Ruth van Beek: The Oldest Thing
In Ruth van Beek’s new book The Oldest Thing it is ordinary objects that take on a body and life of their own. With a practice that is deeply interwoven into her everyday experience, van Beek looks inwards at how her vast archive works. In doing so, she explores the thin borders between studio and domestic life, the repetition of daily tasks and the origins of her interests in manuals and household books, tracing them all the way back to her mother’s influence.
In the artist’s hands, images of banal objects become “moving matter,” undergoing a process of deconstruction through which strange and ambiguous forms are uncovered and teased into focus. In the constellations of images on view, a visual rhyme of ovals emerges, paying tribute to the recurring tasks of the everyday while also revealing an enigmatic world that exists beyond it. The book features numerous collages, archival images, and paintings in a dazzling show of roughly 250 double spreads. Between these images you will find Seven poems by Van Beek’s long-time friend Basje Boer.