from October 18 2022 to March 5 2023
Teeth ! Fangs! Claws!
Inspired by myths and monsters, tales and legends, visual artist Carolein Smit has made ceramics her main medium. Her animals and creatures fashioned in porcelain or stoneware plunge us into a deliberately dreamlike world imbued with strangeness and preciousness. We immediately feel his attraction to ancient times, from the Middle Ages to the Baroque centuries, while his taste for cabinets of curiosities or cabinets of wonders, jewelry and precious materials, is beyond doubt.
(Automatically translated with Google Translate)
The bestiary that she deploys at the Museum of Hunting and Nature is very rich: dogs, owls, owls, vultures, fawns, unicorns, monkeys and mice populate the rooms alongside half-man half-human hybrid beings. - beasts resembling fauns, warriors, even shamans. Carolein Smit likes to navigate the frontiers of reality, mythology and popular religious iconography, questioning all forms of beauty. In his animal sculptures, time seems suspended. The animals are captured at a standstill as if posing for the viewer. The piercing eyes of birds of prey are all the more impressive, the facial expressions of monkeys familiar and those of pugs, bulldogs or hunting dogs even more endearing. Yet what strikes above all in this work is the extraordinary treatment of surfaces, coats, feathers and skins, hyperrealistic and decorative at the same time, without any contradiction. Technically breathtaking, Carolein Smit's ceramics are adorned with bright and shiny colours. Each creature has a plinth, a terrace, adorned, goldsmithed or naturally decorated in the vein of Bernard Palissy. Now part of a panorama of animal representation, the works of Carolein Smit are distinguished by their extreme singularity. Far from the codes of 19th century sculpture exalting the strength, movement and even fury of animals, unrelated to the stylized vision of the sculptors François Pompon or Sandoz, nor to Bugatti's zoological description, Carolein Smit's animals are similar more, despite their material and format, to those created with imagination by jewelers. His wonderful animals and fantastic beings together are able to compose the most unexpected stories brilliantly mixing the history of European art, the imagination of Native American peoples, fairy tales and a certain dark romanticism.