Casemore Kirkeby is pleased to present Anouk Kruithof #EVIDENCE, the first solo exhibition in the United States for the Dutch artist, whose multilayered, interdisciplinary approach encompasses photography, sculpture, installation, artist-books, text, performance, and interventions in the public domain.
In the past several years, Kruithof has emerged as a fresh voice in contemporary photography. Moving seamlessly between cell phone photos, screenshots ripped from the Internet and vernacular and conventional photographs as her source material, Kruithof’s work embraces the sheer proliferation of image-making tools and the variety of platforms through which images circulate and make meaning. By conflating and confusing contexts and messages with her idiosyncratic visual language and unorthodox use of materials, Kruithof attempts to map states of mind in a post-internet society, manifesting invisible relationships in physical form and inviting new connections and meanings to arise.
With #EVIDENCE, Kruithof takes inspiration from Larry Sultan and Mike Mandel’s groundbreaking book Evidence—a longtime touchstone for the artist’s bookmaking practice. Published in 1977 and composed of images that Mandel and Sultan mined from industrial, scientific and government archives, Evidence is hailed as one of the first works of conceptual photography to demonstrate that the meaning of the photograph is conditioned by the context and the sequence in which it is seen. The book’s sequencing, devoid of any titles or captions, eludes to America’s hopeful and ambiguous technological future during the postwar era, and a progress both propelled and hindered by the needs and limitations of the body.
Upon moving to New York City, Kruithof developed a similar curiosity about America’s ambiguous future, and researched whether a similar act could be performed in the digital age, when photographs often lack the integrity to be viewed as pure evidence. Instead of mining archives, Kruithof researched the complete Instagram output of 27 corporations, 15 government agencies and 11 institutions—images with clear promotional intent and thus questionable veracity. This lead to a selection of 650 screenshots that became her source material. From there, she twisted, altered, stretched and combined the material, claiming the imagery as her own and robbing it of its promotional intent, adding new, varying intentions and messages. In a fashion quite similar to Mandel and Sultan, a new merit arose, this time a less concrete, less stable and less transparent one.
The body, and the disembodied experience of viewing through a variety of screens, figures heavily in Kruithof’s project as well. In her “neutrals” sculptures, Kruithof’s images anthropomorphize and reanimate in three dimensions, becoming at turns threatening, mischievous and playful. Stretched until unrecognizable and printed on flexible transparent plastics and latex that resemble skins, the images drape off metal structures whose limb-like armatures balance, lean and collapse against the floor and gallery walls. In several framed photographs, Kruithof uses techniques of repetition and erasure, cutting and repurposing imagery to create new shapes and patterns. Sinister iconography is repeated until it becomes camouflaged—hidden in plain sight, and innocuous “everyday” photographs are corrupted by Kruithof’s re-contextualization. In her series of 28 screenshot montages, the Instagram-realities of the various institutions are recombined to form a new story of human endeavor. Like Mandel and Sultan’s project, Kruithof’s #EVIDENCE strikes a chord that is both dystopic and open-ended, collapsing the structures that tell us when and how to look, and with what intention.
Anouk Kruithof (Dordrecht, the Netherlands, 1981) is a Dutch artist who lives and works in Mexico City. Her work has been exhibited internationally at institutions such as The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; the International Center of Photography, New York; The He-Xiangning Art Museum, Shenzhen, China; the Multimedia Art Museum in Moscow; FOAM Amsterdam; the Museo Marca, Catanzaro, Italy; MAMAC (Museum for Modern and Contemporary Art) Liege, Belgium; among others. Her work is in public collections including FOAM, Amsterdam; The Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland; Aperture Foundation, New York; and Museum Het Domein Sittard, the Netherlands.
Kruithof’s installation Subconscious Traveling was included in Ocean of Images: New Photography 2015 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Kruithof is a recipient of the Meijburg Art Commission (2015) and the Charlotte Köhler Prize (2014). She has also received the Infinity Award from the International Center for Photography in New York (2012) and the Jury Grand Prize at Hyères, Festival International de Mode et de Photographie (2011).
Kruithof’s publications include Neutral (2016), The Bungalow (2014); Untitled (I’ve taken too many photos / I’ve never taken a photo) (2014); Pixel-stress (2013); A Head with Wings (2011); Lang Zal Ze Leven / Happy Birthday to You (2011); The Daily Exhaustion (2010); Playing Borders (This Contemporary State of Mind (2009); Becoming Blue (2009); and The Black Hole (2006). Kruithof runs stresspress.biz, a publishing platform that includes her book projects and critical writing about artists’ books. Kruithof’s eleventh artist-book AUTOMAGIC was co-published with the Spanish art-book publisher Editorial RM in late 2016.
Kruithof is also co-creator and director of the new Anamorphosis Prize, which awards $10,000, no strings attached, to the creator of the best self-published photobook of the previous year. The prize was launched for the first time in spring 2015.