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Rineke Dijkstra

"I am a native foreigner" (group show)
Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
22 September 2017 - 2 June 2018

The Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam is mounting a series of exhibitions in 2017 and 2018 that explore different aspects of the theme migration. “I Am a Native Foreigner” examines migration by focusing on the museum’s collection: what are artists' views on migration, and how do they visualise it in their work? This collection presentation considers the effects of migration on artists both past and present, and reveals how they dealt with, and depicted, the impact of displacement. The title “I Am a Native Foreigner” is taken from a statement made by the Mexican artist Ulises Carrión (1941-1989), who settled in Amsterdam in the 1970s.

The work in “I Am a Native Foreigner” ranges from photographs of Dutch immigrants disembarking at New York’s Ellis Island around 1900, and Surinamese-born Dutch who made their home in the Bijlmer in Amsterdam southeast in the late ‘70s, to more recent images of refugees off the coast of southern Spain.

Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam


Additional:

Rineke Dijkstra

Rineke Dijkstra (solo show)
De Pont Museum, Tilburg
10 March - 22 July 2018

Rineke Dijkstra, Vondelpark, Amsterdam, June 19, 2005 © Rineke Dijkstra
Rineke Dijkstra, Vondelpark, Amsterdam, June 19, 2005 © Rineke Dijkstra

Since the Beach Portraits that brought Rineke Dijkstra (Sittard, 1959) international fame during the 1990s, the general number of photographic images surrounding us has grown explosively. Not only via mass media, but digitally as well, we’re bombarded with photographs, selfies and videos of friends and others every day. How does the work of Rineke Dijkstra distinguish itself from this endless flow of photographic portraits? What makes her photographs and videos so unusual?

The prelude to her Beach Portraits was a self-portrait, a kind of selfie in which she appears in a bathing suit. In 1991 Dijkstra needed to recover from a serious cycling accident. As means of experimenting, she photographed herself after having swum thirty laps, visibly too tired to pose. The photograph is taken with a 4x5-inch technical camera on a tripod, which rules out quick exposures. This time-consuming process has determined her way of working from that point on: first the aperture must be set, then the cassette goes in, and only after that is the photograph taken. The negatives are as large as a postcard and crystal-clear. Dijkstra uses a standard lens, without a zoom option, which makes it necessary to photograph even close-ups from a close proximity. ‘A number of ingredients are needed in order to produce a good portrait. It all revolves around the gaze, the posture, but also the background, the light and the story that you want to tell. Sometimes all of those elements come together beautifully, like a puzzle. Then they heighten each other,’ Dijkstra explains in an interview in NRC Handelsblad on being granted the Hasselblad Award, a prestigious photography prize, in October 2017.

Dijkstra prefers to work in series, which allow the differences and similarities among the portrait subjects and their cultural backgrounds to emerge in a subtle manner. In the beach photographs, American youths seem to have more self-confidence than their Eastern European contemporaries – their bathing gear heightens this impression. But in the sensitive transitional phase between childhood and adulthood, all of them do exude the same lack of certainty.

In the series Young Mothers and Bullfighters, too, conflicting emotions struggle for predominance. Full-length portraits of the mothers, in the nude, were taken shortly after they had given birth; all three are protectively cradling their newborn babies against their bodies. The photographs make the exhaustion, excitement and pride visible in a raw and unfiltered way. Similar emotions can be seen in the portraits of Portuguese bullfighters who still have blood on their faces and shirts. Contrary to the Spanish tradition, the bull is not killed, but the men force the animal to its knees in a joint show of strength. One of them is the first to throw himself onto the bull, literally looking straight into the eyes of death. It was these men whom Dijkstra asked to pose for her.

In all of these portraits, be they full-length or close-up views, the background is plain: beach, sea and sky, a bare interior or a neutral color. The background does not compete with the isolated figure. But standing out in this are certain details, such as the trickle of blood along the leg of a mother, or the footprints around the American girl wearing make-up and an orange bikini; for the latter it clearly took some effort to find the right pose.

