Current and Upcoming
Manon de Boer
Mario Garcia Torres
Works by Other Artists
newspaper 28: September-October 2001
by Jan Mot
Last June, almost one year after the first shootings in
Marseille, Rineke Dijkstra temporarily finished her project of the French
Foreign Legion at the Camp Raffalli in Calvi (Corsica). The project resulted in
a series of 5 large format portraits depicting the psychological and, to a
lesser degree also physical transformation of an 18 year old legionnaire, called
Olivier Silva, during his first year at the legion.
Olivier Silva was part of a group of 9 recrutes Rineke
Dijkstra started to photograph on July 21, 2000. During a first period which
lasted till November 30, the artist decided finally to focus on Silva. She
photographed him at specific moments: the first time, minutes after he had been
accepted into the legion, then the same day just after having received his
military uniform and having had a hair cut. Follows poses after heavy physical
excercises or key moments in his formation. In June she returned to the Legion,
this time to the Second Regiment of Parachutists in Corsica to where Mr. Silva
was sent. All the selected portraits are 'en buste' and characterised by the
neutral background, the attention to the gaze and het zoveel mogelijk
terugdringen van vestimentaire details.
The work is a clear example of Dijkstra's interest in
transitional moments in the lives of young people. Its inscribed in the series
of portraits of individuals realised over a longer period of time: like the
double portrait of Tia, the four portraits of Almerisa, over a period of 7
years, and more recently photographs of female soldiers and teenagers in
Israel. Regarding Olivier Silva, Rineke Dijkstra has the intention to continue
photographing him once or twice a year.
This new work had been initiated and produced by the gallery
with the help of the Centre National des Arts Plastiques in France. With
sincere thanks to the Foreign Legion.