I use video as a tool to explore social structures which constitute human interaction within a culture. To expose collective consciousness and patterns of behavior, I often ask strangers to become participants and collaborators in my performance-based projects. The immediacy of my working method, wherein participants are invited to act freely and with little or no direction before the camera, fosters an improvisational approach that reveals hidden aspects of these structures and allows individual voices to be heard. The resulting multi-channel video installations often consist of series of case studies which focus on questions of the strategies of our self-definition that are often rooted in our economic, social and cultural surroundings.
In the course of political change in the former Communist Poland of 1989 Elisabeth Smolarz’s family immigrated to Germany. After receiving her MFA from the State Academy for Fine Arts in Stuttgart, Germany Elisabeth moved to New York.
Since then her work has been shown nationally and internationally - in venues such as Baden-Württembergischer Kunstverein, Photography Triennial Esslingen, Carnegie Mellon, Independent Museum of Contemporary Art (IMCA) Cyprus, Reykjavik Photography Museum, Espai d'art contemporani de Castelló, the Sculpture Center and the Moscow Biennale, among others. Awards and residencies include the Institut für Auslandbeziehungen Travel Grant, Karin Abt-Straubinger Stiftung Grant, Capacete Artist Residency, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Red Gate Gallery Artist Residency, Beijing, China and more.
From 2006 to 2009 Elisabeth taught as a visiting Professor at the University of Applied Sciences in Konstanz.