Mann im Portrait
© Courtesy de Rijke/de Rooij und Galerie Buchholz, Berlin/Cologne/New York

Facing Tronies — De Rijke/de Rooij — Junks

A presentation by the Kupferstich-Kabinett complementing Rembrandt’s Mark

The video work Junks by the artistic duo Willem de Rooij (*1969) and Jeroen de Rijke (1970–2006) created in 1994, consists of six filmic portraits. The artists, who were living in Amsterdam at the time, used a Hi 8 camcorder, a video camera with integrated sound recording, to portray six anonymous persons. Their subjects, people at the edge of society, each received a beer in return for their participation, and they appear to concentrate on the camera with a lot of effort.

  • DATES 14/06/2019—15/09/2019

[Translate to English:] Sie wird vier Tronies

They are juxtaposed with four tronies, examples of a pictorial genre that emerged in the Netherlands in the late 1630s. In these bust-length images, anonymous faces are deemed worthy of depiction without being linked to a particular person. Whereas portraits often represent the rank and power of their subjects, while also trying to flatter their appearance or intellect, tronies play on the loose relationship between the viewer and the represented, directing attention to general aspects of their appearance, such as their expression, age and gender, or costume. In this way, they become surfaces on which the viewer can project questions about their own individuality and strategies of disguise.

[Translate to English:] Tronies

[Translate to English:] Junks

The individual episodes in Junks, each three to four minutes in length, are assembled in such a way that they become autonomous portraits. Motionless and ‘sober’, they show not only the minimal movements of their subjects but also the imposition of focussing on the camera and finally their failure to do so. The diffuse background with its weak lighting is the product of the urban night in the Red Light District of Amsterdam, not far from Rembrandt’s house on Jodenbreestraat. The semi-darkness is reminiscent of the dim-glow in Dutch genre painting of the 17th century. However, more than anything we are shown the familiar setting, where the subjects being filmed find their shelter. The analogue soundtrack, which records disconnected talking in the background, also prevents us from forgetting the reality of the depicted persons.

Mann im Portrait
© Courtesy de Rijke/de Rooij und Galerie Buchholz, Berlin/Cologne/New York
Jeroen de Rijke/Willem de Rooij, Junks, 1994 High-8 übertragen auf DVD, Direktton, 20 min.

[Translate to English:] Gegenüber

In contrast to the Dutch painters, de Rijke/de Rooij enact a contemporary change of medium, which connects their work to the films of Andy Warhol or Bas Jan Ader. The choice of subject is not the only thing that is important; the choice of medium is also striking in its relation to the sense of sight. There is an aesthetic contrast between the unmoving image of the videos and the movement of the facial features, especially the eyes of the portrayed. It seems impossible for the gaze of the viewer and that of the depicted person to meet. In this way, a social critique is also inherent in the work, which transforms the imposition on the portrayed into an imposition of viewing. It requires looking into the eyes of someone who is usually unseen. Rembrandt and his circle also engaged with the concept of seeing. Again and again, they made perception in extreme darkness the subject of their images. This also creates a parallel between the work of de Rijke/de Rooij and the exhibition in the Kupferstich-Kabinett

[Translate to English:] weitere Ausstellungen

Further Exhibitions
14/06/2019 —15/09/2019

Rembrandt's Mark

in Residenzschloss

The new Hall of the Giants

in Residenzschloss

Aufwendig verzierter Harnisch, große Federn am Helm angebracht


in Residenzschloss

Münzen, Medaillen und Orden
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