This spring, the Corcoran Gallery of Art and College of Art and Design
presents Rineke Dikstra: The Krazyhouse, a spectacular four-channel video installation and a series of large-format photographs. The exhibition will remain on view through June 15, 2014.
Created in 2009 at a popular dance club in Liverpool, Dijkstras video installation The Krazyhouse (Megan, Simon, Nicky, Philip, Dee), Liverpool, UK, presents in sequence a group of five young people in their teens and early twenties dancing and sometimes lip-syncing along to popular tunes they selected themselves. Dijkstra met her subjects at the club and invited them to dance in a white box studio she had built on one of the dance floors. They perform for Dijkstras camera while a DJ plays live mixes of their selections and friends watch. The Krazyhouse is a recent acquisition to the Corcorans renowned collection of photography and new media.
In these video portraits, a simple white background allows viewers to focus on the self-presentation, insecurity, uniqueness, and beauty of each of the five young participants. Dijkstra describes selecting her subjects as
a process of looking, searching, its almost completely intuitive. I look for people who intrigue me, who have something that makes them special. In the gallery, these portraits shift from wall to wall, one after another, around a dark room filled with bass-thumping beats that mimic the sensation of being in the actual club. Also included in the exhibition are four still portraits of young people at The Krazyhouse, which depict a quieter and more formal, self-assured side of the Liverpool club scene.
One of the most important photographers working today, Dijkstras style produces an uncomfortable, almost confrontational realism rather than a snapshot aesthetic. Though she is primarily known as a portrait photographer, Dijkstras influential 1994 video debut, The Buzz Club, led her to create The Krazyhouse and several other multi-channel video installations that capture moving portraits of individuals exploring and establishing their identity.
In The Krazyhouse, the selection of music, type of dance and mimicry, and the choice of dress all come together to create a social spectrum that speaks to the time and spirit of its location, said Corcoran chief curator and head of research Philip Brookman. While the kids selections of music and dance are diverse, each person seems both self-conscious and lost in the moment, looking for some way to transcend their daily lives and make an impression for others. As viewers of the dance club rituals, we become voyeurs of both intimate and public expressions, and our experience of the music is like being present in The Krazyhouse. We move with these portraits as they shift around the room, an effect that invites interaction with the video and participation in the dances. I am thrilled to bring this important work of new media art into the Corcorans collection.
Rineke Dijkstra was born in 1959 in Sittard, the Netherlands, and studied photography at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam. Through the late 1980s, she photographed people in clubs for Dutch magazines and worked for corporations making portraits. In 1990, during her rehabilitation following a bicycle accident, Dijkstra produced a self-portrait emerging from a swimming pool. This image, depicting her exhaustion and vulnerability, sparked a new direction in her work. Soon after, a newspaper commission to photograph the idea of summertime led to her breakthrough Beaches Series (199296), which featured adolescent subjects in different seaside locations in the United States and Europe. From that point on, the concept of people in transitional moments shaped her work; she has photographed mothers in the moments after giving birth (1994), refugees (19942008), and new inductees into the Israeli army (200203).
Major solo exhibitions of Dijkstras work have been shown at the Museum fur Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt, Germany (2013), the Guggenheim Museum, New York (2012), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2012), the Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland (2005), and the Art Institute of Chicago (2001). Her photographs have appeared in many international exhibitions, including the 1997 and 2001 Venice Biennale, the 1998 Bienal de Sao Paulo, Turin's Biennale Internationale di Fotografia in 1999 and the 2003 International Center for Photography's Triennial of Photography and Video in New York. She is the recipient of a number of awards, including the Kodak Award Nederland (1987), the Art Encouragement Award Amstelveen (1993), the Werner Mantz Award (1994), the Citibank Private Bank Photography Prize (1998), and the Macallan Royal Photography Prize (2012). Dijkstras work is represented in many public collections, including the Museum of Modern Art; the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Guggenheim Museum; the Art Institute of Chicago; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Corcoran Gallery of Art; Tate, London, and the Stedejlijk Museum, Amsterdam, She lives and works in Amsterdam.