Rik Smits is a Dutch artist who works with several media. His large pencil drawings depict cities and landscapes sceneries, sometimes with a realistic attitude and other times with touches of surrealism or a narrative theme.
Smits’ interests deal with the relation between religion and capitalism and the cities become the materialization of capitalism, communicating its values in a religious manner. The images selected here focus, each time, on a building, a street or an arid landscape. Often, lighted aphorisms are present, which remind Jenny Holzer’s Truisms.
The author’s words:
My work deals with the relation between religion and capitalism, which is depicted in a scenery of architectural landscapes/cityscapes. These landscapes show the contours
of an imaginary city. A city which breathes the human ambition towards power and status. Its large scale buildings reminds us of the industrial utopia’s which prevailed in the human mind, but failed to shine or provide peace and humanity in the real world.The most prominent facet of this city is perhaps its appearance, from which one can easily read that the main ideology of its inhabitants is Capitalism. But this ideology is beginning to manifest itself in a religious manner, and will maybe even become a religion itself.
And in a way that it will be seen as a redeemer. The city shows the self-confidence of a utopia but also the emptiness of a deserted ruin. The over towering Art Deco skyscrapers stand proud like medieval cathedrals, their decoration reminds us of the rich symbolism of the early Christian art, with all its references to spiritual suppression and revelation. The skyscrapers cast their shadow over desolate and damaged monuments which represent the lost moral standards and values of humanity, which have been exchanged for the never-ending spiritual search for capitalist redemption, which provides us with the luxury and convenience of modern day life.Rik Smits
All images © Rik Smits