Juul Kraijer — Ephemera

Recontemporary / Lounge

1 November — 21 December 2024

Opening 1 November, 5:00 pm


1 November 2024, 5/9 pm
Exhibition hours
from Wednesday to Saturday, 3.30/7.30 pm
Special hours for Artissima
2 and 3 November, 10am/8pm

Through a selection of mesmerizing video works by visual artist Juul Kraijer, the exhibition Ephemera invites viewers to contemplate the boundaries between reality and the ethereal, the physical and the metaphysical dimension of our lives. Drawing from mythological symbolism, Kraijer creates a kind of alternative world where human and nature are deeply connected, while exploring the liminality of existence, traversing between the tangible and the transcendent.
This exhibition project fully embodies the spirit of research and dissemination of video art that Recontemporary has promoted since its foundation. Ephemera, also thanks to its innovative setup capable of accommodating diverse works by the artist, is a research project extremely aligned with the objectives not only of our cultural association, but also of Artissima, the most important Italian contemporary art fair, during which dates the exhibition will be inaugurated.

The exhibition will be curated by Recontemporary and in partnership with Monica De Cardenas Gallery.

Exhibited art pieces

Partner info

The gallery was founded by Monica De Cardenas in Milan in 1992. From the beginning, it has collaborated with artists who have become important figures in the contemporary art scene over the years, such as German sculptor Stephan Balkenhol, English painter Chantal Joffe, English photographer Craigie Horsfield, American painter Alex Katz, Swiss artist Markus Raetz, and German photographer Thomas Struth, all represented by the gallery. Over the years, new international artists have been introduced, enriching the exhibition program, such as Benjamin Senior, Barbara Probst, and Ivan Seal. The gallery has always shown great sensitivity and interest in supporting the Italian art scene as well, representing artists such as Claudia Losi, Linda Fregni Nagler, and Rä di Martino.
More recently, collaborations have emerged with younger artists like Lupo Borgonovo and Federico Tosi.
In December 2006, with Markus Raetz’s solo exhibition (born in Bern in 1941), a new exhibition space was inaugurated in Zuoz, a Swiss village near St. Moritz, located in a fifteenth-century Engadine house. Over the years, numerous important exhibitions by both international and Italian artists have been hosted in the Zuoz location, including the first Swiss exhibition of Marisa Merz in 2012, who received the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Biennale in 2013, the significant retrospective dedicated to the work of Gianni Colombo (1937-1993) in 2015, and more recently, in the winter of 2018, a major exhibition dedicated to Fausto Melotti, during a time of great international
rediscovery of the artist.

Author biography

Kraijer was born in Assen. She studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rotterdam, graduating in 1994 with a series of large format charcoal drawings. Her principal mediums are drawing, photography and collage. She occasionally makes sculptures and video-works.

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.
Kraijer favors charcoal,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. 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.

Her work has been awarded four Dutch art prizes and has been included in major international exhibitions such as ARS 06 at the Museum of Modern Art KIASMA in Helsinki (2006), the Third Moscow Biennale of Contemporay art (2009) and the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, India (2018).