BUILT Brutus

BUILT exhibition marks Dutch debut for Akeem Smith and Tommy Malekoff

Akeem Smith and Tommy Malekoff connect film and architecture, time and space. The artists are creating an international furore with impressive, immersive installations. BUILT, on view from October 7 to November 20 in Brutus.

Akeem Smith and Tommy Malekoff explore how the body and the built environment contend with brutality and impermanence. They draw on divergent methods. Curated by New Canons’ Maxwell Wolf, the exhibition silhouettes three installations. By artists whose practices bend the boundaries of video art and blur the distinction between artist, archivist and documentarian. 

For his presentation at Brutus, Smith enlists archival material, and salvaged architectural remnants transplanted from his hometown of Kingston Jamaica. In Queens Street, 2020 a video installation that harvests artifacts from the past to confront the legacy of the artist’s own enduring memory; an exercise of beguiling oblivion, woven within a larger lyrical homage to the women that raised him. 

In his imposing multi-channel video work Forever and Forever 2022, Malekoff maps the present impact of human intervention throughout the American landscape. The work features footage the artist captured, often with consumer equipment. Shot over two years in the Everglades region of southern Florida. A wilderness both raw and primordial but with visible traces of humanity everywhere. By moving past the morality of ecological decay, the artist illuminates an alternate vista that fluctuates seamlessly between extreme beauty and decimation.

“Whereas memory and material, like faith and infrastructure, are inherently subject to deterioration, Smith and  Malekoff evoke new epochs, fueling the potential of what can arise amidst all that remains in the void thereafter,” says Curator Maxwell Wolf.

BUILT reflects the genesis of Brutus

Founder of Brutus, Joep van Lieshout: “Max Wolf, Tommy and Akeem, like Brutus, use renegade sites and architecture as a collaborative material. BUILT is exactly the reason we are building Brutus as an alternative context. It’s large, fast and uncomplicated with very few rules. Our giant labyrinth of industrial spaces is a collage of historic remnants. A former brothel, brewery and rabbit food factory stitched together. We are excited to present BUILT as the spaces refer much to the ‘dark and hiddenness’ of these artists’ works.” 

“BUILT reflects the genesis of Brutus to be able to react quickly to the zeitgeist and host a show that is truly contemporary to build upon the momentum of these artists both in the raw industrial home of Brutus in Rotterdam’s M4H and in the context of the Architecture Biennial across the road at the Ferro building,” concludes director of Brutus, Sanne ten Brink.

BUILT will collaborate with the International Architecture Biennial Rotterdam (IABR) to host joint programming and admission.



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