What do a tube of paint and a box of concrete separators have in common? Concrete separators and Chinese soupspoons? Soupspoons and coffee cups? Coffee cups and plastic bath mats? Bath mats and deep-frying sieves? Sieves and clay? Clay and paint?
They are all materials that an artist can use to create the illusion of life. Or better said: they are the materials that Tanja Smeets uses for sculptures that seem to grow and appear to move. All except paint, which she stopped using when she left art school in Arnhem.
She prefers to paint with materials that already have the right colour and to create texture by combing individual 'dabs' (spoons, cups etc.) in such a way that they form a new entity. Her canvas is often an ordinary or even unsightly piece of reality: the stairwell in an office building, the edge of a new housing development, the wall of a recycling centre.
- Els Hoek in Domestic Strangers, published 2013 (translation: Gerard Forde)
Uncontrollable growth processes
Tanja Smeets chooses her materials on the basis of colour, structure and shape. She connects or groups these materials into large organic structures that seem to be the result of a natural growth process: they infiltrate the environment in which they find themselves and suggest they have always been there. The tension that arises between this matter-of-fact presence on the one hand and the imminent danger of a growing organism on the other, is important in the work of Tanja Smeets.