Juul Kraijer is a Dutch artist who works primarily with drawings and photography. Her practice as a photographer draws upon Surrealist photography, using models as vehicles for ideas rather than portraits. She says: “Without being literal, I'm employing the Surrealist grammar of alienation; mirroring, fusing of disparate entities, animating an object, objectifying a human body part, or casting a dazzling web of shadows on it.” Alongside Surrealist photography, the artist is inspired by some photos of Julia Magaret Cameron, fin-de-siècle medical photography and photographic documentation of séances.
In particular, the portraits in which she incorporates snakes, barn owls and other creatures serve to displace the model and subvert the traditional hierarchies between human and animal, model and accessory. In a situation that would normally arouse anxiety, the model preserves 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. Moreover, the stark images resist any specific time or context, conveying a sense of the eternal.
Juul Kraijer works are in many important collections internationally such as the MoMA New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art KIASMA, Helsinki; Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf; Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin; Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris; Museum Moderner Kunst, Vienna; Museum of Old and New Art, Tasmania; Gemeentemuseum Den Haag; Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam; Huis Marseille Museum voor Fotografie, Amsterdam; Teylers Museum, Haarlem; Drents Museum, Assen; Stedelijk Museum Schiedam; Museum Het Domein, Sittard; Centraal Museum, Utrecht; Fries Museum, Leeuwarden; Museum Overholland, The Netherlands and in many private and company collections in Europe, the U.S.A. and India.