FIGURES: Rineke Dijkstra and the Collection of the Sprengel Museum Hannover

»SPECTRUM« International Prize for Photography of the Foundation of Lower Saxony
27. January 2018 – 06. May 2018
Sprengel Museum HannoverSprengel Museum Hannover
With Rineke Dijkstra (born 1959 in Sittard, The Netherlands, lives in Amsterdam), the Foundation of Lower Saxony honours one of the today’s outstanding photographers. In its compelling formal as well as contentual logic, in the profundity of the photographic occupation with the classic portrait, Dijkstra’s work assumes a solitary position in the recent history of photography. The artist received the prestigious Hasselblad Award in October 2017 and her œuvre is on view in conjunction with a retrospective organised by the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk (DK). Dijkstra has been the subject of numerous international exhibitions, for example at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, and Tate Liverpool.
For her exhibition at the Sprengel Museum Hannover, the artist has developed a format based on a dialogue between a selection of her works with art from the museum’s own collection, among them works of Hans Arp and Max Beckmann, Fernand Legér and Kurt Lehmann, but also photographys of Ernst Schwitters. The confrontation of photographs from the early 1990s (for example the ‘Beach Portraits’) and recent pieces with paintings and modern sculptures reveal an innovative view of the Dutch artist’s specific visual language.
The portraits chosen by Dijkstra for her presentation at the Sprengel Museum Hannover clearly show the extent to which her sitters are conscious of the act of being photographed. It is the tension between the ideal of relaxed self-presentation and the tense pose in the photographs, the exhibitionism and the objectification of an attitude made conscious through the optics of the camera that becomes the complex image of an individual.
Rineke Dijkstra views photography as a possibility of dealing with fundamental questions of human existence. In the process, photography represents a means of observation and cognition. Her meticulous outlook with an interest in details that can be relived in her images created with large-format or video camera reveals the constant variability of human existence.
The awarding of the SPECTRUM – International Prize for Photography of the Foundation of Lower Saxony pays tribute to the style-forming power of her oeuvre and the artistic consequence with which Rineke Dijkstra continues the occupation with the photographic portrait in her filmic works.

Opening and award ceremony
Friday, 26 January 2018, 7 p. m.

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