Klaus Rinke



Not on display

Klaus Rinke born 1939
112 photographs, black and white, on paper
Image, each: 591 × 635 mm
Purchased 1973

Display caption

Improvised in front of a camera, Mutations consists of a series of signs directed towards an imagined audience. Sometimes playful, sometimes defensive, they underline the variety and occasional ambiguity of gestures. The work also explores the dynamic relationship between time, space and the body. Mutations has been staged as a performance, and in 1971, Rinke made a twenty-five-minute film on the same theme.

Gallery label, September 2004

Does this text contain inaccurate information or language that you feel we should improve or change? We would like to hear from you.

Catalogue entry

Klaus Rinke born 1939
P07236 Mutations 1970
Each photograph inscribed '1/3 | Klaus Rinke 70' on back, together with a number from 1 to 112, according to its place in the series
112 photographs, each 23 1/4 x 16 3/4 (59 x 42.5)
Purchased from the artist through Situation, London (Grant-in-Aid) 1973
Exh: Klaus Rinke, Galleria Toselli, Milan, 1971 (no catalogue); Prospect 71, Städtische Kunsthalle, Düsseldorf, October 1971 (works not numbered, nine photos repr.); Klaus Rinke, Situation, London, January 1972 (no catalogue); Projection, Louisiana Museum, Humlebaek, January-February 1972 (works not numbered, nine photos repr.); Klaus Rinke, Reese Palley, New York, April 1972 (works not numbered); Klaus Rinke, Kunsthalle, Tübingen, November-December 1972 (works not numbered, complete series repr.); Städtische Kunsthalle, Recklinghausen, January-February 1973 (works not numbered, complete series repr.)
Lit: Richard Cork, 'UK Commentary' in Studio International, CLXXXIII, 1972, pp.117-19, seven photos repr. p.116; Interview between Karin Thomas and Klaus Rinke published in exh. catalogue of Tübingen exhibition, 1972, pp.18-19, 24
Repr: Studio International, CLXXXII, 1971, p.260
The artist told the compiler on 31 May 1973 that he usually starts with some kind of primary demonstration, a performance which explores the possibilities of some apparently very simple, basic theme. Whereas his works using water are concerned with the manipulation of something outside himself, 'Mutations' was an expression from the inside outwards. Nevertheless both presuppose an audience and were conceived as works that people would react to.
He started to make body works as early as 1960, and made the first photographs of his body movements in 1970. The attitudes in 'Mutations' were not worked out beforehand but were improvised in front of the camera. He simply sat down and made the various gestures, and his friend Monika Baumgartl, who is a photographer, released the shutter each time the movement was arrested. Afterwards he did all the dark-room work of developing and printing, and took all the decisions.
The movements are in each case signs to someone else and include both offensive and defensive gestures. He chose the sequence in the gallery (it was not the order in which the photographs were taken) and changed the order when the work was exhibited at the Galleria Toselli. The poses are at first symmetrical, then asymmetrical; in the last photograph he is closed in on himself. His face remains expressionless throughout. The photographs can be hung in one, two, three or four rows, though if hung in three the factors make it necessary to leave one photograph out. (Photographs of two different installations, at the São Paulo Bienal of 1973 in four rows and at the Reese Palley Gallery in New York in 1972 in a single row, are reproduced in the catalogue of Rinke's exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, in January-February 1976). His exhibition at Tübingen in 1972 was the occasion for the publication of a catalogue in the form of a monograph, which not only includes reproductions of all the 112 photographs in this series but also an attempt to express the character of each one in verbal terms, e.g. 'at it', 'upon it', 'out of it', 'near by', 'through it', 'for it', 'against it' and so on.
The photographs bought by the Tate Gallery were intended to be the first of an edition of three. The artist signed and inscribed all of them on the backs at the Tate on 31 May 1973, apart from one which was slightly damaged and was later replaced, arriving already inscribed.
In 1971 Rinke made a 25 minute colour film with a sound track for German television on the theme of 'Mutations'. This had more gestures and was divided into a static part and then a real movement part; at the end he showed his whole face. He also sometimes does 'Mutations' as a performance (though it is different each time), but the photographs came first.
He agrees that the Tate's work is masculine and very Germanic, and that it is essentially a museum piece.
Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, pp.632-3, reproduced p.632

You might like