Edwin Smet, Issue 10
Issue 10’s cover is courtesy of Edwin Smet, a painter, poet, and designer from Nijmegen, in the Netherlands. The detail is from a larger painting titled “Finding Everland” (acrylic on canvas, 2010).
Smet has worked as an independent (typo)graphic designer since 1997. He’s published two books of own poems and images, Pessoa loopt door de straten van New York (Pessoa Walks the Streets of New York, 2005) and Een Landschap (A Landscape, 2008). A third is on its way: Proust had een baard op zijn sterfbed (Proust Had a Beard on His Deathbed). Over the last nine years he has focused more and more on painting and designing books. A book of paintings was published in 2015 titled A Repetition of Something Useless That Might Be Considered Beautiful.
Over the last seven years Smet has worked on an extensive series of paintings and artistic experiments. He has always been interested in nature as a theme, and whether human beings can produce anything significant in comparison to that impressive achievement. Nature, over the millennia, has produced miracles like trees, ants, rocks—even ourselves. Smet asks, what have we achieved, and what can an individual human being accomplish in a short lifetime?
For a long time he focused on the tendency of man to demolish and degrade natural landscapes and habitats, but his attention has shifted to the overall influence man has on the densely inhabited and intensely used world. A landscape completely altered by humans that features clutter, and destruction, but also wonderful buildings and solutions that may allow humans to exist in harmony with nature—with the underlying thought that humans are a guest of nature, and it is she who has the final say.
Masking tape, which Smet uses in abundance in his works—a mass produced material often regarded as virtually useless—is used as a building block. Like molecules, tiny particles or bricks, this tape, in bits and pieces, is repeatedly stacked until something is created that can be seen as its own version of landscape, something formed by time and quiet attention. The buildup of tape—something comprised of artificial materials—represents a nod to actual landscape.