The Contemporary Art Modern Project is pleased to present La Montée de l'Océan, an exhibition featuring works by Dutch artist Alice de Kruijs. In light of the environmental degradation felt throughout the world, Alice has embarked on a journey of the human cost of rising water levels. View this show to better understand how this journey represents a departure from her usual artistic process.
A dreadful rumbling is heard, a menacing, guttural rumbling like the onset of an earthquake. Then comes a disjointed angular sound as a thin vein runs along the ground. A large chunk of ice cracks from the rest of the land, descending into the ocean.
Nearly all of us have seen such a scene in a nature documentary about the melting ice caps. What we do not often see is the truly fearsome aftermath of these crackling, massive ice structures plummeting into the ocean in real time. Rising water levels are not only a concern because of the environmental implications, but because of the unimaginable human consequences that we will face in just a matter of years. As our sea levels ascend progressively, even in cases where such ascension seems negligible, millions of human beings will lose their livelihoods, their nations, and their homes. Where will they go? What will they do? How will the rest of the world respond to the mass refugeehood of men, women and children who had the misfortune of being born in the wrong place at the wrong time?
Alice de Kruijs has, in a sense, recently departed from her usual treatment of subject matter in her work. At one point in time, it seemed that de Kruijs’s series would treat a people, a visual concept, and an underlying message; the three, in essence, were one in the sense that they were so intrinsically related to one another that there was no way to know where any one element ended and the other commenced. At the end of the series she would progress to the next, wholly different series.
De Kruijs’s departure lies in her consistency with a singular concept: the consequences of flooding in particularly vulnerable areas. Her home country of The Netherlands is a prime example, with about a third of its lands beneath sea level and its highly coastal populations. see her own expression of her concern for her homeland in When the Sea Rises. Henceforth, she continues to look at similar communities, such as the native communities of small Oceanic communities in the Pacific (Paraside Island), and the women in rural communities throughout Bangladesh (The Waters of Bangladesh). With each coming series, this underlying theme of the human cost of flooding is reapplied. However, an exciting element to unveil is how de Kruijs’s idea of concept and image are mixed together in these cases. These series all feature exclusively women, some sporting swimming gear and what seems to be ocean waste, coupled by photographs of the terrain itself. Yes, these are certainly different series that tackle similar topics, but for the first time, de Kruijs’s body of work series is linked through various visual motifs.