sun dogs and winter journeys by Iwajla Klinke

About the photography of Iwajla Klinke

“The Ceremony of Transition” By Heinz-Norbert Jocks

“Her impressive photographic portraits of young people against a black background, which often have something both majestic and enchanted about them, seem as if they have fallen out of time or as if they belong to another era and culture or even several cultures. [ … ]. These portraits by Iwajla Klinke, which defy ambiguity, are ultimately hybrids [ … ] and [ … ] invite us to see without shores and borders, irritating and suspending our usual concepts of looking. We look, for example, at a funeral procession in which boys in red represent biblical Judeans but wear the fashion landmarks of their generation, such as Nike and Adidas. They have fabricated masks on which the present time corresponds with the past and Chicago Bulls meet biblical figures alongside totem animals from Mexico. [ … ]

Her  works [… ] describe the dynamics of becoming, the success of transformation and the transformation of a boy into a girl, of a human being into an animal, of a teenager into a priest as well as the transition from childhood to adulthood. In the sense of the philosopher Walter Benjamin, we can call Iwajla Klinke a threshold expert, whose sense of time for the simultaneity of times.” 

“Sun Dogs And Winter Journeys”

the title refers to the second last song of Schubert’s Winter Journey “The Sun Dogs” (“Die Nebensonnen”), Centred around the phenomenon of parhelia, diamond dusts or bright spots to both sides of the sun, commonly called sun dogs.

The Sun Dogs (“Die Nebensonnen”)

I saw three suns in the sky;
I gazed at them long and intently.
And they, too, stood there so fixedly,
as if unwilling to leave me.
Alas, you are not my suns!
Gaze into other people’s faces!
Yes, not long ago I, too, had three suns;
now the two best have set.
If only the third would follow,
I should feel happier in the dark.

huastecan cherubims

Huatecan Cherubim Triptych - an Artwork by Iwajla Klinke

these young boys are from cities North of Mexico.

this series is taken during the carnival, in urban and suburban communities. It is centred around the exposure and exhibition of the young male body, just “covered” in paint

hyacinths II (diptych)


taken in Spain, Galicia during the carnival celebrations which start after epiphany.

the name is after the beautiful poem “Hyacinths“ (“Hyazinthen”) by Theodor Storm:

Music sounds in the distance;
but silent night is here,
The flowers waft slumber-scent at me;
I have always, always thought of you;
I would sleep, but you must dance. 

It does not stop, it whirls without pause;
The candles burn and the fiddles scream;
The rows part and close,
And all are flushed, but you are pale. 

And you must dance; strange arms twine
Around your heart; oh suffer no violence!
I see your white dress fly by
And your light, delicate form. 

And the night scent wells more sweetly
And more dreamily from the calyx of the flowers.
I have always, always thought of you;
I would like to sleep, but you must dance. 


this poem is about death and dancing and life, about beauty and death.

the headdress looks like hyacinths.


Epiphragmatic - an Artwork by Iwajla Klinke

 “epiphragmatic” is a portmanteau word, made of “epiphragm” and “enigmatic”

the epiphragm is created by snails to seal the aperture of the shell when they withdraw inside during summer, called “estivation”. the live they have inside is hidden, thus “enigmatic”

Iwajla Klinke has searched for villages with tradition around snails. This one was taken during carnival near lake Constance in Germany, with  hundreds of boys dressed as snails. 


Winterplaneten V - an Artwork by Iwajla Klinke Winterplaneten XI - an Artwork by Iwajla Klinke

once a year for 2 or 3 hours, in a few villages of the Austrian alps, these characters appear.

their cloths are more than 100 year old. but they do not know where it comes from. (they could be from Venice as these villages are on the route of the salt previously sent to Venice.) 

they appear on Tuesday for 2 hours, just before the end of carnival. they give orange and nuts to children (probably a symbol of fertility).

Iwajla Klinke has been working on this project since 8 years, going there every year to picture the various characters from different villages.

the title is from a text by the writer Sebald.

waiting for comet Halley III

taken Roumanie, for new year, during the 24 hours they spent awake.

this boy representation is totally hybrid: he wears a veil, his face is covered by girl jewellery and at the same time he wears a military uniform. 

during this period, young boys dress like a biblical performance, referring to the three kings who came to celebrate the birth of Jesus, following the star from Bethleem.  

another theory is that the star is the comet Halley. the first representation of this is in a fresco “The Adoration of the Magi” by Giotto in Padova around 1303. (the comet Halley has been seen in 1301 in the sky of Europe)


it is a polyptych taken during Carnival in Northen Spain

the first level of interpretation is boys dressed as gigantic flowers which are a female stereotype. so again we talk of metamorphosis of boys into flowers or into girls.  

the second of reflection, from the western perspective, is that a very traditional Northen Spain carnival looks like you are in asia, corea or japan. you would think it is Asian but it is not. Iwajla Klinke loves to “irritate” the perception of the audience.

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