Dijkstra creates the conditions and plays with the light, which appears to be natural and yet has a slightly different appearance. She chooses her figures carefully. As a photographer, you need to connect with the person, she says. And in turn, the portrait subject needs to open up to you: ‘A photograph like this is produced together. That’s what the viewer sees: an encounter between the photographer and her subject.’ And chance plays a significant role in this: ‘In a good portrait, there is always an element of chance, something you could not have anticipated. I like that impromptu quality. The pose shouldn’t look too contrived.’

The sharply focused photographs give the viewer a sense of being face to face with the portrait subjects. At the same time, the serial character of the work also makes the subjects lose a certain degree of individuality. As a viewer, one mainly identifies with the universal human feelings (e.g. shyness, a lack of ease) displayed by them.

While studying at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam, Dijkstra photographed nightlife in Paradiso and on graduating was commissioned to produce portraits for the business magazine Quote. Men in suits were meant to come across as being self-confident, not wanting any loss of face. But who, Dijkstra wondered, was actually behind that mask? What makes that person different from all others? This question became a mainspring for her uncommissioned work, but also with the assignments that she accepted. Take, for instance, the portrait of the Australian film actress Cate Blanchett. She’s wearing a lace dress and has a fairly fragile appearance. But is this real, or is she playing a role? Such questions interest Dijkstra. Despite the faithfully rendered appearance of the photograph, the portrait subject ultimately remains unfathomable and elusive.

Among children that question seems to play a lesser role, one might say, since they are still uninhibited. Look at the moving video of Ruth, an English schoolgirl who sits on the floor intently drawing a copy of a painting by Picasso. But with children, too, that question remains evident: who is hiding behind a mask, and who is showing his or her true face? This dilemma is subtly conveyed in the video of Marianna, a ten-year-old Russian ballerina who practices her dance steps in a pink studio. The cloyingly sweet surroundings and the spirited music stand in stark contrast to the stern voice of a teacher who is giving instructions off screen. With each new attempt to execute the steps perfectly, Marianna smiles as she has been conditioned to do, but gradually a certain fatigue and defiance nonetheless begin to emerge.

De Pont Museum, Tilburg


Rineke Dijkstra

The Beauty of Lines. Masterpieces from the Sondra Gilman and Celso Gonzalez-Falla collection (group show)
Musée de l'Elysée, Lausanne
31 January - 6 May 2018

The exhibition presents a selection of masterpieces from the history of photography, part of the collection of Sondra Gilman and Celso Gonzalez-Falla. Based in New York, it includes over 1500 original prints by some of the greatest photographers of the 20th and 21st centuries. Through visual confrontations, the visitor is invited to experience the power of the photographic line through these sublime works. The photographs by Bérénice Abbott, Eugène Atget, Robert Adams, Walker Evans, Vik Muniz, Man Ray and Lee Friedlander, among others, thus resonate, beyond their historical temporality and geographic considerations, by their formal correspondences.

Throughout history, photographers have always oscillated between two extremes: the mimetic illusion of reality and the enhancement of the esthetic qualities of the image. Whether it be “instantaneous lines”, according to the expression of Henri Cartier-Bresson, rational lines inspired from New Topographics, or the diversity of the curved lines of the human body, the line structures and sometimes reinvents the real – to the point of abstraction.

In the case of photography, spectators, even the most discriminating, often first observe the world that they are presented with. They scrutinize the face or the landscape, they marvel at the details, the fashionable clothes, the expressions on the children’s faces. In other words, they can forget that they are actually looking at a piece of paper, as flat as a page in a book or a drawing. Fascinated by the mimetic illusion, they might not even see the lines – straight, curved, oblique – that actually form the basis of the photographic composition.

Musée de l'Elysée, Lausanne



Ai Weiwei, Rineke Dijkstra, Thomas Struth et al.

