Born Sittard, the Netherlands, 1959. Lives Amsterdam
Tiergarten, Berlin, August 13, 2000, 2000
56 3/8 x 44 3/8 inches
Collection Miami Art Museum, partial and promised gift of Charles Cowles
Credit line: Reproduced with the permission of the artist
Photo credit: Peter Harholdt
The portraits of Rineke Dijkstra are characterized by a formal classicism and psychological intensity, often capturing their subjects in a self-conscious, "in-between" state. The direct, frontal poses have an immediacy similar to the work of her German contemporaries, Thomas Struth and Thomas Ruff.
This work is from a series of portraits taken in Berlin's Tiergarten Park. A young boy stands awkwardly in a clearing, as if on the threshold of a rite of passage. The glimmering green forest backdrop recalls a magical setting in a fairytale. His left foot and shoulder are forward, illuminated by sunlight shining through the canopy of foliage. The left side of his body is tense - his shoulder raised and his hand formed into a claw - whereas his right side is slack. This duality creates a sense of transition from one state to another, from childhood to young adulthood, for example. Although the image has a theatrical feel, the artist has not staged the photograph. Says the artist, "The best photos are the ones in which people strike a pose that has a certain naturalness, but is at the same time unexpected: when their pose is one that I would never have thought of. Often it is about details: a position or a certain glance."