Rineke Dijkstra: Rehearsals opens this Friday, September 9, in the Herzfeld Center for Media Arts.
Dutch artist Rineke Dijkstra (b. 1959) is interested in moments of transition, particularly adolescence. In the upcoming exhibition, young athletes are the focus: rhythmic gymnasts in The Gymschool, St. Petersburg (2014) and a ballerina in Marianna (The Fairy Doll) (2014).
The artist herself is visiting Milwaukee for the exhibition opening, and there will be a public talk on her work (in conversation with Curator of Photography and Media Arts Lisa Sutcliffe) on Saturday September 10.
Sutcliffe, in the exhibition essay, describes the young subjects of Dijkstra’s videos as “endeavoring to reach an ideal”:
Marianna (The Fairy Doll) is a tender portrait of a ballerina as she practices for an audition in the prestigious Vaganova Ballet Academy, based in St. Petersburg. In a pink, mirrored studio, she dances to Josef Bayer’s The Fairy Doll, repeating sections of her routine over and over, the sharp voice of her instructor audible in the background. In The Gymschool, St. Petersburg, a three-channel video, young rhythmic gymnasts at the Zhemchuzhina Olympic School train to show their technical mastery with five apparatuses (ball, club, hoop, ribbon, and rope) while assuming near-inhuman poses. Dijkstra chose to film not the final, polished performances but, rather, the grueling rehearsals. By emphasizing the unromantic nature of rehearsal—the repetition, physical endurance, discipline, and constant practice—she unveils the practical reality of what is required for these young girls to transform into talented athletes, and she suspends the magic of perfection that a single performance might suggest.
Given this, we thought it apropos to invite the Nancy Einhorn Milwaukee Ballet II Program to host live rehearsals in Windhover Hall during the run of the exhibit. They will be at the Museum on October 7, 2016 and December 2, 2016.
About Rineke Dijkstra
Dutch artist Rineke Dijkstra (b. 1959, Sittard, The Netherlands) studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam. Her work has appeared in many international exhibitions and biennials including the 1997 and 2001 Venice Biennale, the 1998 Sao Paulo Biennial, and the 2005 Sharjah Biennial. The Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam organized a large overview of her work, Rineke Dijkstra: Portraits, in 2005, which traveled to Jeu de Paume, in Paris; Centre Cultural de la Caixa, in Barcelona; and Fotomuseum Winterthur, in Switzerland. In the United States, a major retrospective of her work was organized in 2013 by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. She is the recipient of numerous awards including the Citibank Private Bank Photography Prize in 1998. She lives and works in Amsterdam.
–Ariel Pate, Assistant Curator of Photography