Stage of Being (group show)
Museum Voorlinden, Wassenaar
9 December 2017 - 13 May 2018

Who are we? Where do we come from? What are we doing here? Where are we going?

We live in a world of progress: we know more and are capable of more, we live longer than ever before; maybe one day we will even achieve immortality. At the same time, we humans struggle with feelings of emptiness, loneliness and fear. Once, religion and ideology provided guidance and assuaged our doubts. Nowadays, we rely on self-help books, doctors, philosophers and coaches – but above all, on ourselves.

Artists in particular dare to face down the fundamental questions of existence. In fact: the very essence of art might be found in diffusing that existential, human fear. Art can hold up a mirror to mankind. This mirror is sometimes quite direct, raw and confrontational. And sometimes indirect, enshrouded in layers of meaning.

Museum Voorlinden, Wassenaar


Rineke Dijkstra, Jeff Koons et al.

MoMA at NGV (group show)
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
9 June – 7 October 2018

The National Gallery of Victoria, in partnership with The Museum of Modern Art, New York, will present MoMA at NGV as the Melbourne Winter Masterpieces exhibition in 2018. MoMA at NGV will provide a unique survey of the Museum’s iconic collection. Consisting of approximately 200 key works, arranged chronologically into eight thematic sections, the exhibition will trace the development of art and design from late-nineteenth-century urban and industrial transformation, through to the digital and global present.

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is a renowned institution dedicated to championing innovative modern and contemporary art. The Museum opened in Manhattan in 1929, with the vision to become ‘the greatest modern art museum in the world’. This is reflected in its interdisciplinary collection of almost 200,000 works by over 10,000 artists, shared between six curatorial departments: Architecture and Design, Drawings and Prints, Film, Media and Performance Art, Painting and Sculpture, and Photography.

National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne


Rineke Dijkstra

Figures: SPECTRUM International Prize for Photography 2018 (solo show)
Sprengel Museum, Hanover
27 January - 6 May 2018

Rineke Dijkstra, Amy, Liverpool, England, December 23, 2008, 2008 © Rineke Dijkstra
Rineke Dijkstra, Amy, Liverpool, England, December 23, 2008, 2008 © Rineke Dijkstra

With Rineke Dijkstra (born 1959 in Sittard, The Netherlands, lives in Amsterdam), the Foundation of Lower Saxony honours one of today’s outstanding photographers. In its compelling formal as well as contentual logic, in the profundity of the photographic occupation with the classic portrait, Dijkstra’s work assumes a solitary position in the recent history of photography. The artist received the prestigious Hasselblad Award in October 2017 and her œuvre is on view in conjunction with a retrospective organised by the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk (DK). Dijkstra has been the subject of numerous international exhibitions, for example at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, and Tate Liverpool.

For her exhibition at the Sprengel Museum Hannover, the artist has developed a format based on a dialogue between a selection of her works with art from the museum’s own collection. The confrontation of photographs from the early 1990s (for example the ‘Beach Portraits’) and recent pieces with paintings by Max Beckmann and Alexej von Jawlensky in addition to a number of modern sculptures reveal an innovative view of the Dutch artist’s specific visual language. The portraits chosen by Dijkstra for her presentation at the Sprengel Museum Hannover clearly show the extent to which her sitters are conscious of the act of being photographed. It is the tension between the ideal of relaxed self-presentation and the tense pose in the photographs, the exhibitionism and the objectification of an attitude made conscious through the optics of the camera that becomes the complex image of an individual.

Rineke Dijkstra views photography as a possibility of dealing with fundamental questions of human existence. In the process, photography represents a means of observation and cognition. Her meticulous outlook with an interest in details that can be relived in her images created with large-format or video camera reveals the constant variability of human existence.

The awarding of the »SPECTRUM« International Prize for Photography of the Foundation of Lower Saxony pays tribute to the style-forming power of her oeuvre and the artistic consequence with which Rineke Dijkstra continues the occupation with the photographic portrait in her filmic works.

