zondag 19 december 2010

Rineke Dijkstra on the Dancefloor Photography

18.12.2010 - 13.03.2011

De Hallen Haarlem presents the Dutch première of The Krazy House by Rineke Dijkstra. This work consists of a series of photos and a 4-channel video projection of dancing adolescents, and has previously been shown in Berlin and New York. Dijkstra is chiefly known for her series of portraits of bullfighters and adolescents on the beach. The Krazy House will be on view from 18 December, 2010, through 13 March, 2011, in De Hallen Haarlem.

Although Rineke Dijkstra (b. Sittard, 1959) made her reputation as a photographer, today her work would be impossible to imagine without recourse to the video camera. With The Buzz Club/Mysteryworld (1996-97) she sketched a picture of what it was to be an adolescent at the end of the 20th century, as touching as it was powerful, by briefly isolating them from the jostling of the dance floor in a discotheque. The vulnerability of these young people, who present themselves to the camera dancing and drinking, surfaces in this work in a sometimes uncomfortable, but always empathetic manner. This theme is also present in Dijkstra’s famous portrait series of young people on the beach, done in the years 1992-94, and since then has remained a thread that runs through all her oeuvre. 

Dijkstra’s latest photo and video project, The Krazy House, consists of a series of photographs and a 4-channel video projection of dancing adolescents. For The Krazy House she has returned to Liverpool, where she made The Buzz Club nearly fifteen years ago. Dancing young people are once again central in The Krazy House, and the artist again casts her eye over the body language and dress codes of the youth culture. For this work however Dijkstra has employed a different method: where inThe Buzz Club she took the young people directly off the dance floor in front of her camera, for this project she has done their portraits in a specially built photo studio on the dance floor of the Liverpool club The Krazy House. Outside opening hours she had the young people dance to their favourite music for the camera. The raw, direct energy of The Buzz Club here makes way for more self-assertive performances, captured razor-sharp against a neutral white background. Thus we see images of an introverted, dreamy dancing girl, but also the exuberant dance routine of a boy who ends with a sheepish grin. 

The Krazy House zooms in on the social and cultural codes (clothing, movement, expressions) that define the identity of adolescents. Dijkstra reveals the degree to which people are products of the culture in which they grow up. In doing so she also exposes universal values, without losing sight of the unique, individual aspects of her subjects.

Just Looking | Dijkstra on the Dance Floor

DESCRIPTIONCourtesy Marian Goodman Gallery New York/ParisA still from “The Krazyhouse, Liverpool, UK (Megan, Simon, Nicky, Philip, Dee)” (2009-10)
The Dutch photographer Rineke Dijkstra likes to dance, but “I’m not really able to do it,” she says, with the utterly unassuming manner that must put her subjects at ease. “So I like to watch people instead.” Some of the fruits of that endeavor go on view at Marian Goodman Gallery on Tuesday, in a series of video portraits, “The Krazyhouse, Liverpool, UK (Megan, Simon, Nicky, Philip, Dee)” (2009-10).
The work represents something of a departure for Dijkstra, who made her name in the early ’90s with unforgettable still photographs of adolescents posed on beaches from Hilton Head. S.C., to Odessa. Yet it’s also a continuation of her great themes: the ungainly grace of youth, shadowed with doubt and in the first tentative flush of self-assertion. Dance, she finds, releases something in her subjects, and the moving portrait allows her to capture a more intimate reality. “I think with dance, people are totally relaxed,” Dijkstra notes. “The music can really touch you somewhere. It’s about joy, and about surrender.”
DESCRIPTIONCourtesy Marian Goodman Gallery New York/Paris
On a visit to Liverpool, the city’s energetic club scene provided the inspiration. Dijkstra set up a white box studio on the dance floor of the Krazy House Club, and in the off hours filmed young Liverpudlians, one at a time, doing their thing. The five solitary dancers who bump, twist and grind before her lens to their favorite tracks (spun by a D.J. standing behind Dijkstra’s camera) represent a range of styles. There’s the shy maiden who lip-syncs (“This is the rhythm of the night/Oh yeah/Oh yeah”) as her bangle-clad, languid arms reach uncertainly skyward; the lanky goth youth who plays air guitar to heavy metal (“Self-Righteous Suicide”), his face hidden behind a curtain of greasy hair, which he twirls in pseudo-Dionysian frenzy; the dreamy girl with streaming blond locks and downcast eyes, her baby fat piled into a geometric paneled minidress, who seems to float in her own bubble to the music. Projected one at a time against the gallery’s walls, they offer a strangely affecting portrait of youthful solipsism, joy and vulnerability.
“I took a still portrait of Nikki [the sleepwalker in the minidress], but the video is much more her,” Dijkstra says. “She looks tougher in the photograph.” The artist feels that her “loving eye” (a deep humanism and a distant cousin to Diane Arbus’s affection for her subjects) celebrates the youths before her camera, even as it exposes them. “With these portraits, it’s vulnerable, but at the same time it’s also about power, isn’t it? When people are totally themselves, it’s also very powerful.”

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