Stress—with its positive and negative effects on the human mind, as well as its physical and chemical residues inside and outside of the human body—is a phenomenon that Kruithof has been interested in for a while. The most immediate physical stress residue is sweat. Kruithof is particularly interested in sweaty armpits, which she perceives as wet circles that equalize aesthetic scars of nervousness and universal discomfort. However, sweaty armpits are often understood as a persistent ‘enemy,’ overshadowing one’s ambitions and provoking the feeling of embarrassment.
Within her series of color photographs entitled Sweat-Stress she explores and celebrates human sweat (and stress), as well as its often disregarded aesthetic and emotional manifestations. Sweat-Stress series present the colorful outcome of a collective performance. Kruithof organized a sweat-workshop to which she invited 25 people to do an extensive work-out in the empty gallery space. Throughout the workshop, Kruithof asked the participants to stop for a moment, so that she could photograph the developing sweat on their clothes. These images of fragmented, emphasized body parts, whether they are presented individually or in form of a sculpture of morphing images, do not only present a new, humorous take on the indexical character that photography has been assigned ever since; they also question the status of the fixed photographic image.