Smile was very influenced by the work of artists like Vito Acconci, Bruce Nauman and Joan Jonas. Smile arose in part as a response to a work by Vito Acconci and in part a literal translation of the song Smile, written by Charlie Chaplin and, in this case, sung by Nat King Cole. Chaplin’s lyric sets out a specific set of instructions, “smile through your fear and sorrow”. The video simply follows this instruction. In the original version of this piece the smile is maintained for 34 minutes. In this version it is cut to the length of the song, just under 3 minutes.
(Images 4-5) – Install of 'Smile' in 'Knock Knock', South London Gallery, UK, 2019
Guardian review of 'Knock Knock'