Foam presents the first major solo museum exhibition, ¡Aguas!, by Anouk Kruithof (1981, Dordrecht) as part of the exhibition series Next Level. The work of Kruithof is a refreshingly original contribution to contemporary photography. Approaching the medium from a great variety of angles, her works are equally versatile, ranging from photo collages to video animations, installations, sculptures, publications, performances and public interventions. Common premise is a fascination for the online representation of societal issues. Kruithof subjects these to critical scrutiny by extracting existing imagery from the digital sphere, and translating the photographs into her own three-dimensional visual idiom.
Foam commissioned Kruithof to create an entirely new body of work consisting of (photo) sculptures, a video projection and an animation. The works explore the complex relationship of man to nature in a post-internet era. Kruithof printed images of environmental disasters on latex and rubber anti-slip mats and draped these over sculptures made up of artificial appendages of the human body, such as walking frames, crutches and prostheses. She also combined vividly colored photographs of oil spills and toxic waste with structures made from oxygen masks and anesthetic masks. These unusual carriers refer to the technological accomplishments of the human race, while simultaneously expressing the artificiality, numbness and ultimate disregard that may be the consequence.
Through her abstract works, Kruithof reminds us of how disastrous realities are aestheticized and shared unthinkingly on the internet. A video compilation of amateur recordings of melting and collapsing glaciers functions as a metaphor for a collective degradation. The falling ice originally found its way online in the form of sensationalist posts; sequenced by Kruithof they form a confrontational and relentless indictment. By incorporating such images into a both colorful and apocalyptic installation, Kruithof wittily queries the culture of the spectacle and our digitally mediated relationship to the physical environment.
Kruithof’s hybrid sculptures are a seductive representation of an uncomfortable reality in which man finds itself increasingly trapped in a state of chaos and decay. The exhibition title ¡Aguas! refers both to the element of water that largely makes up the world and the human body, and to a commonly used Latin American warning cry: ‘¡Aguas!’ also means ‘Watch out! Beware!’ The exhibition constitutes an alarming visualisation of how the incessant flow and consumption of digital images gradually alienates us from the physical reality that surrounds us.