Commonwealth and Council


Aili Schmeltz


Schmeltz enhances a doorway within the exposed southern wall with mirrors, highlighting the threshold in between the gallery and a raw, former stairway landing. 

This site specific installation, Portal, transforms the doorway structure into a time and space marker. Its cinematic frame both reveals and disappears into its environment, while drawing attention to the movement of light reflecting on the surrounding space. The pairs of strips covering the inside faces of the threshold reflect one another, creating an infinity mirror effect that transport the viewer from the white walled gallery space to a charred, stratified corridor of a bygone passageway. Portal builds on Schmeltz’s interests in ideas of utopic architecture and philosophy combined with her current body of sculptural and drawing based work that investigates forms claimed to be ‘ESP activating’ from a 1970’s New Age book about psionic generators. The use of the mirror in Portal is inspired by Michel Foucault’s thoughts of mirrors as a heterotopic space, reinforcing the work’s tie to the flexible space between the real and unreal, space and light, the future and the past. 

Aili Schmeltz has exhibited internationally in cities such as New York, Berlin, Los Angeles, Zurich, Basel, Chicago and Miami. She recently had a solo exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, in Tucson, Arizona, and received a Pollock Krasner Foundation Grant. Other recent awards include The Creative Capacity Fund Grant, The Durfee Foundation Grant and Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grant. Schmeltz has been an artist in residence at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, Sculpture Space, Babayan Culture House (Cappadocia, Turkey) and Takt Kunstprojektraum (Berlin, Germany). She is cofounder of the Los Angeles Art Resource, a website that serves as a forum for the exchange and sharing of comprehensive arts resources. Schmeltz earned her MFA from the University of Arizona, and a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute.