Klaus Rinke - Primary Demonstrations  | lynda benglis, marco cingolani, ron gorchov, simon linke, klaus rinke, galleria d'arte bergamo

Klaus Rinke - Primary Demonstrations

Essays | 10/06/2021

“I am a German, but not a German artist! I’m a universal artist, in the sense that ideas of ethnicity don’t interest me in the least. That’s all you hear about now, all over the world. Look where it leads: war everywhere! In the early 1970s, the world was out looking to discover the world; now everybody’s retreating to his little patch of dirt. It’s a return to the Middle Ages. The archaic heroism of a pseudo-German art means nothing to me. I’m a German, I’m an Australian, I’m an American, I’m a European, I’m a fish, I’m a cactus. I’m a tree, I’m a rain, I’m snow, I’m everything. The world has grown so small today that I’m everywhere.”

Image: Klaus Rinke in his studio in Linz in 2019. Ph: Thomas Brambilla

In late Sixties, Rinke abandoned painting for sculpture in order to work in three dimensions, then, moved from sculpture to photography using his own body as a central element. This “physical” experience of space involved also the recognition of the fourth dimension, time [1]. From 1969, body, space and time become the major subject and interest of Rinke’s oeuvre [2].

On the occasion of his show at MoMA in 1973, the artist said: “with the incorporation of time, Art was transformed into a process. I choose the body and the gesture of the body as a dematerialized, and most intelligible medium, to create an ABC of seeing and experiencing, and with this of human being in general” [3]. At the time, Rinke developed his first performances, titled “Primary Demonstrations”, in which he explored the concepts of body, space and time and reproduced them in photographic sequences. In these performances, Rinke’s body is used as a “universal body”: its possibilities and its limits, linked to the space and time, are tested to the extreme in both internal and external spaces such as galleries, museums or nature.

The photographs demonstrate the meticulous almost scientific research of the artist and contributed to create a repertory of strict yet refine visual language that brings gestures, shapes, forms and primordial energies together as one. Rather than record or aestheticize nature and the modern human condition, as did many of the great photographers during the earlier part of the century, Rinke's photographs become evidence which document a new conceptual, but also rational and scientific, approach to photography.

Klaus Rinke was one of the founders of the Düsseldorf School with artists such as Sigmar Polke, Gerhard Richter, Blinky Palermo and Günther Uecker. Very active on the international scene already in the 1960s, the artist worked alongside and across the great radical artistic movements, including Body Art, Land Art and Conceptual Art, without his work ever being reducible to a single one of these movements. Some of his photographs, which best explain his conception, have already been exhibited in his solo shows in several museum and institutions around the world, such as: at MoMA (1973 and 1974), the Oxford Museum (1976), Biennale di Venezia (1977), documenta 6 Kassel (1977), MoMA PS1 (1978), Centre Pompidou Paris (1985), CCCOD Tours (2017) etc.



Klaus Rinke solo show at the gallery:


[1] Press release of Klaus Rinke show at MoMA Museum, 1973, p. 2.

[2] Klaus Rinke: K.R. 1939 MEZ, In IN VIVO 01/2015, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France.

[3] Accessed online: https://www.moma.org/calendar/exhibitions/2534

Research from our users

Lynda Benglis

Marco Cingolani

Oscar Giaconia

Ron Gorchov

Thomas Helbig

Simon Linke

David Novros

Anatoly Osmolovsky

Edoardo Piermattei

Klaus Rinke

Erik Saglia

Joe Zucker

Galleria d'arte Bergamo