Rineke Dijkstra

The Weeping Woman, Tate Liverpool

2 April - 18 Sept 2011
work in collection

recent acquisition, first presentation

In this work, a group of schoolchildren are in a serious discussion regarding the meaning of Picasso’s painting The Weeping Woman. The children begin hesitantly, apparently answering questions posed by someone off-camera, then gradually begin responding to each other’s remarks. In this three-part work, To film the scene, Dijkstra used three cameras on tripods. The children are looking at a reproduction of the painting attached to the middle tripod, hence, none of the youngsters looks straight into the lens. Unlike a conventional portrait in which the subject looks at the camera, they are engaged with each other, visually disconnected from the viewer. Dijkstra’s non-confrontational approach and restrained formal aesthetic allows us to observe the nuances of her subjects’ attitudes and behavior.The people she photographs often bear a name, but equally represent a group, a phenomenon which transcends the purely individual. In this sense she is both a disciple of Diane Arbus, with her strongly confrontational, revealing human images, and of August Sander, who catalogued German society in types, chiefly during the interwar period.