In the vein of Kehinde Wiley’s Renaissance-inspired paintings, Rineke Dijkstra creates monumental photos of ordinary people. Her works are printed large-scale and sparsely composed, placing the emphasis solely on the character of the sitter. Rineke aims to capture her subjects in moments of vulnerability or relaxation to create an authentic representation of the sitter. Through the sitter’s gesture, expression, and sartorial choices, the viewer can tease out stories and relate to the works on a basic human level.
Rineke tends to work in series, so that each work tells both an individual story and contributes to a larger, overarching idea. In her Beach Portraits series, Rineke captures adolescents preening on the beach. Shot from a low angle, these figures loom large and embody both the uncertainty and outsize confidence of youth on the brink of adulthood.
As a place where youth can try on different identities and negotiate new terrains of self-expression, the club has a particular draw for the artist. In The Krazyhouse (Megan, Simon, Nicky, Philip, Dee), Liverpool, UK, Rineke films her subjects dancing to their favorite music with wild abandon.
Rineke Dijkstra: A Retrospective will be on view at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum June 29 – October 8, 2012