About this artwork
Rineke Dijkstra practices an art of quiet, engaged observation. Since she began exhibiting her photographic work in 1993, she has developed an international reputation as one of the most visible and highly regarded Dutch artists of her generation. She is known for flat, frontal, color portraits of individuals that are characterized by a remarkable formal classicism, conceptual rigor, and psychological depth. Of her work, the artist has commented, “I discovered that if you want to give a general impression, you should be very specific.” In the series Beach Portraits, for instance, she depicts her subjects within a precise geographic setting yet avoids identifying them by name.
Although video is somewhat of an anomaly in Dijkstra’s oeuvre, her earliest attempts in the medium, like her photographs, focus on the tender aspects of teenage sexuality and social behavior. For instance, both Buzz Club/Mysteryworld (1997) and Annemiek, February 11, 1997 feature subjects that were filmed alone or in groups, appearing before a blank white background. Buzz Club, however, grounds these individuals within their wider location—a nightclub in Liverpool—through the use of ambient noise as well as through their unselfconsciousness in front of the camera; although they stand in front of a screen, they continue to smoke, dance, and chew gum. In this way, Buzz Club serves as a stylistic and compositional bridge between Dijsktra’s photographic portraits and Annemiek.
Dijkstra shot Annemiek with a single fixed camera, and only the subject’s head and shoulders are visible in the frame. The work features an adolescent Dutch girl alone before the camera, lip-synching the ballad “I Wanna Be With You” by the popular American teen band the Backstreet Boys. As the music starts, Annemiek appears nervous and embarrassed, but only moments later she furrows her brow in a momentary lapse of self-consciousness, allowing herself to imitate the lyrics’ passion. Quickly catching herself, she manages a bashful smile. Throughout the video, she continues to struggle between this adolescent awkwardness and adult confidence.
- Currently Off View
- Contemporary Art
- Rineke Dijkstra
- Annemiek, February 11, 1997
- Color video, sound (projection); 4 min. loop Edition number two of eight
- Modern and Contemporary Discretionary Fund