The famous altarpiece The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb (1432) of Jan and Hubert van Eyck, has become a framework for Maria Smits’ installation The Adoration of the Mystic Dog. Through much research and exploratory drawings, she has gradually developed her own interpretation of the work. Smits’ work is full of polarities: rawness and vulnerability; contemporary and classical visual references and meanings; poignancy and repugnance. The word dog is literally the reverse of the word God. It is the opposite and at the same time, the same. Like the two sides of a coin, the light side and the shadow side, the day and the night. Her work represents both sides, typically in black and white.
In The Adoration of the Mystic Dog, Smits questions the importance of the role of the Christian religion in our current culture, questioning the hierarchy of men and god, questioning the meaning of worshipping and thinking. The twelve panels of the altarpiece, with the Adam and Eve figure on both sides, functions as the work’s centerpiece. Portions of the figurative narrative are left in addition to deform much of the content into abstracted black and white forms. In this move from the figurative to the abstract, a universe evolves. Central in the gallery the “Mystic dog“ sculpture, built from Polystyrene, foam rubber, and plastic binders will be exposed in the space between the four pillars.