The sculptures render the portrayed individual as anonymous, with a wink to post human emotionality, and the work raises questions about the integrity of online profiling and privacy violation in the name of surveillance and safety.
Face, eye or breast gel masks hint at objects made to relax, comfort, support or heal; while our identities are reduced to a material reference to our way of coping with malfunction and degradation. These portrait-like sculptures could be seen as new identities in which the usual partitions between nature and culture, human and machine, reality and fiction, come undone. Alternative reality arises in Anouk Kruithof’s sculptures, which act as emotional laboratories. At the same time, the physicality of such images and materials is of a particular ambiguous quality that suspends all attempts at rational understanding. The works function as an alarming and seductive visualization of how the incessant flow and consumption of digital images gradually alienates us from our physical reality.
This text contains excerpts by Hinde Haest, Lea Vene and Ingrid Luquet Gad.
The reality depicted on our screens consists largely of processed and constructed images that have lost their integrity. Their purpose is not to represent reality, but to mold our perceptions towards the interests of the institutions circulating the images. Over the past few years, Anouk Kruithof collected Instagram images related to issues like privacy, government surveillance, pollution and climate change, in order to investigate the online representation of urgent societal themes. After extracting these existing images from the digital sphere, she subjected them to critical scrutiny by translating them into her own three-dimensional visual idiom. Her new series of sculptures: Swiped Circumstances also shows that the constructed image rarely corresponds with reality.
Kruithof used numerous images of confiscated weapons photographed together with the identity cards of the weapon owners, which she found on the Instagram account of the American Transport Security Administration (TSA). The Social Media Guru of the TSA blurs these identity cards before posting the photographs on their Instagram. Kruithof enlarged these blurred identity cards in order to print them on transparent natural latex. She wrinkled, folded and pressed the prints into transparent acrylic boxes that resemble the plasticized character of the original identity cards.