The Dutch artist Rineke Dijkstra (b. 1959) gained international recognition more than 20 years ago with her Beach Portrait series. Her subjects expressions are powerful, insistent and they leave a lasting and profound impression on the viewer. Dijkstra photographs people in their natural environment but at the same time the composition of the photograph isolates them from their surroundings. By concentrating on the subjects posture, gaze and gestures, Dijkstras observations result in images that resonate between the posed and the natural. Also small details, which in normal life one would hardly notice, become important in the interpretation of the photograph, and the subjects seem to be lifted from reality. Dijkstra is always looking for the specificity and individuality of each person; the way people distinguish themselves from others. However she is also able to give every person who poses for her a more general, almost universal meaning something that echoes within each of us.
Poul Erik T°jner writes in his essay in the catalogue: There is a great and rich tradition in the history of art for portraiture a legacy that Rineke Dijkstra has embraced. The artists works offer us at one and the same time insight into the inner depths of the individuals they portray, and when the pictures hang alongside one another or are grouped together the possibility of social identification. Her works activate our own experiences from looking at people and being looked at. They are based on two fundamental truths: that we are not alone in the world, and that as human beings we are both very similar and endlessly different. Hence the title of the exhibition The One and the Many.
You never see spectacular scenes in Rineke Dijkstras works on the contrary she exercises great visual economy. A whole world lies before us in her art. We get close, but no closer than always having to navigate between imaginings and observations. This is how Dijkstra is able to make room for and around the subject.
Time, as a dimension that affects us, is always in play in Dijkstras works. Of course an awareness of time is close at hand in the photographs and video works, but we also note the artists special interest in people at transitional times in their lives; for example when they join the army, bring new life into the world or grow up in the complex order of a sibling group. We may see sudden transitions or a deeper, less dramatic mapping of the passage of time; but there are stages in life, you could say, when you are yourself plus something else. At other times it may be in the form of the series before, during and after that the artist demonstrates this interest in time as extension.
The exhibition is being shown in the West Wing of Louisiana
Rineke Dijkstra is known for her works in the Louisiana collection photographs and a video work but the exhibition is the first overview of her art in a Scandinavian context. Her position as one of the major photographers in the art world is further consolidated by the fact that in October she is to receive the prestigious Hasselblad Award in Gothenburg, Sweden. To mark that occasion the Hasselblad Centre is presenting a large body of her work. The exhibition has been organized by the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, HumlebŠk, in collaboration with De Pont Museum, Tilburg.