STYX Projects Berlin is pleased to present the first German solo exhibition of Iwajla Klinke. The exhibition will consist largely of works from her »Ritual Memories« series, as well as related photographic works.
At the heart of Iwajla Klinke’s work is a fascination with the sacred and the ways in which it manifests itself in bodily adornments. The work utilizes classical portraiture as a departure point for exploring the cross-sections between identity construction and spirituality. Her subjects typically appear shirtless or nude, stylized with accessories denoting ritual and devotion, though the signification can rarely be assigned to one single faith. Her costumes serve as appendages to the bodies of her subjects, and can take the form of carnal matter (fish, birds, and worms have all been used) or traditional ritual cloths and silk. With their stern gaze and often classical poses, the works call to mind early Netherlandish portraiture. In sum, they seem to have emerged from some parallel universe, spirits from an after-life that is markedly human in design.
Klinke’s work process is both intimate and intensive. Her eye for unconventional beauty is instantly recognizable in surveying her portfolio of models, who overwhelmingly tend to be positioned at that precious point just beyond adolescence, or else retain some aspect of youthfulness well into adulthood. The costume is prepared prior to the photo session, oftentimes in concert with the model, and the shoot takes place against a wall in her apartment in the Kreuzberg district of Berlin, assisted by natural light. Klinke’s photo shoots can take several hours and produce hundreds of photographs, among which the artist selects a single one, which is rarely touched-up or post-processed. In her approach, Iwajla Klinke thus rates among the most organic practitioners of digital photography.
Iwajla Klinke (* 1976) is a Berlin-based photographer and filmmaker. She studied Political Science, Jewish Studies, and Islamic Studies at Free University in Berlin and worked as a freelance journalist for many years before directing her first film, »Moskobiye«, in 2004. Her second film, »The Raging Grannies Anti Occupation Club«, was released to critical acclaim in 2007. In recent years, Klinke has devoted herself to photography, gaining a wide following for her efforts on the Internet. This is the first major exhibition to explore her prolific photographic work.