Smoke Knows

Artist: Pae White
installation | Cotton and polyester | 2896x6553mm | 2009

Ignoring traditional boundaries between the applied and fine arts, Pae White encourages viewers to take a deeper look at familiar encounters and ordinary objects. In 2006, White began creating tapestries with photographic images of crumpled aluminum foil and plumes of smoke. Still, Untitled, one of her most recent smoke tapestries, stages what White describes as the cotton’s “dream of becoming something other than itself” by contrasting an image of something immaterial with the physicality of fabric. This vision of an ephemeral moment suspended in space—the slight and fleeting unfurling of smoke monumentalized in the heroic tradition of tapestries—transforms an everyday image into a seductive evocation of transience and longing.


Whitney Biennial 2010 | 2010.02.25 - 2010.05.30 | Whitney Museum of American Art (old museum)(New York City, NY, United States)
The Return of Guests - Selections from the PSA Collection | 2019.09.20 - 2020.03.08 | Shanghai Contemporary Art Museum(Shanghai, China)