Exhibition room 1. 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 color photographs of young, typically adolescent subjects recall 17th-century Dutch painting in their scale and visual acuity. The minimal contextual details present in her photographs and videos encourage us to focus on the exchange between photographer and subject and the relationship between viewer and viewed.

Source: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum www.guggenheim.org/new-york/exhibitions/past/exhibit/4424

The shift of attention from a historical work to the audience’s reception is explicit in Rineke Dijkstra’s twelve-minute video I See a Woman Crying, which shows nine preteen classmates reacting to a reproduction of Picasso’s wartime painting Weeping Woman. Since the three cameras that record the group are set facing them, just as the painting does, the painting itself goes unseen in the video. The edited conversations are projected on three screens; each section zooms and pans across the students, sometimes overlapping with an adjacent section and sometimes resolving the three fields into a comprehensive picture of the entire group.

Discussing her choice of Weeping Woman for this work, Dijkstra tied this system of fragmented figures and multiple viewpoints to the precedent of Cubism: “In retrospect it’s nice that this happened to be a painting where you can still see the influence of Cubism, with Dora Maar depicted from various angles in the facets, because ultimately I See a Woman Crying becomes a kaleidoscope of perspectives.”

Source: exhibition catalogue for “Post-Picasso: Contemporary Reactions,” Michael FitzGerald