March 14, 2020–September 6, 2021

Contemporary artist Cauleen Smith creates a new work of art–a video premiering at The San Diego Museum of Art that is inspired by one of the most important works in the Museum’s collection, Juan Sánchez Cotán’s Still Life with Quince, Cabbage, Melon, and Cucumber (ca. 1602).


Looking at Sánchez Cotán

“First there is the cryptic, celestial selection and arrangement of objects. Learning that hanging fruit from string was standard practice did not undermine the math and magic of Cotán’s suspensions for me. Then there is the light, a direct shadow-making light cascades onto each object slightly differently. It wasn’t a suspension of time, or a capturing of a moment; the painting was in many different moments and different times. There is the impossible slant of the ledge upon which the sliced melon and cucumber are comfortably resting. And of course there is the limitless depth of the black void behind it all. It wasn’t until I met other Cotáns that I realized how crucial the void was in his compositions. The shelf and the wall somehow setting limits on the limitlessness of the darkness just beyond.”

— Cauleen Smith

Flori Canta, 2020

In addition to hearing the artist move around her studio and the ambient sounds of East Los Angeles, we hear at five-minute intervals the voices of women singing about flowers and the elements.

Read the full exhibition label text.