Scarlett Hooft Graafland (Netherlands)
Born in the Netherlands in 1973, Hooft Graafland is currently based in Amsterdam. She has studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, The Hague, Bezalel Academy, Jerusalem and Parsons School of Design, New York and has travelled to Iceland, Israel, Canada and the United States for her work. Her work has been exhibited in solo exhibitions all over Europe and as part of group shows at the Metropolitan Museum, New York, and the Musée D'Orsay, Paris amongst others.
Inhabiting the border between straight photography, performance and sculpture, Hooft Graafland's photographs are records of her highly choreographed live performances in the salt deserts of Bolivia, the Canadian and Finnish Arctic, and rural China. Fascinated by the surreal beauty of the harsh natural landscape she utilises this as her canvas. Anthropologically curious, her ideas emerge directly from the local mythology that originates in this otherworldly environment.
Using naïve and childlike colour palettes her photographs draw on the language of the surreal, showing familiar objects out of context (a llama wearing balloons, top hats flying through the desert and a pair of naked legs entwined around a cactus). Her humorous and unsettling juxtaposition of these everyday objects with the sparse, unforgiving landscape echoes the aesthetic of surrealists such as René Magritte. Hooft Graafland utilizes the medium of photography, associated with the representation of truth, to illustrate the fantastic and the irrational. The clean simplicity of her finished works offer no indication of the difficulties in accessing and working in such inhospitable terrains. Highly dependant on the collaboration of the local people, her journeys are indebted to the assistance of the local people and artists with which she works.