Carolein Smit is an internationally renowned ceramic artist who currently lives in Belgium. In the early 1990s she received three scholarships from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Design and Architecture in Amsterdam, and in 1993 was honourably mentioned for the Prix de Rome. Her sculptures form part of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Asante collection in Switzerland, the Thomas Olbricht collection in Germany, the Treger/Saint Silvestre Collection in Portugal, Fuled International Museum (FLICAM) in Fuping, China and many more. Her artworks have been on show at the Bonnefantenmuseum (Maastricht), Art Basel, La Maison Rouge (Paris), me Collectors Room (Berlin), the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen (Rotterdam) to name but a few. In 2010 she had a solo show at the Kunsthal (Rotterdam), and was also part of the blockbuster exhibition ‘CERAMIX’, curated by Camille Morineau (curator Centre Pompidou) and Lucia Pesapane at the Bonnefantenmuseum in 2015 and La Maison Rouge and Cité de la céramique (Sèvres) in 2016. Carolein Smit's solo exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, 'Myth and Mortality: The Fairy-Tale World of Carolein Smit', runs until 30 September 2018.
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.
1996, European Ceramics Working Centre, ʻs-Hertogenbosch, NL.
1979-1984, Academie of fine arts, St Joost, Specialisation grafics and lithography.
Breda, The Netherlands.
Victoria & Albert Museum, London UK
Grassi Museum, Leipzig, D
Gemeentemuseum Arnhem, NL
“Lʼamour fou”, Flatlandgallery, Amsterdam, NL
“Emanation”, Gallerie Michael Haas, Berlin, D.
“Death and the maiden”, Flatlandgallery, Amsterdam, NL, .
Galerie Dukan&Hourdequin, Marseille, France.
“Huid en haar”, Kunsthal Rotterdam, Rotterdam, NL.
“Tränenrot und Perlentau”, Gallerie Michael Schultz, Berlin, Germany.
“Art Amsterdam”, Flatlandgallery, Amsterdam, NL.
Flatland Galerie, Utrecht, NL.
Galerie Jan van Hoof, ʻs-Hertogenbosch, NL.
“Innocenti”, Brutto Gusto, Rotterdam, NL.
Artotek Cologne, Cologne, Germany.
Museum Keramion, Frechen, Germany.
The Wild Wood, James Freeman Gallery, London, UK
London Art Fair, UK
Primordial Soup, James Freeman Gallery, London, UK
"Sexy Ceramics, Museum het Princessenhof in Leeuwarden, NL.
"Ceramix", Bonnefantenmuseum Maastricht en Maison Rouge Parijs
"Skeletten", Museum Beelden aan Zee, Scheveningen, NL
Queensize”, Female Artists from the Olbricht Collection, Arnhems Museum, NL.
“Objectif Terre”, Chateauroux Biennale of Ceramics, curator Stéphanie Le Follic-Hadida,
“Omnia vanitas”, WCC-BF Gallery, Les Anciens Abattoirs, Mons, Belgium.
“Ceramix, Ceramic Art from Gauguin to Schütte”, Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht, NL.
Art Paris, with Flatlandgallery, Paris, France.
Art Cologne, with Gallerie Michael Haas, Cologne, Germany.
Art Basel, with Gallerie Michael Haas, Basel, Switzerland.
Art Paris, with Flatlandgallery, Paris, France.
“Queensize”, Me Collectors Room, Berlin, Germany.
“Droomkunst”, Singermuseum, Laren, NL.
“The remarkable lightness of being”, Aeroplastics Contemporary, Brussels, Belgium.
Anningahof, Zwolle, NL.
“Viewing Room”, All Visual Arts Gallery, London, UK.
“Hey, Modern art and Popculture”, Musée de la Halle Saint Pierre, Paris, France.
“Metamorphosis”, All Visual Arts Gallery, London, UK.
“Memoires de Futur”, The Olbricht Collection, Maison Rouge, Paris, France.
Art Amsterdam, with Flatlandgallery, Amsterdam, NL.
“Walk the dog”, Kunsthalle Osnabrück, Germany.
“Scope Basel” with Flatland Galerie Basel, Switzerland.
Art Rotterdam, with Flatlandgallery, Rotterdam, NL.
Art Paris, with Flatland Galerie, Paris, France.
“Kunst Körperlich, Körper Kunstlich”, Kunsthalle Osnabrück, Germany.
”European Ceramic Context 2006”, The artmuseum of Bornholm, Gudhjem, Denmark.
Art Amsterdam, with Brutto Gusto, Amsterdam, NL.
Art Forum Berlin, Galerie Michael Schultz, Berlin, Germany.
”Lʼobsession du detail”, Fondation Bernardaud, Limoges, France.
”E bella la bestia?”, Lo sprito del lago, Stresa, Isola Bella, Italy.
"Half om Half", Van Reekummuseum, Apeldoorn, NL.
"Wir sind die Ander(en)" First exhibition of the new museum Martha in Herford, Germany.
"Stormcenters", Watou, Guestcurator Jan Hoet from SMAK, Gent, Belgium.
Scholarships and prizes
Oeuvreprize City of Breda.
Scholarship, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Design and Architecture, Amsterdam, NL.
Keranovaprize for free sculpting.
1992, 1993 and 1995
Workscholarship, Found. for Contemporary Arts, Design and Architecture, Amsterdam, NL.
Grassimuseum, Leipzig, Germany.
Olbricht Collection, Germany.
Asante Collection, Switzerland.
Bouwfonds, Hoevelaken, NL.
Knoll Design Nederland, NL.
Interpolis, Tilburg, NL.
FSGroep, Hilversum, NL.
Collection Eneco Energie, Rotterdam, NL.
Collection J. Schwartz, New York, USA.
Victoria and Albert Museum, London, GB.
Badisches Landesmuseum, Karlsruhe, GER.
Scheringa Museum for Realism, Spanbroek, NL.
Museum Beelden aan Zee, Scheveningen, NL.
Fuled International Museum (FLICAM) Fuping, China.
Drents Museum, Assen, NL.
Literature and On Screen
“Lʼamour fou”, published by the artist, written by Frits Achten.
“Global Corporate Collections”, as part of the collection of FSGroep.
“Emanation”, published by Gallerie Michael Haas, Berlin, Germany.
“Hey, Modern art and Popculture”, published by Hey!, Paris, France.
“Book of sorrow”, published by Flatlandgallery, Utrecht/ Paris.
"Schoonheid en dood", Documentary made by Dagmar Brendecke and Walter Brun.
Brendecke and Brun followed Carolein Smit for 5 years and the film shows her at work and talking about her work.
We see her at various locations for exhibitions and some of her collectors tell something about the works they own.
“Kunst körperlich, Körper kunstlich” catalogue, published by Kunsthalle Osnabrück.
“Carolein Smit prikkelt, choqueert en vertedert” by Etienne Boileau in Kunst &
Antiekjournaal Collect nr 4-2008.
“ Het kippenvel van Carolein Smit” by Machteld Leij in Kunstbeeld nr 5-2008.
”Innocenti”, published by the artist, written by Frits Achten.
“Stoute vrouwen”, catalogue published by de Gasunie, Groningen, at the exhibition in the
Gasunie, Groningen, NL.
”Eneco- De Kunstcollectie/ deel 1” catalogue published by Eneco, Rotterdam, NL.
Catalogue "Stormcenters", written by Jan Hoet and Ann Demeester.
“Mammalia”, published in cooperation with Galerie Hof en Huyser, Amsterdam, written by
Catalogue “Prix de Rome Drawings”.