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In the drawings Kraijer’s subject is always female, naked and depersonalized, an archetype or personage rather than a particular individual. The model is sometimes multiplied: facing herself, head to head, or appearing as Siamese twins or triplets. In most works the human body is combined with other creatures or natural phenomena: surrounded by schools of little fish or swarms of moths, fused with branches or parts of animals or displaying mountainscapes on the skin.
Since 2011 Kraijer has produced a lot of photographs. These are also mostly black and white and thematically closely related to her drawings. She often works with the same model, who poses with objects or animals, most notably snakes.
Kraijer's works share an emblemata-like concision, showing no more than what is strictly necessary. In each image, the figure looms out of an undefined background. Definition of time is absent as well. No hairstyles or dress belonging to any specific period are shown, no hint of a narrative is present. The postures and facial expressions are deliberately restrained and intensely concentrated. They seem to have been adopted for eternity. Faces and bodies are a vehicle for meaning rather than portrayals of individuals. The impassive visage, in a state of half-sleep, seems to exist at an interface between self-awareness and self-extinction. The images elude traditional iconography. Kraijer creates naturalistic images that are memorably strange.
Solo exhibitions (selection)
- Stedelijk Museum Schiedam (1998)
- Stedelijk Museum Het Domein, Sittard (1998)
- Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (2001)
- Cobra Museum voor Moderne Kunst Amstelveen (2004 and 2009)
- Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, The Hague (2006)
- Galleria Monica De Cardenas, Milan / Zuoz (2004, 2007 and 2014)
- Kewenig Galerie, Cologne (2008)
- Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi (2010)
- The Wapping Project/Bankside, London (2014)
- Kunsthalle Giessen, Giessen (2014)
- Drents Museum and CBK Drenthe, Assen (2015)
- Vadehra Contemporary, New Delhi (2016)
- Huis Marseille Museum for Photography, Amsterdam (2017)
- Charlotte Köhler Prijs (1998)
- Pendrecht Cultuurprijs (2000)
- Philip Morris Kunstprijs (2004)
- Thérèse van Duyl-Schwartze Portretprijs (2009)
Works in public collections (selection)
- Museum of Modern Art, New York City;
- Museum of Old and New Art, Tasmania;
- Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Helsinki;
- Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf;
- Kupferstichkabinett Berlin;
- Museum Moderner Kunst Vienna;
- Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris;
- Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam;
- Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, The Hague;
- Drents Museum, Assen;
- Huis Marseille Museum voor Fotografie, Amsterdam;
- Stedelijk Museum Schiedam;
- Stedelijk Museum Het Domein, Sittard;
- Teylers Museum, Haarlem;
- Fries Museum, Leeuwarden;
- Juul Kraijer at the RKD
- Baar, V. and Sütö, W. (2009) Juul Kraijer. Rotterdam: FREEM.
- Alphen, E. van and Malbert, R. (2015) Juul Kraijer : werken 2009-2015. Zwolle: WBOOKS.
- Abraham, T. (January 19, 2009). "Comfortably sharing art space". The Hindu.
- Andreasson, K. (August 14, 2014). "Juul Kraijer's best photograph: a model with a python squeezing her head". The Guardian.
- Padley, G. (September 17, 2014). "Wapping Project Bankside re-opens in Mayfair". British Journal of Photography.
- Casper, J. (2014). "Penumbrae, Modern Dutch Surreal Photography". Lensculture.
- Kraijer, J. (1998) The Hydra. Rotterdam.
- Malbert, R. (2015) Drawing People. The Human figure in Contemporary Art. London: Thames&Hudson.
- Koplos, J. (April 1998) Juul Kraijer. Art in America.
- Madesani, A. (October 2007). "Juul Kraijer". Artforum.
- "Voor Juul Kraijer is tekenen bijna een verslaving aan het worden". Trouw (in Dutch).
- "Juul Kraijer". CBKR - Rotterdamse Kunstenaars.