#31 Lara Smithson, Work/live 2023-25
50 opportunities for 50 years
“I’ve spent so many hours working in unsuitable spaces, navigating health conditions or travelling for over an hour only to be too tired to do any work on arrival. The space feels like a dream and relief. I have always wanted a home that also acts as a studio.”
Lara Smithson has a multi-disciplinary practice that examines historical and current contradictions between health, ritual, religion, guilt, divine and political forces and the impact of these discrepancies on the human condition.
Lara moved into one of two Acme work/live studios in June 2023 on a two-year lease.
Part of Acme’s 50th anniversary, this was in response to an open call for UK-based fine artists in necessitous circumstances, with a practice of five years or more.
Acme’s work/live studios aim to provide artists with well-designed, safe, practical workspace and auxiliary living space for a stable, low rent. Artists are selected through application and allocated a studio for a fixed term and rent.
These unique opportunities aim to improve artists’ circumstances by targeting artists with a practical need for better suited space, while also increasing their time to make work.
“This is my first experience of living alone, something that has felt unattainable in London. Now, I can shape a space to suit my way of working. Even while supporting myself as a part-time technician, I will be able to concentrate on my practice, freed from further commutes or searches for external studios.”
Lara now plans to realise a new body of work arising from research begun while on a residency at St John’s College, Oxford. The project Wearing words, medicinal voices considers the historical use of textual amulets, relics and objects used for protection against or treatments of disease and illness and the role that touch plays in the transference of healing, power, and knowledge in the past and today.
“I feel like this opportunity is giving me some space to breath, take stock and experiment with new ideas without the immediate pressures of deadlines and uncertain finances. The period will provide freedom from the constant question of “what next?” while acting as validation and encouragement. Being surrounded by a community of artists is also an inspiriting setting to be thinking about the next chapter.”