Carolein Smit - Exhibition L'amour fou

The GRASSI Museum of Applied Arts Leipzig presents more than 30 large individual sculptures from the work of ceramics artist Carolein Smit (1960) from 2 June until 30 September 2018. The works of the Dutch artist include mythical creatures, legendary beings, fairy tale characters, skeletons and reliquaries, as well as religious motives, vanity themes and subjects such as love, death, pain, suffering, lust, violence and darkness. Her work is highly detailed. The surfaces are richly decorated to the point of appearing overladen at times.


As in an Amour fou, an apparently unreasonable and yet extremely passionate and

addictive love, Carolein Smit brings together opposites in her ceramic sculptures. Where

does innocence turn into guilt, where does life become death? Where is the passage?

Where is the turning point? The Dutchwoman, who now lives in Belgium, focuses on

these questions. Her mysterious figurations appear just as precious and seductive as

they seem dangerous, fragile and painful. At the same time, they seem filled by a

subtle humor. They are current, but their alter egos are rooted in a world of chambers

of wonder, devotional cabinets and the mythically-fantastic branches of art history.


One special feature of the exhibition is the relief of the dance of death, created

specifically for Leipzig. It is a large wall installation. Delicate white ceramic figures are

placed against the backdrop of a night-blue sky, forming the central eye-catcher in the

exhibition room. The individual sculptures are placed free-standing in the room -

matching the theme. Most of the works presented come from her 2010s period.


"Carolein Smit. L’amour fou" is part of an exhibition trilogy of the artist in London (GB),

Leipzig (D) and Assen (NL). The Victoria & Albert Museum London will show works by Carolein

Smit from 20 March to 30 September 2018, The Leipzig GRASSI Museum of Applied Art from

2 June to 30 September 2018, the Drents Museum Assen from 3 November 2018 to 3 March

2019. The illustrated book about the artist, "Carolein Smit Works" in three languages, is

available to support all three exhibitions. (WBooks, 376 pages)

Pieces borrowed from the artist and the gallery Michael Haas Berlin enrich our own small

collection based on a gift from Rotterdam collector Rosemarie Willems. The documentary

completed in 2010 "Schoonheid en Dood" ("Beauty and Death") by Dagmar Brendecke and

Walter Brun will run in the exhibition.


It provides a view behind the scenes and shows scenes from Carolein Smit's studio and the

development of her elaborately designed figures.

Specifically for the GRASSI presentation, author Kathrin Jira, who lives and works in Leipzig,

accepted the task of approaching individual works of the exhibition in literary texts. Her short

stories are available for the visitors as flyers (German/English).

From a museum-pedagogic aspect, the exhibits are flanked by a miniature stage "The spirits

that I called". It invites to responding to the great relief of the dance of death by Carolein

Smit and to create figurative scenes.


Exhibition: 02 June 2018 – 30 September 2018

GRASSI Museum of Applied Arts
 Johannisplatz 5 – 11
 D-04103 Leipzig




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