Juul Kraijer embarked on her studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rotterdam in 1989. She initially specialised in illustration, switching to painting later on; drawing was not yet a separate branch of study at the time. Kraijer found working in oil on canvas a real struggle. She did not encounter the same kind of resistance when making sketches for the paintings, with charcoal on paper. But it was not until the fourth year of her course, when she first had a studio she could call her own, that she realised that these preliminary studies were in fact the finished work. From then on, everything fell into place, and it was if a ‘plug had been pulled from a reservoir’, as she puts it. In 1994 she graduated, in consultation with the Academy, on the strength of her drawings.
The female figures with their disconcerting animal or human mutations, rendered in charcoal or crayon, emerge from a protracted, intense process of searching and polishing. For the past few years, they have also been brought to life in figures made of clay and bronze, in photographs and even in short films. In all these materials and techniques, the characters appear both familiar and anomalous at the same time.
Text: Véronique Baar
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