Miriam Kruishoop

Miriam Kruishoop

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City where you live:

Statement : 

First and foremost, I’m a story teller. I use different mediums to express my narratives. Sometimes that’s a feature film, other times a photograph or a light installation. Thematically I focus on people and their personal stories and experiences, using their narrative to amplify the conversation about the ‘invisible’ people in our society. 

In my earlier work I focused on stories that would link directly to my own personal life. Now I’m less interested in ‘me’ as a subject than I am in other people and creating a platform for them. Having lived in America for over a decade has strongly influenced my work. There is so much going on that triggers my emotion, often hugely upsetting me. Even thought this country inspires me profoundly, my work definitely takes a critical view of social, political and cultural issues, addressing the disparity and the deliberate suppression of minorities, police brutality, and racism. For a majority the American Dream is unachievable and merely a propaganda tool. Through expressing emotions, poignant, confrontational and sometimes glossy images I’m trying to amplify a feeling and dialogue that I believe is urgent today. I like to tackle timely subjects. My work conveys what deeply moves and motivates me in life. 

While I work in a variety of mediums, the process in each project is pretty much the same. The idea is often inspired by someone or a story that I came across. I decide on the form/medium in which I want to place the narrative. It’s often very intuitive if I chose to create a sculpture or a neon. For a film, video installation or photograph, I  ‘cast’ people, mixing reality with fiction. But I’d like to keep it as personal and authentic as possible and prefer working with cast who connect to the subject or are the subject. For example, working with Niaya Jones in my latest video installation LIVING IN AMERICA these two approaches came together beautifully. I wanted to create a choreography addressing what it means to be a Gen Z African American teen growing up in the projects. When I met Niaya and learned of her story we were able to organically implement these elements in to the choreography. And because she is a prolific “krumping” dancer she was able to be the performer as well.

I write, direct, photograph and edit most of my work myself. As an artist I’m definitely driven by a strong sense of idealism that if we openly address our problems we can overcome our differences and unite.

From the series God Bless America. Photography
From the series "Living in America". Light sculpture. Programmed LED lights.
From the series #IMANGRYTOO - Neon installation .
From the series "Living in America". Photography.
Sculpture. Fiberglass.

Miriam Kruishoop is a Dutch/American award-winning visual artist and filmmaker. She graduated with honors from the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam. MK won the "Citroen Award" at the Dutch Film Festival for “Best Graduation Film”, for her short DA SILVA despite the fact she was only in her 3rd year. She wrote and directed her first feature film VIVE ELLE when she was in her 4th year, on an exchange program in Paris. While still in school she won multiple awards for her short films SOMETIMES IT’S HARD TO BE A WOMAN and DA SILVA. She was nominated for a "Tiger Award" at the International Film Festival Rotterdam and multiple “Gouden Kalf” Awards at the Dutch Film Festival for her second feature UNTER DEN PALMEN, which was unprecedented. She won the "Culture Prize of the City of Amsterdam" for her visual art and was a runner up for the “National Dutch Culture Prize”. 

MK’s work, from the stylized features VIVE ELLE and UNTER DEN PALMEN, starring 70’s film icon Helmut Berger, to the politically conscious immigrant story GREENCARD WARRIORS, centers around individuals who struggle with their isolated, sometimes alienated existence. Fiction or reality, MK focuses on people and their stories, using their narrative to amplify the conversation about the 'invisible' people in our society. In her earlier work MK’s ‘stories’ evolved mainly around women addressing mental and physical abuse and isolation. Films like SOMETIMES IT’S HARD TO BE A WOMAN, VEDETTE RABIES and VIVE ELLE show a more literal interpretation of these themes featuring the interaction between men and women. While later video installations like UNBREAKABLE, DISTRESS and WALK OF SHAME feature women only, removing the male from the imagery. For example, in the multi-screen video installation UNBREAKABLE we see a woman being hit by a fist that moves in and out of frame. The beating has little effect. The woman remains composed. It reflects the long fight of women slowly but surely strengthening their position in a male dominated society. 

Having lived in the US for over a decade, MK has been strongly influenced by her surroundings and American society at large—the disparity and the deliberate suppression of minorities, police brutality, and racism. MK’s passion for exploring the cultural narratives in America spans a diverse set of creative genres. For example, in her feature film GREENCARD WARRIORS she focused on the issue of army recruitment of young undocumented Latinos. In her #ImAngryToo solo exhibition from early 2015, MK tapped into a simmering sentiment well before the #METOO movement. She also created a series of neons of curse words both in Arabic and English playing in on the growing anti Muslim sentiment. She identifies a dialogue and feeling that is prevalent and urgent today. 

In her newly created video installation LIVING IN AMERICA, MK teamed up with teenager Niaya Jones, a prominent ‘krumping’ dancer from Nickerson Gardens, Watts. Through dance, the video helps us experience what it’s like being African American in today’s America and the pain Niaya feels growing up in the projects. Like a film script MK’s works are carefully choreographed and edited. She doesn’t use any special effects or computer manipulation. 

MK works in different media, including film, video, neon, light, installation art and photography. Her work has been exhibited by Reflex Modern Art Gallery, by The Witzenhausen Gallery in New York and is currently represented by NL=US. MK has participated in numerous group shows and international art fairs and film festivals around the world. She lives and works in Los Angeles. 

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