More about All Souls
Adding up to a whopping 171 babies, Smith went a little ham on the baby-making in her work All Souls.
The piece consists of “36 screenprints of a fetus Smith found in a Japanese anatomy book, printed on handmade sheets of Thai paper, attached one to the other, and suspended from the wall.” The title indicates that this piece is like a long, winding line (like the infuriating ones at Disneyland) of babies waiting for souls, which is pretty cute. What well-mannered, considerate babies they are! And like real babies, no two are exactly alike, despite having all come from one picture. The entire piece is a beast at 15 feet long and 6 feet tall. It’s unframed (probably because who could make a frame that size?) and hangs like a scarier version of those chill mandala tapestries that can be found in dorm rooms across America.
Smith was raised Catholic, which as many know can really do a number on your psyche. She explains Catholicism as “a body-fetishized religion” in that “it’s always taking inanimate things and giving meaning to them.” She explains that she doesn’t think she’s a spiritual person despite praying every day, which is probably a lot more that some “spiritual” people do. Her religious upbringing undoubtedly was the main inspo for All Souls. “The work’s title is a reference to All Souls' Day—a Catholic feast day celebrated on November 2, when the faithful pray for the souls of the dead who have not yet fully atoned for their sins.” It’s like Mexico’s Day of the Dead without the fun facepaint, colorful decorations and food.
Overall this work may make you think that Smith has baby fever, but she was actually just really interested in the human body and loved making art related to humans and animals, which is just as cool or maybe cooler than making the real ones.
- Baird, Daniel. "Kiki Smith: Prints, Books & Things". Brooklynrail.org. N.p., 2004. Web. 16 June 2017.
- Kimmelman, Michael. "The Intuitionist". Nytimes.com. N.p., 2006. Web. 16 June 2017.
- "Whitney Museum Of American Art: Kiki Smith: All Souls". Collection.whitney.org. Web. 16 June 2017.