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Rineke Dijkstra

Night Watching (film installation)
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
5 September - 3 December 2019

Rineke Dijkstra, Night Watching, 2019, (film stills) © Rineke Dijkstra
Rineke Dijkstra, Night Watching, 2019, (film stills) © Rineke Dijkstra

Night Watching is Rineke Dijkstra's new film installation, on show in the Rijksmuseum's Gallery of Honour from 5 September. Presented as a triptyche, the film shows 14 groups of people looking at Rembrandt's The Night Watch and responding to it in their own way – the painting itself never appears. Dijkstra shot Night Watching in the Rijksmuseum's Gallery of Honour over the course of six evenings, her subjects positioned directly in front of The Night Watch to offer them the most powerful possible experience of the painting.

Rineke Dijkstra: The subtly layered film gradually impresses upon the viewer that it is impossible ever to fully know an artwork – even one as famous as The Night Watch – and that it is always worth sharpening our gaze, wheter on a world-famous painting, on people taking part in a contemporary film, or on those we encounter in everyday life.

The Night Watch and me
Night Watching sees Dijkstra continue on a course she set with her classic 2009 film / See a Woman Crying, which shows a group of English schoolchildren viewing a painting by Picasso. Night Watching goes further, however: filming 14 groups rather than one means that as well as focusing on the rich subject matter of The Night Watch Dijkstra has been able to create individual portraits of each group and reveal their hierarchies and relationships within them. A group of Dutch schoolgirls discuss whether Rembrandt really did give the only girl in the painting the face of his wife Saskia; staff from Japanese Chamber of Commerce see the painting's potential for tourism ('Night Watch cakes!'); and young artists discuss what it must be like to make such an incomparable masterpiece – does the artist actually have any control over such matters?

Rembrandt and Rineke Dijkstra
Dijkstra's film subtly echoes Rembrandtesque mechanisms to reinforce the connection between art and life: the school pencil pointing outwards like Van Ruytenburch's lance; the small red-haired woman who appears among a group of engineering students in dark clothing – and proceeds to explain to them how paintings are made.

Rineke Dijkstra
Since the early 1990s, Rineke Dijkstra has produced a complex body of photographic and video work, offering a contemporary take on the genre of portraiture. Her large-scale colour photographs and videos mainly of young, typically adolescent subjects, show subtle, minimal contextual details and encourage us to focus on the exchange between photographer and subject and the relationship between viewer and viewed. Dijkstra was born in the Dutch town of Sittard in 1959. She attended Gerrit Rietveld Academy, Amsterdam, from 1981 to 1986. In 2017, she was honoured with the Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography and SPECTRUM International Prize for Photographie. Rineke Dijkstra was recently the subject of a mid-career retrospective at Museum of Modern Art; and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York (2012).

The film installtion Night Watching was made at the invitation of the Rijksmuseum and will be on view in the Rijksmuseum's Gallery of Honour from the 5 September to 3 December 2019. The film installation has been made possible by Joep and Monique Krouwels/Rijksmuseum Fonds.

2019, the Year of Rembrandt at the Rijksmuseum
This year is the 350th anniversary of the death of Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669) – reason enough to honour Rembrandt and devote extra attention to the artist, his work, his contemporaries, and the 17th century. The year-long theme Rembrandt and the Dutch Golden Age brings all these aims together, with exhibitions and activities taking place around the Netherlands. In addition to Night Watching, the Rijksmuseum will close this year of celebration with the exhibition Rembrandt-Velázquez, Dutch and Spanish Masters (11 October 2019 to 19 January 2020), which will include masterpieces by Rembrandt and his contemporaries on loan from museums such as Museo del Prado in Madrid.

Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam


Additional:

Rineke Dijkstra, Joan Mitchell et al.

Five Ways In: Themes from the Collection (group show)
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis
14 February 2019 – 26 September 2021

Joan Mitchell, 
Joan Mitchell, "Posted", 1977; oil on canvas; Collection Walker Art Center, Gift of Joanne and Philip Von Blon, 1989

This exhibition, drawn from the Walker’s world-renowned collections, looks backward and forward at contemporary art in our time, showcasing both cornerstone works that have built the collection and works by a younger generation that point to new strengths and directions. The exhibition presents collection highlights within five approaches to subject matter long explored by artists: portraiture; the interior scene; landscape and the observed environment; still life and the everyday; and abstraction, areas that serve as thematic sections for unexpected groupings of works from the collection.

Featuring more than 100 works, the exhibition includes examples ranging from painting and sculpture to drawing, collage, video, photography, prints, and installations. Many of the works on view are longtime favorites for Walker visitors, presented alongside newer acquisitions, many on view for the first time in this context. Works by Joan Mitchell and Rineke Dijkstra are included.

Walker Art Center


Rineke Dijkstra et al.

Observations – Highlights of the Centre Pompidou New Media Collection (group show)
Centre Pompidou x West Bund Museum Project, Shanghai
West Bund Museum, Hall 1
8 November 2019 – 29 March 2020

Rineke Dijkstra,
Rineke Dijkstra, "I see a Woman Crying (Weeping Woman), Tate Liverpool", 2009-2010. © Rineke Dijkstra. Photo © G. Meguerditchian.

“Observations” is the first of a series of exhibitions devoted to the various sections of the permanent collection at the Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Pompidou. It features 15 artists from the New Media collection, with works from the early days of video, at the turn of the 1970s, through to contemporary experiments with digital imagery. Rineke Dijkstra's work "I see a Woman Crying (Weeping Woman)" will be presented in the section "Time Suspended".

As an act of knowledge, observation has always been a mainspring driving the development of arts and sciences. In either domain, it consists in focussing the gaze to achieve an attentive perception of things in order to question not only the changes they undergo but also the development of the tools we study them with. “Machines of vision” such as telescopes, microscopes and cameras can influence our representations of the reality they open up to us and contribute to giving them their unique shape. As such, they contribute to cultures of observation.

The analogue camera lens provided our eyes with a sophisticated instrument to support human vision by concentrating our attention thanks to a constructed frame and perspective. With digital technology, the transformation of images into strings of coded data has shaken up the visual systems of representation which have accompanied the constitution of a body of knowledge since the invention of photography in the early 19th century. Images no longer need an author or even a human viewpoint; they access reality via their own path and produce other forms of knowledge.

Employing a retrospective eye, this exhibition reveals how artists have approached and embraced these developments. Starting with early real-time images produced by television through to the debate on intimacy in public places brought about by increasing camera networks, from aesthetic contemplation where the sense of time seems to be suspended, to the transformation of real images by big data, the exhibited works playfully and poetically stretch and repurpose the media, exercising critical lucidity. They speak of our capacity to gaze, pay attention, and create new conditions for a visual experience, to write alternative accounts of the world.

Featuring a variety of works in a non-linear pathway that leaves room for visitors to take their own initiatives, this project has adopted an open approach, attentive to everybody’s role in the shared experience of images.


Centre Pompidou x West Bund Museum Project