There’s little art in Smith’s studio, so she shows me an image of a sculpture, bound for the Pace show, on her phone. It’s a jagged, triangular black form with multipoint stars emerging from the surface. It looks like a fallen-over Christmas tree: simultaneously stark, rough, and hopeful.
“That’s a wave,” Smith says. It doesn’t resemble any wave I’ve ever seen. Yugoslavian World War II monuments, called spomenik, inspired the shape, she says, showing me a picture of one of these, too, on her phone: two craggy stone hunks that emerge from the earth parallel to each other, then fan outward.
“I just think those sculptures are very beautiful,” she says. “They’re culturally very different from how we make memorials.” The water was a particular draw for Smith.
“Water holds memories,” she says. Her explanations, like her work, are often simultaneously lyrical and opaque.