Galerie Polaris, 15 rue des Arquebusiers, 75003 Paris, Tel : 00 33 1 42 72 21 27
April 24 - May 17, 2014

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Galerie Polaris presents Iwajla Klinke‘s first exhibition in France. She is a young photographer from Berlin.


Her portraits – frontal or ¾ frontal views,  close ups or medium long shots (plan américain) -, are taken during village festivals in Hungary, Austria, Sicily, Germany and  Brazil. The subjects are children or young adults dressed in folk costumes.


For the shootings, the artist creates some kind of ritual, responding to the ceremonial of the first portraitists from the last century: the children are photographed in pale, softened daylight in front of a black cloth which she always carries with her.


Austerity of the setting and softness of the light are essential elements of these photographic compositions. The children’s faces,   expressionless, remind of tales by the brothers Grimm or paintings by Chardin. Iwajla Klinke’s work is not that of an anthropologist trying to develop a scientific approach of the costumes. The significance of her work is beyond dates and places.


These children seem to be wearing the clothes used during  processions or ancestral rituals with serenity and great dignity. This process is a reaffirmation of specificities of each region.


The richness and the care  devoted to the making of each costume contrast with the austerity of the arrangement. Several phases are necessary to explore Klinke’s photographies. A piecemeal approach is necessary in order to appreciate the variety of details. The viewer must discover what’s hidden behind the masks, whether real or metaphorical. Masks which conceal the subjects and reveal them at the same time.


The secret of this exceptional as well as experimental work might be the freedom of expression Klinke gives her models. One feels the respect and humility of the photographer vis a vis her subjects. This distance allows the viewer to undertake a timeless travel, between pictorial tradition, ancestral heritage and outline of an uncertain future.

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