COLLABORATION 03

Ruth van Beek #2

A Mirror that Reveals
the Face

Visual communication that conveys the world view of D.W.M. through the work of various artists. The third series of artist collaborations was undertaken by Dutch artist Ruth van Beek. Ruth, who creates collage works using old photographs, daily collects and stocks a huge array of clippings from magazines and specialist books. This time, she created artwork based on the theme of skin for D.W.M. The various photographs and books collected by Ruth are arranged in the form of a collage in an atelier’s space and Ruth responded to this interview with great curiosity.

I am always looking for such details and features that
I can use to animate my collage figures.

What do you think is the potential of collage in terms of expression?

Ruth: I want to breathe life into something that is stationary. I collect photographs from the 1950s and 1960s, but since the photographs are printed on photographic paper, the surface changes chemically across the decades. In other words, although it is a still image, the surface transforms like a living thing. Collage work also takes what is in the picture out of its original context. Suppose images of a rabbit and a white porcelain jar are published in separate magazines or books. When placed together in a collage, the viewer may discover some new relevance in what were originally a completely unrelated animal and piece of porcelain.

That’s an interesting perspective on collage. I believe that the philosophy behind D.W.M. is similar to the fact that different things may be connected at the root when they are broken down into their basic elements. Where do you get the inspiration for making such collages?

Ruth: Dolls are always a great source of inspiration. It is strange that people since childhood have been attracted to dolls that cannot make even the slightest movements. Is it because the cheeks of the doll are often coloured and make them resemble living creatures? Either way, I’ve long been interested in the existence of such dolls.

What is the essence of beauty for you, Ruth?

Ruth: That’s a very elusive and difficult question. Is it maybe something pure that can’t be deceived? What I am conscious of when making a work is to expose the structure. I want to show things in good faith without over decorating or cheating. Of course, there remain many mysteries about what is reflected in my work, but the structure itself is always clear. When you look at a person, you will be drawn to the true nature of that person, such as the skeleton, veins and facial muscles rather than a face that has been covered with makeup. That may be beauty, I feel.

What kind of impression do you have of Japan?

Ruth: I have only visited Japan once, but I was surprised to see people’s ingenuity seemed very natural there. I saw it on the subway where as a measure against rain leaks, there was a pipe running down the wall from the ceiling into a PET bottle placed on the floor. I felt an aesthetic sense that reached the realm of art. No one would think of that in the Netherlands (laughs).

Cleansing Liquid with Modification <Cleansing Liquid>
140mL

Face Wash with Modification <Face Wash>
140mL

Emulsion with Modification <Emulsion>
140mL

Toner with Modification <Toner>
120mL

Essence with Modification <Essence>
50mL

“mirrors / dolls” ©Ruth van Beek

Ruth van Beek

Ruth van Beek (b. 1977) is an artist based in the northern town of Koog aan de Zaan (The Netherlands). She uses the established visual codes of photography. Her work originates from her ever-growing archive. The images, mainly taken from old books are her tools, source material and give her work its context. Van Beek physically intervenes in the pictures by folding and cutting them, or adding pieces of painted paper, she rearranges and manipulates the image in a way that reveals the hidden universe that lies within. Van Beek is represented by The Ravestijn Gallery in Amsterdam.

INTERVIEWER: KANAE HASEGAWA
PHOTOGRAPHER: KOEN HAUSER