Dutch photographer Rineke Dijkstra’s recent film Ruth Drawing Picasso, Tate Liverpool (2009) brings to light the artist’s uncanny ability of capturing the nuances of human behavior on film. Characteristic of her larger body of photographic work to date, Dijkstra’s film focuses on a single subject—a young school girl seated in a gallery at the Tate Museum in Liverpool, England. The artist observes the adolescent subject studying the vivid imagery of a dramatic 1937 painting, Weeping Woman by Pablo Picasso, which shows Dora Maar, Picasso’s mistress at the time, in a state of extreme emotional distress. As we witness Ruth intensely absorbing Picasso’s uncompromising portrait of Maar, we become aware of her increasing engagement in the act of looking—not only in order to “get it right” as she attempts to sketch the image, but taking what she sees and making it her own. Dijkstra’s film involves us in a dialogue about the act of observation as well as artistic inspiration and creativity.
Still from Ruth Drawing Picasso, 2009
Rineke Dijkstra, Dutch, born 1959
1 channel High Definition Video
variable; 6 minutes, 36 seconds, looped
Courtesy Marian Goodman Gallery, New York and Paris
© Rineke Dijkstra