Rini Hurkmans
photo works
1993 – 2009

Pietà

The name Pietà is given to a series of self-portraits made during a time period of 17 years. The first one dates from 1993 and the last one from 2009. Every two years a new one is created.

The series consists of black and white photographs in which the artist sits on a pedestal in the middle of a space. She holds an object on her lap. With each new Pietà, the surrounding space and the object on the woman’s lap are different.

The work refers to the form and meaning of the Pietà, a religious image of the Virgin Mary holding the lifeless body of Christ on her lap. In this image love and sorrow come together in great compassion. The series of self-portraits give this image a modern form and content during this period of time.

Pietà 1993
1992

nr 1 from the series
gelatin silver print
128 x 183 cm
edition of 2 and 1 AP
75 x 105 cm
edition of 3 and 1 AP

Pietà 1993 is a self-portrait taken in the studio of the artist in NY. She sits on a pedestal and carries one of her sculptures. In doing so, she placed herself between the pedestal and the object, between the moment of giving away or handing the object to the public and wanting to keep it to herself, as the maker of the object. She wanted, as it were, to freeze the gesture.
The sculpture on her lap has the shape of a large cocoon and looks soft and cuddly, but it is made of steel wool, a sharp material that can injure and hurt your skin.

Pietà 1995
1995

nr 2 from the series
gelatin silver print
130 x 180 cm
edition of 2 and 1 AP
75 x 93,5 cm
edition of 3 and 1 AP

This self-portrait was made in an empty space. Hurkmans carries an organic form on her lap. This form is wrapped, like a bandage, with lead strips. The bandage suggests caring and healing but lead is toxic and dangerous to health when touched.

Pietà 1997
1997

nr 3 from the series
gelatin silver print
122 x 163 cm
edition of 2 and 1 AP
75 x 107 cm
edition of 3 and 1 AP
Pietà 1999
1999

nr 4 from the series
gelatin silver print
123 x 163 cm
edition of 2 and 1 AP
75 x 100 cm
edition of 3 and 1 AP
Pietà 2001
2001

nr 5 from the series
gelatin silver print
123 x 157 cm
edition of 2 and 1 AP
75 x 97,5 cm
edition of 3 and 1 AP

Pietà 2001 is a self-portrait that is made in a large factory where paper is recycled. Paper with information, news, memories and knowledge is cleaned here to make new paper. Surrounded by stacks of printed paper, the artist carries the blank paper on her lap.

Pietà 2003
2003

nr 6 from the series
gelatin silver print
122 x 170 cm
edition of 2 and 1 AP
75 x 104 cm
edition of 3 and 1 AP

At Fifth Avenue in New York City, opposite the Flatiron Building, Hurkmans sits down and carries a sewn doll on her lap. The silhouette of the white doll has the same dimensions as her body. This is the sixth photograph (2003) in the Pietà series of self-portraits (1993-2009).

Pietà 2005, Homeland, Part IV
2005

nr 7 from the series
gelatin silver print
124 x 155 cm
edition of 2 and 1 AP
75 x 95 cm, edition of 3 and 1 AP

This self-portrait is taken in the middle of a big sloping meadow. The grass has just been mowed and a bundle of grass in the rough shape of a human figure is carried on the lap. The cut, dead grass is the new harvest and serves as food for animals. The photograph is part of the Pietà as well as the Homeland series.

Pietà 2007
2007

nr 8 from the series
gelatin silver print
124 x 155 cm
edition of 2 and 1 AP
75 x 95 cm
edition of 3 and 1 AP

Pietà 2007 is a self-portrait made in one of the famous soap factories in Aleppo in 2007. Aleppo Soap has a four-thousand-year-old tradition, from the labour of making the soap with olive and bayberry oil to its trade along the Silk Route. Soap refers to cleaning in all kinds of forms. In the photograph, the bars of soap are scattered all over the floor and a book is carried on the lap: labour versus mind, chaos versus order. Most of the Aleppo Soap factories are destroyed since the Syrian war started in 2011.

Pietà 2009, Homeland Part X 
2009

nr 9 from the series
archival pigment-based inkjet print
124 x 155 cm
edition of 2 and 1 AP
75 x 95 cm
edition of 3 and 1 AP

Pietà 2009 is a self-portrait made in a dilapidated, abandoned space in the countryside. On her lap, Hurkmans holds the work Homeland, Part II, a patchwork blanket made of different types of fabric. On each piece is the word 'homeland' or 'home' or 'land' embroidered. One sees in the space a not connected stove and a bunch of dried lavender on the ground.

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