Myth and Mortality: the fairy-tale world of Carolein Smit, till 30 September 2018 at the V&A Museum, London; L’Amour fou, Grassi Museum, Leipzig-Germany, untill 30 September 2018; Drents Museum , Assen-The Netherlands, 4 November-3 March 2019
“It is not very difficult to like my work. Everything shines and glitters, is adorable, and the details of eyes, tongues, noses and ears are endearing.
People love that kind of refinement., It can bring back memories of precious Meissen porcelain. That’s just the way I like it. I want people to love my sculptures.
I want them to loose their hearts to them and I do all I can to make them do so.
At the same time I don’t want to make this loving too easy. It’s painful, fragile, unfulfilled, and sometimes dangerous. Where are the boundaries, where does innocence become guilt? Where does life become death? That is what my work is about. The tension brought by emotional dilemmas, trying to separate right from wrong where everything evolves out of clumsyness, coincidence and misunderstanding.
In my work these dilemmas exist as a complicated knot of conflicting messages.
I think that the turning point where seriousness becomes melodramatic, beauty turns into overkill and love becomes hate, makes a subtle balance that is very annoying and at the same time very interesting.
Humor sneaks into my works while I am making them. I never make sketches before I start, I need it to be an adventure.
The highly detailed works allow my thoughts to wander and combine several things that sometimes are not very logical together but do make sense in the end.
When I am working in my studio, I go from one work to the next, combining several thoughts and fascinations.
I love curiosity cabinets, Wunderkammers, scientific collections, museums with devotionalia. All these collections contain images that are related to art, but also to other areas. They show the exceptional, the strange, the rare, to secure the scientific order. They lift up the supernatural to restrain the whims of nature. They suggest order and security. At the same time they warn us of the chaos that will occur as soon as we let go of this proposed order. They are images that scare us and also restrain that fear.
The ambivalence makes us look with admiration and disgust.”