My Blue Lake

Kiki Smith, American (born Germany), born 1954



Photogravure, à la poupée inking, and lithograph in three colors on mold-made En Tout Cas paper


Plate: 33 3/4 × 45 13/16 in. (85.7 × 116.3 cm)

Sheet: 43 1/2 × 54 3/4 in. (110.5 × 139.1 cm)

Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Purchased through the Virginia and Preston T. Kelsey 1958 Fund, a gift from the Muchnic Foundation in honor of Angela Rosenthal, Associate Professor of Art History, Datmouth College, 1997-2010, and through a gift from Mr. and Mrs. Joseph H. Hazen, by exchange

© 1994 Kiki Smith/Universal Limited Art Editions



Craig Zammiello


Universal Limited Art Editions (ULAE), West Islip, New York


Place Made: United States, North America


20th century

Object Name


Research Area


Not on view


Signed and dated, lower right, in graphite: Kiki Smith 1995; numbered, lower left, in graphite: #32


Kiki Smith transformed her likeness into a flat image in My Blue Lake by using a special periphery camera originally designed for use in geological surveys. To get the shots, Smith had to sit motionless on a rotating turntable for minutes at a time while being photographed. The final image shows a body abstracted; flattened and stretched almost beyond recognition.

Smith made the work during a period of personal obsession with the body, its limits, and its political significance. The loss of her father and sister in the 1980s led her to investigate mortality and the physicality of the human body, and she was particularly intrigued with skin as an envelope and a boundary. With this print, she fulfilled a desire to show the body unfolded. Smith considers the image a landscape—a topographical map of the body, largely made up of water. By unfolding the body and laying it bare, Smith asks us to consider how our external self can be inscribed with meaning and significance.

From the 2022 exhibition Embodied: Artist as Medium, curated by Isadora Italia, Campus Engagement Manager

Course History

WRIT 5, Visual Culture, Aimee Bahng, Winter 2015

FREN 2, Introductory French II, Gabriele Nencieu, Winter 2015

Exhibition History

About Face: Self-Portraiture in Contemporary Art, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, January 23-August 30, 2015.

Embodied: Artist as Medium, Isadora Italia, MALS Class of 2022, Sol LeWitt Wall, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, October 1–December 17, 2022.


The artist, 1995; Pace Gallery, New York, New York,date unknown; sold to a Private collection, date unknown; Mary Ryan Gallery, New York, New York, date unknown; sold to present collection, 2014.

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