Marie Cozette: Tema celeste # 118, november- december 2006.
Melancoly and absurdity frequently emerge from Gregg Smith's work, which often reveals individuals caught in their own paradoxes and their incapacity to act, or react to situations.
The End , the seventh film created since 2001 by this young South African artist who lives and works in Paris, is displayed within an installation, which is an extension to the movie and gives additional depth to the screening.
Two workers- one of them is interpreted by Smith himself- consult papers and mysterious files in an inconspicuous room. The dialogue between the colleagues at first seems like an ordinary morning conversation, but tension soon begins to grow: it becomes palpable in the words and gestures, and more generally in the strange relationship between the characters. The room itself, with its narrowness, makes the atmosphere oppressive.
What happens seems pointless, even absurd: for example, the single desk and lone chair are used simultenously by the two men.
The film set has its own psychological energy and strong impact. The tiny room is part of a huge and old abandoned building, where all the decayed places are still covered by weird wallpaper, placed on the gallery walls, as if it had migrated from the fictional space of the movie to the real space of the exhibition.
The decorative pattern is used everywhere to facilitate communication between physical and mental spaces, to link things that are usually apart, and to allow people to project their own images. Actually, in Smith's work, landscapes and architecture are surfaces open to continuous mental projections; the pattern of the wallpaper is thus reproduced even on the mountains and cliffs photographed by the artist.
The film purposefully begins with the words “The End,” which turn the narrative into an endless loop, from which it seems impossible to escape. However, the script leaves room even for the accidental; unexpected moments can arise and potentially lead to renewal.