I Think You Like Me, But I’ve Been Wrong About These Things Before, Artspace Aotearoa, NZ (2021).
Artspace Aotearoa is delighted to present I Think You Like Me, But I’ve Been Wrong About These Things Before, the first major solo show by Tāmaki Makaurau based artist Natasha Matila-Smith, an exhibition installation in which the gallery presents itself as a sort of meta-space, through the intentional employment of obvious conceptual metaphors connected to the bedroom. The gallery exists as a parallel universe of the artist’s bedroom. A space in which for the artist, exists as both a psychological extension and material manifestation of her empirical reality with romance, sexual intimacy, and social anxiety.
Matila-Smith’s work, which is unsurprisingly conceived and fansided in her own bedroom, comprises short-form prose, audiovisual components and romantic iconography. However, the personal is only ever offered in the form of ambivalent declarations and anonymous imagery.
This body of work is informed by what Matila-Smith describes as monotonous hours scrolling through the internet while laying in her bed. An act symptomatic of the artist’s ongoing experience with ennui and restlessness, and her interest in a generational hedonistic condition (generally attributed to millennials), the pursuit for self-fulfilled desire, and self-deprecation attained via online platforms; online spaces become public virtual mirrors to externalise the private self into the world.
I Think You Like Me, But I’ve Been Wrong About These Things Before, interrogates states of melancholy and despair as a consequence of the failure to achieve self fulfillment. Moreover, it considers whether or not Matila-Smith’s feelings are personal or innate. That is, are her feelings of inadequacy in fact a distinctly contemporary circumstance, a personal struggle, or are they connected to something more akin to ‘the human condition’?
“As a shy person, my work arises from a sincere desire to connect with people and a frustration that I often can’t achieve this using whatever “social” tools I already possess. Through art, I am able to communicate this with an audience and have found that many people share my feelings of inadequacy and failure. As a title, I Think You Like Me, But I’ve Been Wrong About These Things Before perfectly encapsulates this contemporary condition of second guessing oneself whilst acknowledging the wider societal influences that cause us to doubt our own decision making. I’m beyond grateful to Artspace Aotearoa for providing me with the space to have these conversations and to introduce these ideas to a wider audience.”
Posters by Felix Henning-Tapley.
Image by Samuel Hartnett.