Juul Kraijer The Wapping Project Bankside, London

Taking over the third floor of The Wapping Project Bankside’s second Mayfair location is a new, challenging exhibition programme, initiated by Jules Wright. This autumn the series kicks off with the first UK solo exhibition by Dutch photographer, Juul Kraijer.Not only working in photography, over her twenty year career, Juul Kraijer’s meticulous, exploratory methods have yielded a body of work of over four hundred drawings, as well as sculpture and video.

She has recently shifted her practice largely from drawing to photography due to her fascination for manipulating reality, and her interest in the challenge of subverting the conventions of portraiture and working to push the conventional limitations of the genre.

Kraijer’s practice draws upon Surrealist photography, using models as vehicles for ideas rather than making traditional portraits of them. Kraijer works with figures, objects and animals to displace the model and subvert the expected hierarchies between human and animal, model and accessory.

Of her work, Kraijer explains that she is “keen to avoid any trace of personality, as that might distract from what’s going on. It’s something I aim for whether I’m working in drawing, sculpture or photography. It means that the person can become a vehicle for different ideas. This picture is not really a portrait of a person. It’s about the snake – it has become the protagonist. The girl is just a pedestal.”

In a situation that would normally arouse anxiety, Kraijer’s models preserve 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. The stark images resist any specific time or context, conveying a sense of the eternal.

Juul Kraijer

The Wapping Project Bankside , Top Floor, The Bishop’s Palace, Ely House, 37 Dover Street London W1 Running until 30 October 2014 www.thewappingprojectbankside.com

1. Untitled (2014), Pigment print on Hahnemuehle Museum Etching 25.6 x 34.3 cm, edition of 8 + 2 A.P.

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