Sprengel Museum, Hanover


Rineke Dijkstra, Rebecca Warren et al.

Für Barbara, curated by Leo Koenig (group show)
Hall Art Foundation I Schloss Derneburg, Derneburg
1 July 2017 - 31 March 2018

Rineke Dijkstra, Hel, Poland, August 12, 1998 © Rineke Dijkstra
Rineke Dijkstra, Hel, Poland, August 12, 1998 © Rineke Dijkstra

The Hall Art Foundation is pleased to announce a group exhibition, Für Barbara, to be held at its Schloss Derneburg location in honor of recently deceased gallerist Barbara Weiss. A lifelong advocate for women in the arts, Weiss was also a friend of the Hall's and inspired the inclusion of many works by female artists in the Hall and Hall Art Foundation collections. The exhibition, curated by Leo Koenig, includes over 90 paintings, sculptures, photographs, installations, works on paper and videos by an international and multi-generational roster of female artists dating from the 1950s to 2017.

''In and beyond her gallery, Barbara advocated for women of all generations and in all positions in the arts. Her calm resolve and unruffled tenacity never overshadowed the self-determination of her artists, or eclipsed the autonomy of their work. With this exhibition, we celebrate a woman who subtly challenged the status quo by introducing ideas that would have been deemed revolutionary were they presented by any other person. The radical was an everyday occurrence with Barbara, because she presented it as fundamental.''
- Leo Koenig

Hall Art Foundation


Rineke Dijkstra

Art Lesson (group show)
Museo Thyssen Bornemisza, Madrid
7 November 2017 - 18 February 2018

Rineke Dijkstra, Ruth Drawing Picasso, Tate Liverpool, UK, 2009, 2009. © Rineke Dijkstra
Rineke Dijkstra, Ruth Drawing Picasso, Tate Liverpool, UK, 2009, 2009. © Rineke Dijkstra

The museum will be completing the exhibition programme organised to mark its 25th Anniversary by inviting visitors to reflect on the educational role of museums in society today through an innovative project curated by the Education Department. Art Lesson will consist of various activities that will take place during the time the exhibition is open to the public and will occupy different spaces in the museum. The project has been conceived as an organic entity which will take shape over time and will make the museum particularly dynamic while it is taking place.

An exhibition featuring the work of contemporary artists such as Antoni Muntadas, Cinthia Marcelle, Dennis Adams, Eva Kot’átková, Dora Garcia, Pavel Kogan, Erwin Wurm, Rineke Djikstra and Pipilotti Rist will look at the issues of where knowledge lies and the museum as a personal experience, aiming to transform the spectator’s experience and place within the museum. For the first time, the museum will also become a space for creation through three artist’s residence grants that will allow the recipients to work alongside the Education Department team during both the preparatory stage and the exhibition itself. This initiative aims to establish links between cutting-edge artistic creation and the museum and between its works and the activities of its educators.

Museo Thyssen Bornemisza, Madrid


Rineke Dijkstra

Collection Centre Pompidou (group show)
Centre Pompidou, Malaga, from 28 March 2015 - ongoing

Rineke Dijkstra, I See a Woman Crying ( Weeping Woman ), 2009
Rineke Dijkstra, I See a Woman Crying ( Weeping Woman ), 2009

The world famous gallery Centre Pompidou is coming to Malaga. Without doubt the Pompidou art center in Paris is one of the greatest homes of twentieth century art. In line with the arresting appearance of the Pompidou in Paris the Malaga collection will be housed in the large glass cube, built with a cultural purpose in mind and which is situated at the corner which joins Muelle Uno and Muelle Dos of Malaga’s newly renovated port. The new Malaga Pop-Up museum will house a fine selection of its French mother. The museum that is at time of writing under full construction is expected to open on March 28th, just before the touristic season takes off.


Centre Pompidou, Malaga