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Menschenkunde XI
Menschenkunde XI, 2003
12 x 16"
Collection of the artist

Menschenkunde XXXII
Menschenkunde XXXII, 2006
10 x 12"
Collection of the artist

NEW/NOW: Angelika Rinnhofer
May 30 - Aug. 3, 2008

Photographer Angelika Rinnhofer’s work examining the drama of Renaissance and Baroque painting through photography will be featured in a NEW/NOW exhibition from May 30 - Aug. 3, 2008, with an opening reception (free for members) on June 1. The exhibition will feature images from her three series, “Menschenkunde,” “Felsenfest” and “Seelensucht.”

Rinnhofer’s three series feature the subjects of traditional Renaissance and Baroque oil painting, yet imply contradictions. In “Menschenkunde,” ordinary people pose as members of the Renaissance upper-class, suggesting that wealth and glamour is merely a façade. “Felsenfest” contrasts people’s interpretation of fact and faith; while “Seelensucht” features images of Christian martyrs after they have made grave sacrifices in the name of faith.

Rinnhofer was born in Nuremberg, Germany, where she grew up surrounded by the art, influence and imagery of Renaissance, Medieval and Baroque art. Rinnhofer attended Fachoberschule für Gestaltung Art School in Nuremberg, and for the next 10 years worked for various commercial photography studios. At one point she was taking glamour shots in a Berlin studio, which inspired her to create her series entitled “Menschenkunde.” These images depict the intrinsically-elite, “glamorous” photo subjects in a class-free, and more democratic way.

“I found it fascinating to observe most women’s physical and, even more importantly, mental transformation in front of the camera,” Rinnhofer said.

Rinnhofer uses a large-format camera and high-contrast lighting to emphasize details that evoke individuality—imperfections like a bit of dirt under one’s fingernail or an imprint of a tight sock on one’s leg. She often adds contemporary symbols such as laptops, fashion jewelry or wristwatches to her classically-attired photo subjects in order to establish a connection between the past and present.

Among her many awards and recognitions in the photographic arts industry, Rinnhofer has received the Kodak European Gold Award as well as a grant from the New York Foundation for the Arts and fellowships from the Dutchess Council Arts Council and Light Work. She is currently working on a photography series that comments on the suicides of famous Americans.

“I show our society’s elite inhabitants, immersed in their wealth and power with myriad possessions and exquisite taste, but nonetheless, miserable and unhappy,” she said, “Here is where publicity’s promise of happiness through envy and glamour is proven wrong.”


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Design by InSight Design Studios



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