FOUR A.M. is pleased to present 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. So far, she has collected 1080 AHEAD photos. This website welcomes participants to upload their own 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.
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-bookAUTOMAGIC will be co-published with the Spanish art-book publisher Editorial RM, at the end of this year.