Kiki Smith: Prints, Books, and Things

Portfolio of nine screenprint and monotypes with ink additions on mold made T.H Saunders paper  
 Composition: various dimensions  
 Sheet: each 21 15/16 x 16 15/16" (55.7 x 43 cm)  
 Publsiher: Fawbush Editions, New York / Printer: the artist / Edition: 15  
 The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Richard A Epstein Fund, 1986  
 ©Kiki Smith

Kiki Smith. Possession Is Nine-Tenths of the Law. 1985

Portfolio of nine screenprint and monotypes with ink additions, composition (see child records): dimensions vary; sheet (each approx.): 21 15/16 x 16 15/16" (55 x 43.1 cm)
. Richard A. Epstein Fund. © 2018 Kiki Smith

NARRATOR: The prints in this gallery, and the gallery to your right, include images of human anatomy. Smith’s earliest exhibited work addressed the frailty and endurance of the human body. It depicts fragments of the body, both internal and later external, in stark, yet poignant renderings. In these galleries, she focuses on internal organs and systems, from the muscular to the digestive to the reproductive.

This work, Possession is Nine-Tenths of the Law was Kiki Smith’s first published portfolio. These prints of internal organs are isolated from their normal context – the rest of the body. Notice how the organs seem suspended, as if they are floating on the page. Curator Wendy Weitman thinks of this grid of nine body parts, as a still life.

WENDY WEITMAN: This portfolio also highlights certain compositional structures that we will see Kiki Smith using again and again, which is that central position of an image isolated on a sheet, floating the way it does in a I find surrealist austere way. One does not expect to encounter the image of a stomach, floating on a sheet of paper, in an art museum.

NARRATOR: The title, Possession is Nine-Tenths of the Law reflects the artist’s thoughts about control and ownership of the body.

6 / 17