Juul Kraijer

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Juul Kraijer (born 31 October 1970, Assen)[1] is a Dutch visual artist whose principal mediums are drawing and photography. She occasionally makes sculptures and video-works.[1]

Kraijer studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rotterdam, graduating in 1994 with a series of large format charcoal drawings.[2]

In the drawings Kraijer's subject is always female, naked and depersonalized, an archetype or personage rather than a particular individual.[3] 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.

Kraijer favors charcoal,[4] and only rarely works in colour. The size of her drawings is determined by the image, which is always depicted more or less life-size.[2]

Since 2011 Kraijer has created 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.[5][6]

Kraijer's works share an emblemata-like concision, showing no more than what is strictly necessary.[7] 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.[8] 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.[9] The images elude traditional iconography. Kraijer creates naturalistic images that are memorably strange.[10]

Solo exhibitions (selection)[edit]

  • 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[11] 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)
  • Galerie Les Filles du Calvaire, Paris (2019)


  • Charlotte Köhler Prijs (1998)[12]
  • Pendrecht Cultuurprijs (2000)[13]
  • Philip Morris Kunstprijs (2004)[13]
  • Thérèse van Duyl-Schwartze Portretprijs (2009)[14]
  • nominated for Prix Guerlain du Dessin Contemporain (2018)
  • Lensculture Portrait Awards - Single Image 3rd Place (2018)
  • Lensculture Black&White Awards - Series 3rd Place (2018)

Works in public collections (selection)[edit]


  1. ^ a b Juul Kraijer at the RKD
  2. ^ a b Baar, V. and Sütö, W. (2009) Juul Kraijer. Rotterdam: FREEM.
  3. ^ Alphen, E. van and Malbert, R. (2015) Juul Kraijer : werken 2009-2015. Zwolle: WBOOKS.
  4. ^ Abraham, T. (January 19, 2009). "Comfortably sharing art space". The Hindu.
  5. ^ Andreasson, K. (August 14, 2014). "Juul Kraijer's best photograph: a model with a python squeezing her head". The Guardian.
  6. ^ Padley, G. (September 17, 2014). "Wapping Project Bankside re-opens in Mayfair". British Journal of Photography.
  7. ^ Casper, J. (2014). "Penumbrae, Modern Dutch Surreal Photography". Lensculture.
  8. ^ Kraijer, J. (1998) The Hydra. Rotterdam.
  9. ^ Malbert, R. (2015) Drawing People. The Human figure in Contemporary Art. London: Thames&Hudson.
  10. ^ Koplos, J. (April 1998) Juul Kraijer. Art in America.
  11. ^ Madesani, A. (October 2007). "Juul Kraijer". Artforum.
  12. ^ http://www.cultuurfonds.nl/uploads/files/downloads/Winnaars%20Charlotte%20K%C3%B6hler%20Prijs.pdf
  13. ^ a b "Voor Juul Kraijer is tekenen bijna een verslaving aan het worden". Trouw (in Dutch).
  14. ^ "Juul Kraijer". CBKR - Rotterdamse Kunstenaars.

External links[edit]