Rineke Dijkstra: Rehearsals

Dutch artist Rineke Dijkstra (b. 1959) is interested in moments of transition. For the past twenty-five years, through photographs and video, she has sought to capture the fleeting state of transformation in all its vulnerability and self-consciousness. Her subjects have ranged from teenagers to mothers who have just given birth, military recruits to bullfighters fresh from the ring. This exhibition features Dijkstra’s two recent video installations Marianna (The Fairy Doll) and The Gymschool, St. Petersburg, which focus on young girls engaged in intensive rehearsals. Manifesta, the European biennial of contemporary art, heldin St. Petersburg, Russia, in 2014, commissioned both videos.

Marianna (The Fairy Doll) presents a tender portrait of a ballerina as she practices for an audition in the prestigious Vaganova Ballet Academy, based in St. Petersburg. 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. By emphasizing the unromantic nature of rehearsal—the repetition, physical endurance, discipline, and constant practice—Dijkstra 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. As in all her work, the videos reveal complex layers of determination and fragility as the girls attempt to conceal their emotions and perfect their crafts.

Sponsored by the Herzfeld Foundation

Rineke Dijkstra: Rehearsals
Lisa Sutcliffe, Curator of Photography & Media Arts
Ariel Pate, Assistant Curator of Photography
Dana Christopherson, Lead Graphic Designer
Christina Dittrich, Senior Editor

This exhibition was on view at the Milwaukee Art Museum September 9, 2016–January 1, 2017.
Photo credit for images 1, 3-5: Laurelyn Taglienti, Graphic Designer, Milwaukee Art Museum.
Above text derived from exhibition intro text.