Gerco de Ruijter – Visions of Earth

Gerco de Ruijter lives and works in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. He captures a hawk eye’s view of the landscape with his camera secured to a kite. Gerco documents the landscape by abstracting the land as formed by volcanoes, winds, water and human intervention from 150 to 300 ft above the earth. At Pioneer Bluffs, work is exhibited that was selected from many trips to the American Southwest and Midwest. These detailed and beautiful landscapes, devoid of horizon, are carefully selected and installed in a grid which further abstracts the viewer’s perspective.

De Ruijter’s photography and the landscape have been called the perfect match. “The arrangements are Mondrian-esque… What makes the photos so exciting is their perpetual tumble from figurative to abstract and vice versa… The images are transformed completely by the most minimal changes of perspectives… Gerco’s photos unveil the landscape as an abstraction and make it look like the wildly applied colorful streaks of paint and mud of Art Brut… Yet at the same time there may be enough figurative elements for the observer never to forget the photographer’s model, which is just a few hundred yards square.”

Gerco’s body of work is dominated by the so organized Dutch landscapes. But he took his kite and cameras to such extreme landscapes as the (well-organized) rice paddies of Java, Indonesia, and Iceland’s rocks and flats (rough and untouched by man) as well. By taking his kite to carry his camera to the low and the high desert of New Mexico, California’s Death Valley, and the plains and prairie in Kansas, he once more laid himself open to all the risks that are inherent in empty space offering little or nothing to hold on to. But “that doesn’t mean these vast landscapes have no ‘Gestalt’ at all… A new tension takes over from the tumble between figurative and abstract… Nothing explains what is detail, what is large scale… Doubt accompanies the observer—is he looking at a macro shot of a fossil or a shot of the moon as seen from Earth?”

The images are again almost fully abstract, but in the pin-point sharp images enough real landscape can be detected to confuse the observer. They demand to look even closer and wonder what is the measure of things. “Nothing is for certain in these photographs. Just as great art should be.

(Quotes from ‘Oversized’ by Peter Delpeut, filmmaker, author.)