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Camille Smithwick: Ode to the Untruth

Camille Smithwick presents a series of drawings and portraits exploring the mysterious life of Kaspar Hauser, the teenage foundling who mysteriously appeared in Nuremberg in 1828. Allegedly having been held captive in a cell by a mysterious man whose face he never saw, rumours abound about his true origin, including theories of aristocratic descent.

The enduring appeal of this story is that the truth is unknowable, even to Kaspar himself. Initially living in the local prison, Hauser became a visitor attraction, sharing his stories and drawings with the local people. Despite reports across Europe of his mysterious appearance no light was shed on his origin.

After two attempts on his life Kaspar was murdered by an unknown assailant in 1833. The enigma has continued to inspire artists and thinkers; Hauser’s lack of memory and strange physical phenomena suggested to Charles Fort evidence for his teleportation theory, while Werner Herzog described him as a person who was ‘born an adult’. The truth is blurred, distorted and chaotic; when an answer is found more questions arrive.

Camille Smithwick is an artist and illustrator who enjoys playing with truth and perception, attracted to paradoxes, misunderstandings and laughter.