GROUND MAGAZINE #21
PIXEL STRESS On April 18th, Anouk Kruithof and her assistants took up temporary residence on Wall Street, intent on selling a group of her photographs. While zealous security guards made it difficult at first to find a location, they eventually settled in against the scaffolding of a renovation site. In no time, the work began to attract the attention of passers-by. Framed at sizes ranging from several centimeters to a full meter and a half in height, they show Google image results for the word “stress”, albeit cropped and enlarged to the point of abstraction. The resulting compositions are illegible yet attractive, their minimalist grids and artful color arrangements strong enough to draw in harried bankers on their lunch break. It is tempting perhaps to connect the ordered matrix of the pixelated photos to the patterns of shirts and pocket scarves decorating the images of her performance. As if Brooks Brothers checks are somehow the external expression of a banker’s rigid DNA. But there is nothing in Kruithof’s work that suggests the floundering angst of the Occupy movement. There is instead what we might call a ludic spirit in her art. Confronted with something inscrutable but apparently meaningful, insofar as the images are framed, we see men in suits turning the pictures around, holding them at odd angles, pressing in close and scratching their nails across the surface. Kruithof’s hand-cutting and rearrangement of the on-site photographs suggests both in practice and composition the playful atmosphere of the day. We see a man duck behind a large photograph, looking for all the world like a child that thinks they are hidden because they’ve covered their eyes. Confounded by the images – here snipped out – he sneaks around one as if the explanation might be printed on the back.
While some prints were sold, this was not in truth the artistâ€™s ultimate goal. Rather, that her impromptu audience might enter a game that interrupted their normal routine. The project succeeds as much when the images go unbought, allowed to remain in the ludic sphere outside the realm of exchange. Where top-down regulation has failed, Kruithof has found a small way of slowing productivity by a kind of play therapy. She thereby rehumanizes her subjects â€“ both for us and themselves. Lorne Darnell
man_work_stress.jpg. That’s what drives us to heart attacks right? Ah all of them are stress-related right? I don’t know anything about art, so I can’t tell you how much this costs. I need a frame in order to judge it. Everyone could pay 100 dollar. I can’t do anything right now. Are they pastel, oil? no: Those are prints. prints oh. These are a bit sexual… So I am actually part of this project now? Yes I will hang it. I will hang it. We have to get cash from the bank and come back in 2 minutes. Do you think so? No of course not. Wow I can seriously have it? I will give it to the right person. What’s the title again? stress_frustrated.jpg
Ah I like that a lot. I am going to hang it in my office, because I am often frustrated and when I see this image it will remember me of that. Stress? Ah wow thats pretty cool. Yes I like it. No, I am in my break, I have to go. The pixelated images are not appealing to me. Well 10 dollars I would pay. Ok. So now it’s for you. No I don’t want to buy anything right now. But you get it from me. No no I don’t want it though, but it’s cool, I appreciate it but no. Well good luck. I have no time for this. I take the big one. I see a closed eye in it. Yeah, it’s the first thing I saw. I pay 500 dollar for it, but if I would have seen it in a gallery I could have paid 5000 for it. Pixelated liked zoomed in? What is the title? Stressed-man.jpg. Ah very appropriate. Is this your first artwork? Yes. It’s so cool. I want to look at the pictures and give my opinion about them , but I don’t want to have my picture taken. I don’t want to see them on facebook or any other social media platform. Ok? Yes sure. I am not skilled in this kind of thing, so I can’t judge. I need to bring him to the station and after I will come back to talk to you. No…. I can’t just take it... But you can have it. Really? Why? Are you still busy? I’ve been watching you working out here like a dog
GROUNDMAGAZINE # 21 2013 IMAGES ©ANOUK KRUITHOF TEXT @ LORNE DARNELL
Chief Editor: Mieke Woestenburg email@example.com www.groundmagazine.org