FOUR A.M. presents AHEAD (Version I), a new project by Anouk Kruithof, on view from July 23rd through August 5th. This presentation will be the first site-specific installation of an ongoing accumulation of the AHEAD portraits.
Kruithof began this project by questioning how to create an anonymous portrait, where the subject remains private. By capturing the back of the head, one cannot see gender, nationality, age or someone’s facial expression and emotion. Removing all of these features, so often included in indexes within the tradition of portrait photography, unifies all of the portraits. It’s important to Kruithof that facial recognition systems are unable to identify or verify a person’s identity from these photos.
Anonymity is central in this project and AHEAD shows a sort of failure in human encyclopedic tendencies by means of anti-labeling and anti-classification. For this installation, the artist processed the images by their color values, which enforces the mixture of the different people depicted, having an opposite effect than, for example, organizing and archiving by date and location.
At this moment, Kruithof is developing a website where an algorithm will scan and order the photos by their color values through automated reasoning. This website welcomes participants to upload their AHEAD portraits, so that the collection and list of subjects grows indefinitely. Thus making the project less and less about the author, morphing all participants together and contributing invaluably to future versions of AHEAD.
When looking at the whole installation of 304 heads as presented at FOUR A.M., the entire work appears as if made up of individual dots, like pixels making up an image. Each photograph is taken on the artist’s iPhone, the subject chooses their background color, as they would when taking a selfie. Facing the background instead of posing in front of it. Kruithof arranges these photos in a grid, the way digital photographs are organized in our devices (think of Instagram), a now common way we view archives of images.
Anouk Kruithof was born in 1981 in the Netherlands and is based in New York. Her work explores and questions the philosophy and physicality of photography as a medium. Her multi-layered, interdisciplinary approach takes the form of photographs, installations, artist-books, texts, sculptures, ephemera and performances.
Forthcoming projects in 2015: Subconscious Travelling will be included in MoMA’s New Photography exhibition Ocean of Images this fall; Sweaty Sculptures, a solo exhibition at Green is Gold during KopenHagen Art Week this summer; #Evidence, a new project will be on view concurrently at Gallery BoetzelaerINispen and UNSEEN photo fair in Amsterdam in September; and her tenth artist-book AUTOMAGIC will be co-published with the Spanish art-book publisher Editorial RM, at the end of this year.
Her work has been exhibited internationally at institutions such as: The Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; MBAL Switzerland; The Xiangning Art Museum, Shenzhen China; The Center for Photography at Woodstock; Multimedia Art Museum in Moskow, Erarta Museum, St. Petersburg; Culture and Arts Center, Daegu Korea; Capitain-Petzel Gallery, Berlin: KIT (Kunst Im Tunnel) Düsseldorf; Temporare Kunsthalle, Berlin, Autocenter Berlin; ICP, New York; Capricious Gallery, New York, Higher Pictures Gallery, New York, Museum het Domein Sittard, the Netherlands; FOAM Amsterdam; The Netherlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam; MARCA museum Catanzaro, Italy; MAMAC (museum for modern and contemporary art) Liege, Belgium; among others.
In 2014, Kruithof received the Charlotte Köhler Prize in the Netherlands. She has also received the Infinity Award from the International Center for Photography in New York in 2012 and the Jury Grand Prize in Photography at the Hyères Festival in 2011.
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. Kruithof’s artist-books are part of the public collections of the New York Museum of Modern Art Library, ICP Library, New York Public Library, Pier 24 Library and the library of The Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.
Kruitof was recently invited to participate in the ‘Larry Sultan visiting artist program’ organized by CCA, Pier 24, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. She was a visiting artist at VCU Richmond, MASSART Boston and Hartford Photography MFA. She was a part of ‘art in context’ at Art Institute of Boston / Lesley University. She has lectured at TATE Modern in London and at Deichtorhallen in Hamburg.
Anouk has written for Metropolis M magazine, Aperture Photobook Review and blogs such as 1000 Words magazine, Wanderingbears, PhotoEye and Photoq.
In the summer of 2014 she started her publishing platform called stresspress.biz, where she shares her love for artist-book making, writing about photo and artist-books by others and publishing, both collaborations with others as well as her own artist-books. She has published nine artist books so far, including: The Bungalow published by Onomatopee Eindhoven; Untitled (I’ve taken too many photos / I’ve never taken a photo) self-published (stresspress.biz); Pixel-stress published by RVB-books Paris; A head with wings, published by LBM Saint Paul, USA; Lang zal ze leven / Happy birthday to you, self-published; The daily exhaustion, published by KODOJI-press Baden, Switzerland; Playing Borders, this contemporary state of mind, published by Revolver publishing by VVV, Berlin; Becoming Blue published by Revolver publishing by VVV, Het Zwarte gat; The black hole published by Episode Publishers, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
Kruithof is also co-creator, director and jury member of the new Anamorphosis Prize, which will award $10,000, no strings attached, to the creator of the best self-published photo-book from the previous year. The prize was launched for the first time in spring 2015.