete, Ford found himself eventually
obliged to sell his industrial utopia, which he himself never even visited, to
the Brazilian government at a loss of close to 20 million dollars in 1945. The
site has languished in the jungle ever since.
Melanie Smiths approximately 30 minute video, little seen in Mexico, documents a
journey to the current ruins of Ford
s Amazonian folly. Rather than
presenting broad, picturesque views of the landscape in which it is located,
Smith, and her cinematographer, Julien Devaux, decided to focus on details of
the journey and ultimately the contrasts of the city itself with its
inhospitable surroundings. Without abandoning the linear trajectory of an
expedition, this highly atmospheric montage fluctuates between close-ups of
s body parts, the patinated remnants of
Fordlandia, and the mist-covered jungle itself. Its motley of sharp,
quasi-painterly contrasts is not limited to the visual, but also extends to the
auditory, both of which Smith deftly plaits together to compose a richly
textured portrait of this unique and impossible relic of 20th century hubris.
Melanie Smith
was born in Poole, England in 1965; she has lived and worked in Mexico City
since 1989. Her work has been exhibited in numerous national and international
institutions, including: PS1, New York; MOMA, New York; UCLA
S, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; ICA, Boston; Tate Liverpool; Tate Modern,
London; South London Gallery, London; CAMH, Houston; Milton Keynes; CCA,
Vilnius; Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam; Museo de Arte de Lima; Museo
Tamayo, Museo Universitario Arte Contempor
áneo and Museo Experimental El Eco, Mexico City; and Museo de Monterrey.
In 2011 she      represented Mexico at
its national pavilion in the 54th Venice Biennale. The work of Melanie Smith
is      represented by Galerie Peter
Kilchmann, Zurich; Galerie Nara Roesler, S
Paulo; Sicardi Gallery, Houston; and Galer
ía Proyecto Paralelo, Mexico City.