Vlad Smolkin’s work is generally concerned with the changing identities of objects across time. For Smolkin, the implications of a given material have to do not only with its physical properties or even its practical use in the world, but also with its historical provenance and exchange value: Where has this material been? Who owned or controlled it? What was it worth in the past and to whom? What kind of value will it have in the future?
Smolkin explores and questions western value systems through pointed artistic interventions with the materials, objects, and ideas that come out of those systems. These types of interventions are like a form of productive neglect, where artistic production often times mimics physical destruction.
He addresses these concerns on both an individual “micro”, level and a societal “macro” level, showing the inextricability of the two by conflating personal and historical narratives. Individual works exist both as autonomous talismans and as dependent, orphaned, phrases.