The Daily Exhaustion (2010) is a book of photographs featuring a young woman, the artist, looking thoroughly spent, wearing alternating colours that match each of the backdrops that she stands in front of – fizzy yellows, bright pinks or purples. In each image she glistens with perspiration as she photographs herself over and over again. Increasing the sense of discomfort, her image, which always stretches across a double-page spread, is bisected through the centre of her face by the folds in the newsprint on which the images are printed. It’s a pile of effort, a spectrum of exhaustion, recorded and ready to take away.
Winner of last year’s Hyères photography festival prize, Anouk Kruithof makes very social work. She engages with various human experiences, her own included, measured in relation to specific processes of production and dissemination. Best known for her genre-defying publications (they stood out a mile alongside the various formulaic and self-published efforts at the recent rash of photobook fairs), she is in fact a multidisciplinary artist making work in film, text and installation alongside her photographic, enquiry-based projects. Her outlook is generous and warm while remaining vigorous and critical. It could make you laugh and it could provoke deep melancholy, often simultaneously. There is plenty of room for negotiation. Central to her work is motivating the viewer to engage: lazy looking goes unrewarded. She is far from complacent and rewards participation accordingly.
In other works we find ritualised choreography in an abandoned office block – various components in varying type and scale, the lifesize shadow of a dartboard – arranged in a secret dialogue. Another project sees the artist transforming a wall of books into a collapsing, colourful wave by arranging the books according to the colours of their pages. In the artist’s work the strange and the ordinary swap coats and walk arm-in-arm, waiting to be unfolded, turned over, reassembled.
This article originally appeared in the March 2012 issue.