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My series Menschenkunde captures the lighting and composition of Renaissance paintings. My inspiration comes from Albrecht Dürer, Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, and Vermeer, painters famous for linking beauty and psychological insight – at least according to Jakob Burckhardt, the 19th century Swiss art historian responsible for establishing the Renaissance as the beginning of modern aesthetic sensibility. Burckhardt may have been right, but it is also true that his ideas on the Renaissance tell us as much about his 19th century culture as they do about early modern painters.
My most recent projects Seelensucht and Felsenfest have greatly been shaped by a trip to my hometown Nuremberg, with its Gothic and Baroque churches and their statues and paintings of Christian martyrs. Each society and each ideology has martyrs but none depicts them like Christianity. Tortured saints are shown either while their agony is taking place, or after they endured pain and death and are now safe in ‘heaven’, suggesting martyrdom by carrying a palm fond or sometimes the torture device.
I create photographs that refer to these representations – their historical accuracy set aside. Like Caravaggio’s in the 16th, and Julia Margaret Cameron’s in the 19th century, my models are contemporary people, thus humanizing their saintly counterparts. I show them in theatrical settings as Renaissance portraits or conversing with scientists. Reason and logic accompany my Christian icons to suggest the never-ending dispute between science and religion.
Like Cameron and Caravaggio before her, I take a religion’s icons and create my own portraits of them. Ironically, historical images have themselves become iconic imagery in our modern society. I hope to make the viewer aware of the ambiguity of historical portraiture and the subjectivity of art and history.
The true subject of my photographic portraits may be termed the question of representation.
1982-1985 Professional Apprenticeship Foto Bischof & Broehl, Nuremberg, Germany
1980-1982 Fachoberschule für Gestaltung, Art School, Nuremberg, Germany
2008 New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain, CT (May 30 - August 3)
2007 Light Work, Syracuse, NY (November 5 - December 28)
2007 Solo exhibition, Paul Kopeikin Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
2006 Two Person show-invitational, Kleinblue Productions, Brooklyn, NY
2006 Solo Exhibition-invitational, Deutsches Haus at NYU, New York
2005 Group Exhibition-invitational, Beacon Artist Union-bau 12:transition, Beacon
2005 Pulse Miami, Paul Kopeikin Gallery, Miami, FL
2005 Group Exhibition-invitational, The Pocketbook Factory, Hudson, NY
2005 Group Exhibition-invitational, 'Portrait', The Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild, Woodstock, NY
2005 Group Exhibition-invitational, 'Regional Triennial of the Photographic Arts', Center for Photography at Woodstock, Woodstock
2005 Group Exhibition-invitational, Art in the Loft, Millbrook, NY
2005 First collaboration at Beacon Artist Union: 'shadow echo: proof I'm here', installation with Peter Iannarelli, Beacon, NY
2005 'This is not an Archive', Bard College, Dept of Curatorial Studies, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY
2005 Group Exhibition-inaugural show: Beacon Artist Union, Beacon
2004 Washington Gallery of Photography National Juried Show, Washington D.C.
2004 Group Exhibition-invitational, Howland Cultural Center, Beacon
2003 Solo Exhibition-invitational, The Framery, Beacon
2001 Group Exhibition-invitational, Republic Plaza, Denver
2000 Two Person Exhibition-invitational, Colorado Photographic Arts Center, Denver
2000 Solo Exhibition-invitational, Auraria Library, Denver, CO
1999 Group Exhibition-invitational, Nikolai Fine Art, New York, NY
1998 Solo Exhibition-invitational, Goethe-Institut, Los Angeles, CA
1996 Group Exhibition-invitational, Photokina, Cologne, Germany
1996 Group Exhibition, Internationale Photographentage, Amberg, Germany
Awards and Grants
2007 New York Foundation for the Arts, Special Opportunity Stipend, Garrison, NY
2005 Dutchess County Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship, Poughkeepsie, NY
2005 Light Work, Artist-in-Residence Program, Syracuse, NY
1995 Kodak European Gold Award, Stuttgart, Germany
1993 Annual AGFA-Gaevert/Photo Presse Cover Award, Hann-Münden, Germany
2006 Contact Sheet, #137
2006 PHOTOGRAPHY Quarterly, #92
2005 Chronogram Magazine, 9/05, "Backbone"
2005 Pulse, April 14-20, 2005
2004 SHOTS, The Portfolio Issue
2004 PHOTOGRAPHY Quarterly, Photography Now (Sarah Hasted Mann)
2003 Chronogram, Cover Page
2001 Denver Rocky Mountain News, Arts & Entertainment
2001 Denver Rocky Mountain News, Critic's Choice
1996 Kodak Presse, "Gewinner des European Gold Award 1995"
1996 Caroline Finkelstein, Germany
1996 Rolling Stone, Deutsche Ausgabe
1993 Photo Presse, 11. Ausgabe
Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, SUNY New Paltz, NY
Light Work, Syracuse
Joseph Baio, New York
2005-pres. - Dia Art Foundation, educational tours of Dia:Beacon, Beacon
2005/06 - Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University, Off-Site mentor, Beacon
2005 - Workshop "Light Work Master Series", Syracuse
2006 - Florida International University, Art & Art History Dept., Miami, FL
© Angelika Rinnhofer (2007) - Used with permission