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Jean Ruiter Photoworks
by Adriaan Monshouwer

Travel, construct and photograph, these are the three elements that shape Jean Ruiter's life and work as a photographer.Since 1984 Ruiter primarily works thematic, producing series of photoworks on specific issues. Travelling is simply a necessity for Jean Ruiter. It is the fuel for his creativity. His deep interest in other cultures forms the basis for most of his work. In his series he analyses and comments the 'signs of times', the social and cultural changes that affect the way we live and think.

Jean has restlessly traveled the world. His interest in foreign cultures has brought him to a variety of exotic and often remote places. On site, he creates the images that he had been carrying around in his head. His photographs are - in a sense - purely documentary: recording reality as it occurs in front of his camera. Only, this time, the photographer himself has first created reality.

The visual language of Ruiter is the metaphor, the association and (black) humor.Jean Ruiter often literally builds the images that he photographs (see: Cathedrals in the Desert, 1994). On other occasions he uses existing imagery, figures or object and takes them from their original context and adds signs or symbols to create a new reality.

In 1986-87 Jean visited Japan for the first time. The visit resulted in an impressive series of photoworks, demonstrating a remarkable insight into the Japanese culture.

In Japan II (1993) Ruiter expresses his fascination for the traditionalvalues and the adaptive qualities of the Japanese culture. Jean Ruiter: "These are the sketches of a lonely traveler, who is confused by all the contradictions". To cope with the confusion and to visually survive, Ruiter construed these images.

Cathedrals in the Desert (1994) is a dialogue between the old (Europe) and the new world (Unites States of America). In the untouched landscape of the Californian desert Ruiter built the facades of European cathedrals using huge meat steaks or Heinz ketchup vouchers.

Opera stands for drama and suffering. Staged in New York, Urban Opera (1992) is a series of monumental 3D photoworks that include light, sound and video.The theme: the immigrants and their personal stories.

Known for his visual constructions and collages in color, the Nudes of Hattonville (1998), may come as a surprise. On first sight these black and white nudes - portrayed in a classical manner - seem somewhat out of place.Until one realizes that in this particular project we are actually travelling through a house and its history; through a personal, private culture. Objects found in these premises are used to dress the nudes and create new, contemporary symbolic representations.

Dante revisited (1999) is based upon Dante's famous Divina Commedia, written in the beginning of the 14th century. In the original story Dante himself travels through the world then known. Through hell, climbing the mountain of purification and finally arriving in paradise, where Dante meets the love of his youth, Beatrice. Jean recreates Dante's story in six images. Hell, mountain and paradise are construed from the visuals found in the dozens of artbooks that he carried from Amsterdam. These details of Western art, pasted together, create the backdrop for his muse and model, Hatsue. She enacts both Dante and Beatrice, both Jean and herself.

April 2000

The Photoworks of Jean Ruiter by Jonathan Green, Previous Director UCR/California Museum of Photography
Jean Ruiter Photoworks by Drs. Dorothé Kurvers
Introduction by Cees Straus
Jean Ruiter Photoworks by Adriaan Monshouwer, consultant on Photography
The works of Jean Ruiter by Edward W. Earle, Curator, Collections, International Center of Photography, New York
The works of Jean Ruiter by Robbert Roos (Dutch)
Het is een luxe om altijd te kunnen reizen by Nell Westerlaken (Dutch)
Imaginary Journeys Appendix by Jean Ruiter, Jonathan Green, Adriaan Monshauer and drs.Mirjam Westbroek
The Imaginary Journeys by Jean Ruiter
The Emotional Mathematics by Jean Ruiter
Chaos and Order by Jörg Zimmermann, Germany
It is tricky to understand but "ce n´est pas une pipe" by Jörg Zimmermann
The Tokyo Blind Paths by Jean Ruiter
Single Works 2000-2001, Desperate SuicideTeen by Dorothé Kurvers
The New American Landscapes by Jeroen Hendriks
Pollymer Constructions by Jean Ruiter
The Kyoto Zen Gardens by drs. Marcel Feil, curator at Foam, fotografiemuseum Amsterdam
Newspaper Series by Jean Ruiter
Walking the silent Path by Jean Ruiter
Dante Revisited by Drs. Josien in ‘t Hof (in Dutch)
Minds of Consciousness by drs. Marcel Feil, curator at Foam, fotografiemuseum Amsterdam (in Dutch)
The Nudes of Hattonville by Dorothé Kurvers
Jean Ruiter: A Multifaceted Explorer by Merel Ligtelijn (Dutch)
The Transparent Truth by Cees Straus
Visual Ersatz (Charcoals) by A.D. Coleman, Photography critic, New York
Jean Ruiter's "Corpus Constructed" by A. D. Coleman, Photography critic, New York
Cathedrals in the Desert by Edward Earle, Curator, Collections, International Center of Photography, New York
Cathedrals in the Desert by Jonathan Green, Previous Director UCR/California Museum of Photography
Urban Opera by Cees Straus (in Dutch)
Maya and Aztecs by Dr. Reinhold Miszelbeck
Terra Cultura by Robert Lunsingh Scheurleer
Jean Ruiter PhotoWorks Japan by Herman Hoeneveld