PHILLIP K SMITH

Play­ing with light on a grand scale, this Amer­i­can’s breath­tak­ing in­stal­la­tions are win­ning fans around the world

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Dur­ing this year’s Mi­lan Fur­ni­ture Fair, we had our first op­por­tu­nity to see an in­stal­la­tion by this Palms Springs-based artist in per­son. Cre­ated in col­lab­o­ra­tion with fash­ion brand Cos, Open Sky, a cres­cent-shaped, mir­ror pol­ished steel struc­ture, was Phillip K Smith III’S first to be shown in Europe. The tow­er­ing arc in­vited view­ers to pause, re­flect and look up at the sky – a theme PKS3 (as Smith refers to him­self ) of­ten re­turns to. ‘There are ex­pe­ri­ences of beauty that force all of us to stop and look, such as a sun­set,’ he says. ‘Peo­ple say we need to cel­e­brate our dif­fer­ences, and I agree, but we must also cel­e­brate the things that bond us to­gether. That’s what I’m try­ing to do.’

This is a pas­sion pre­vi­ously seen in the artist’s 2013 work Lu­cid Stead, a mir­ror-clad shack in the desert of Joshua Tree, Cal­i­for­nia. By day, its re­flec­tive pan­els make it ap­pear to float, but by night, il­lu­mi­nated by coloured LEDS, it glows like a mi­rage. Smith, a trained ar­chi­tect, is known for his in­ter­ven­tions with the land­scape: a loop of glass rods en­ti­tled The Cir­cle of Land and Sky in Palm Desert, or the re­flec­tive pil­lars of ¼ Mile Arc at La­guna Beach. Ex­plor­ing space and light, his work of­ten uses geo­met­ric sil­hou­ettes. ‘I’m in­ter­ested in min­i­mal­ism with soul; some­thing that has a sense of warmth and hu­man­ity to it,’ he says.

What’s next? An im­mer­sive show in Los An­ge­les and a new sculp­ture in Xi­a­men, China (pks3.com).

‘I’M IN­TER­ESTED IN MIN­I­MAL­ISM WITH SOUL; SOME­THING THAT HAS A SENSE OF WARMTH AND HU­MAN­ITY TO IT’

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