Juul Kraijer’s practice draws upon Surrealist photography, using models as vehicles for ideas rather than portraits: „Without being literal, I'm employing the Surrealist grammar of alienation; mirroring, fusing of disparate entities, animating an object, objectifying a human body part, or casting a dazzling web of shadows on it.“ (Juul Kraijer)
Alongside Surrealist photography, the artist is inspired by some photos of Julia Magaret Cameron, fin-de-siècle medical photography and photographic documentation of séances.
In particular, the portraits in which she incorporates snakes, barnowls and other creatures serve to displace the model and subvert the traditional hierarchies between human and animal, model and accessory. The artist hired animal trainers, because their animals are specially trained to stay relaxed during photo shoots and the model was extremely courageous.
In a situation that would normally arouse anxiety, the model preserves a stillness and grace reminiscent of Renaissance portraiture, further evoking a sense of an otherworldly, dream-like space through real encounters that border on the surreal. Moreover, the stark images resist any specific time or context, conveying a sense of the eternal.
Visual artist Juul Kraijer was born in the Netherlands in 1970. Alongside photography, on which she focused for the past two years, Kraijer favours drawing as one of her principle mediums.