Untitled (various works) 2012 - 2014 Juul Kraijer

Courtesy of the Artist

There is scarcely any boundary between humans and animals in Juul Kraaijer’s photography. She turns conventional hierarchy on its head, with animals playing the protagonist, and humans at times mere carriers. She opts for profoundly solitary animals, such as snakes, owls and scorpions, animals with an ostensibly dark character, or alternatively animals that move together as one, as with a flock of birds, a swarm of bees or a school of fish. The human figures in her work are absorbed within this larger whole. Unlike her drawings, which portray a dreamlike or inner world, she feels that photography can bring about an extra field of tension, since photography purports to depict the real world.

Juul Kraijer brings together people and animals that would, in general, sooner avoid than reach out to each other in temporary unity. The camera enables her to ‘freeze’ these moments, so that the duality between man and beast appears to be suspended. The photo of a constrictor snake around a woman’s head brings together both beauty and deadly strength, life and death. A sublime combination of attraction and repulsion, abject and object; a present-day Medusa.