Ruth van Beek lives and works in Koog aan de Zaan, The Netherlands. She graduated in 2002 at Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam receiving a Masters in Photography. In 2008 she had a solo exhibition at Foam-3h, the Amsterdam Photography museum. In 2009 she did research at the Spaarnestad Photoarchives, resulting in new work and a solo exhibition at Galerie37 Spaarnestad in Harlem, this exhibition was also shown at the Use me Abuse me show at the New York Photofestival, curated by Erik Kessels. She has had solo exhibitions at the Okay Mountain, Austin, Texas and Suze May Sho in Arnhem, both in 2010. Last spring she had two exhibitions in the Netherlands: Taste My Photons at Noorderlicht Photogallery in Groningen and together with Koen Hauser’s work at the Galerie 37 Spaarnestad, Haarlem. Her work regularly appears in various books and magazines.
What did get you into art?
I started painting class when I was 8 years old, I loved to draw flowers and vegetables and weird funny monsters. Never stopped doing this.
How would you describe your work to someone who doesn’t know you?
Since years I have been collecting photographs from everywhere. Newspaper clippings, amateur family pictures, images from old books and internet. I put them together in an ever growing archive. The archive is chaotic and fluent. Subjects range from family life, landscapes, archeological findings, animals, accidents, natural disasters, spectacular findings, flower arranging and handicraft instructions. Many of my works investigate the difference between around the home activities and the unknown distant world. I use this contrast sometimes literally and sometimes more subtile to create and show the hidden reality within the images. A world of dreams and nightmares, weirdness, futilities and beautiful coincidences.
What if you end up being uninspired? Any tip or trick?
It doesn’t happen.
Why did you choose collage as your favorite for of expression? What expressive needs does it fulfill?
The need to cut open the picture and by doing this transforming it and make it my own.
What was your best exhibition experience? Why?
Building my show at Okay Mountain in Austin Texas. First solo show where I could experiment with showing my work with a more installation-wise approach.
Who are your favorite artists?
Hans Peter Feldmann, John Baldessari, Bas Jan Ader.
Could you please explain us the poetics behind the Hibernators series?
The hibernators are a species of animals I made from pictures of small common pets. Cats, guinea pigs, rabbits and dogs. The kind you find in many homes and that are beloved and pampered by their owners. I try to make the animals on the photo’s alive again by cutting and folding in the paper. Instead of releasing them I restrain them again in a new shape. This way I turn them into creatures that are silent like stones, but are also showing a tension. The moment before awaking. They want to move, they have tasted freedom!
How much business and how much creativity your day-by-day life?
30% business and 70% creativity.
Who is the woman you’d like to see featured/ interviewed here?
Suzemaysho, they are 3 women working together on exhibitions and projects. They have come up with the Probe. “A space designed as a test lab for radical exhibition concepts. The space – open to public only online – measures a somewhat six cubic meters. Its dimensions are flexible: walls can be extended, doors can be removed, a floor made of glass, mirrors or wood. Probe enables artists to investigate their smaller works and sketches. To cover the entire space with wallpaper is only a matter of printing enough A4’s. Paintings as large as an entire wall, floor paintings achieved in a day, pot plants to represent a jungle, anything is possible in Probe.”