Method for the Everyday

Text on Ruth van Beek’s work 
Published in Yet Magazine 12

The work of Ruth van Beek (1977, Netherlands) teases the viewer gently. She presents us with rigorous catalogues of indiscernible photographs, often arranged in books. Colourful painting and collage conceal old pictures, occasionally letting a plant’s leaf escape from underneath.

Ruth has a strong affection for images displayed in manuals that circulated before the 80’s. Conversing with her, it became evident that this link relates back to her childhood memories. Her mother went to study House Economics to learn ‘methods’ for everyday tasks. She died while Ruth was a young adult, and what her mother hadn't taught her, she learnt through these handbooks. The materials she uses are rooted in this intimate story.

The original photographs represent elements of middle-class domesticity: pets, plants, fruits and vegetables. By physically manipulating, hiding, replacing and re-contextualising...