Portraiture is one of the most fundamental, ancient, and commonly known art forms worldwide. It represents the centrality of the human form to society’s understanding of the world around it. Some rudimentary forms of portraiture can be seen in cave drawings found throughout the world from the dawn of humankind. Ancient Egyptians hoped to use portraiture to immortalize their visages for the sake of their progeny and their spiritual afterlives. These lineages between portraiture, conceptions of our world, immortality, and grandiosity continued well into the Middle Ages and beyond. Until very recently, portraits remained an enterprise of the rich and powerful, who were exclusively able to patronise the artists that would paint them. With the start of industrial modernization, and consequent inception of photography, the scope of portraiture as a medium expanded to represent any subject. The ubiquity of the form reached such pervasiveness that nearly every person living in the 21st century has multiple photos of themselves and their loved ones. In the developed world, people now have a collection of curated depictions of themselves that they share with the general public;an idea that, although technologically unfathomable some mere 150 years ago, rings true with the whole purpose of commissioned portraiture of the ages.
Drastic evolutions in the usage of portraiture necessitated a larger change in the way people perceived it as an art form. Alice de Kruijs is an example of a modern-day portraiture master, pushing boundaries to expand our view of what portraiture can do. From documenting ancient ceremonial and artistic traditions in Burkina Faso, to celebrating young women living with Albinism, de Krujis works with an emphasis on the fullness of organic narrative. Each piece stands firmly and alone in its respective significance; however together within each series, her works paint a full, striking portrait, one which breathes life into an occasionally stagnant art form. Alice allows her subjects to speak for themselves, letting them inform her work to such a degree that each portrait takes on a life and aesthetic of its own. As a result, not only are Alice’s pieces all recognizable for her distinctive style, but are easily associated with one the subject thanks to her pointed sense of series aesthetics and the visual cues they provide. For this exhibition, The CAMP Gallery has compiled a selection of Alice's work that speaks to her emotional intelligence, which she demonstrates through her stylistic choices, the richness of the stories she chooses to tell, and the level of aesthetic she maintains.
Black & White Project 11Edition 10 in 30 × 40 cm, 50 × 70 cm, 80 × 100 cm
In the Black and White Project, Alice explores the polarity of light and darkness from its most extreme forms. An example of such extremity is her choice of models, like Xueli, a Chinese Albinism activist.
Spiritual Dancers of Burkina Faso 4Edition of 10 in 40 × 30 cm, 70 × 50 cm, 100 × 80 cm
In Spiritual Dancers of Burkina Faso, Alice brings to life a culture that is completely distinct from her own. She explored local ceremonies dedicated to wishing for a prosperous harvest, healthy animals, and blessings for the community, and passed away ancestors. Despite the widespread practice of both Islam and Christianity, these ceremonies that have root in pre-Abrahamic religiosity have persisted as a staple in Burkinabe culture.
Family MattersAlice adapts to the limitations of Covid 19 to explore within herself, her family, and the legacy of those that came before her. The resulting series Family Members, a love letter to her grandmother, and a timeline of the life she led, now 100 years after
Paradise Island 15Edition of 10 in 40 × 30 cm, 70 × 50 cm, 100 × 80 cm
Paradise Island is a series made to warn of the impending demise of numerous Polynesian nations as a result of global warming. As sea levels rise, the ancestral lands and homes of these vastly diverse cultures are being fully inundated, threatening both their ability to live their lives as they have for innumerable years and their very own identities.
Planet of the AfarAlice travels to a remote area of eastern Ethiopia in Planet of the Afar to meet the Afar tribe, an ethnic group which has maintained its traditional way of life and survived for generations in some of the toughest, most inhospitable climates on Earth.
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Melanie Prapopulos, Director of The CAMP Gallery
Mario Rodriguez, Show Curator and Staff Member