by Monica Westin
Anouk Kruithof’s first solo exhibition in the United States comprises a tongue-in-cheek body of work, ranging from photographic tableaux to blobby, photo-sculptural hybrids that complicate the relationship between form, content, and representation. When photography can be altered—to present “alternative facts,” for instance—the photograph’s ability to serve as proof becomes deeply problematic. Kruithof expands and exploits this now-perennial trope by turning the evidential weakness of images into a spatial, material problem.
One of the artist’s tactics is to use an accumulation of screenshots, usually of commercial images, as source material. When displayed on a two-dimensional surface in a search-results-like grid, as in Carry On (all works 2015), a montage of pictures of cutout silhouettes of guns, the studies appear to be mere formal explorations of patterns. Their content is literally absent. But when they’re amassed three-dimensionally for semiorganic sculptural forms, as in Sorry No Definitions Found . . . and Another Universe, the way in which images circulate as both materials and representations is performed gently but trenchantly: the irregular and vague shapes of these sculptures make them appear spectral and oddly insubstantial.
The series “Neutral (Sculpture),” featuring delicate, blurred-to-abstraction photographs printed onto materials such as latex, PVC, and vinyl that hang on metal armatures, emphasizes the fragility of pictures that seem to be stable when seen on flat, digital displays. Neutral (Restless) Sculpture—a precarious upright figure made of pipe insulation and a largely hidden folded photographic print on PVC curtain—seems to be waiting to unfold, umbrella-like, into a triumphant display. Meanwhile, Green Is More than Just a Color . . ., a set of images printed on Plexiglas and emblazoned across a PVC curtain, appears to be nothing more than a customized shower curtain—just one more unsteady screen through which our own worldview is mediated.