The Krazy House
De Hallen Haarlem presented the Dutch première of The Krazy House by Rineke Dijkstra. This work consists of a series of photos and a 4-channel video projection of dancing adolescents, and has previously been shown in Berlin and New York. Dijkstra is chiefly known for her series of portraits of bullfighters and adolescents on the beach.
Although Rineke Dijkstra (b. Sittard, 1959) made her reputation as a photographer, today her work would be impossible to imagine without recourse to the video camera. With The Buzz Club/Mysteryworld (1996-97) she sketched a picture of what it was to be an adolescent at the end of the 20th century, as touching as it was powerful, by briefly isolating them from the jostling of the dance floor in a discotheque. The vulnerability of these young people, who present themselves to the camera dancing and drinking, surfaces in this work in a sometimes uncomfortable, but always empathetic manner. This theme is also present in Dijkstra’s famous portrait series of young people on the beach, done in the years 1992-94, and since then has remained a thread that runs through all her oeuvre.
Dijkstra’s latest photo and video project, The Krazy House, consists of a series of photographs and a 4-channel video projection of dancing adolescents. For The Krazy House she has returned to Liverpool, where she made The Buzz Club nearly fifteen years ago. Dancing young people are once again central in The Krazy House, and the artist again casts her eye over the body language and dress codes of the youth culture. For this work however Dijkstra has employed a different method: where inThe Buzz Club she took the young people directly off the dance floor in front of her camera, for this project she has done their portraits in a specially built photo studio on the dance floor of the Liverpool club The Krazy House. Outside opening hours she had the young people dance to their favourite music for the camera. The raw, direct energy of The Buzz Club here makes way for more self-assertive performances, captured razor-sharp against a neutral white background. Thus we see images of an introverted, dreamy dancing girl, but also the exuberant dance routine of a boy who ends with a sheepish grin.
The Krazy House zooms in on the social and cultural codes (clothing, movement, expressions) that define the identity of adolescents. Dijkstra reveals the degree to which people are products of the culture in which they grow up. In doing so she also exposes universal values, without losing sight of the unique, individual aspects of her subjects.