Carolein Smit’s ceramic sculptures reference mythology, religious iconography, and art history to explore the contradictory themes of beauty and mortality. Her practice reimagines archetypes such as medusas, fawns, madonnas with infants, ancient kings with treasure troves, and enchanted forest animals, and presents them with theatrical overtones to lend them a 21st century sensibility. Her ceramics are exquisitely detailed and jewel-like in their finish, as a means of making her challenging subject matter more alluring. In doing so, Smit continues Western art’s long history of addressing grand themes through precious objects: her works are a continuation of the tradition of the memento mori, updated for a contemporary mindset.
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.