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Rineke Dijkstra, Julie, Den Haag, Netherlands, February 29, 1994, C-print, 46 × 37". From the series “New Mothers,” 1994. From “La Grande Madre” (The Great Mother), 2015.

“La Grande Madre”

Fondazione Nicola Trussardi

Rineke Dijkstra, Julie, Den Haag, Netherlands, February 29, 1994, C-print, 46 × 37". From the series “New Mothers,” 1994. From “La Grande Madre” (The Great Mother), 2015.

In 1994 the Dutch artist Rineke Dijkstra began taking starkly minimal photographs of mothers, nude or barely clothed, cradling their newborns, some just a few hours old. The pictures, which constitute the series “New Mothers,” are illustrative of the extent to which Dijkstra limits the contextual information provided by her portraits to foreground her meticulous rendering of her subjects. And yet each of the snapshots in the series begs for an empathic response from the viewer. These women visibly bear the physical and emotional scars of the biological explosion that produces a new human being; their bodies are presented in these images as maps tracing the painful process of emancipation in which each of our bodies once participated. In this way, the “New Mothers” photographs were representative of the spirit of curator Massimiliano Gioni’s sprawling exhibition “La Grande Madre

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