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In her work, which originates in her ever-growing archive, Ruth van Beek often uses the established visual codes of photography. The images, mainly from old books, become her tools, source material, and context. Van Beek physically intervenes in the pictures – folding, cutting, or adding pieces of painted paper – rearranging and manipulating the image long enough to reveal the universe that lies within. ‘The Oldest Thing’ features numerous collages, archival images, and paintings in a dazzling show of roughly 250 double spreads in which her mother’s cooking also plays a role. Seven poems by Van Beek’s long-time friend Basje Boer add nuance to the material.