The Value of Everyone: Encounters
“We begin something, we weave our thread into a web of relationships. What happens to it, we’ll never know. It is a risk. And now I would like to say this risk is only possible in our trust in people. That is – in a hard to define, fundamental – trust in the humanity of all people.”
Pursuing a socially engaged agenda, Rudolphi adapts Arendt’s thinking on humanity into photographic artworks that both document autobiographical encounters and ask questions about the practice of photography, representation, right to privacy, authorship and ownership.
She makes her images by being a careful observer and an active participant in any one moment. The gilding process allows her to share these encounters respectfully with a wide audience while intentionally underpinning the value of each person regardless whether the encounter was joyful, sad, easy or difficult without compromising on her individual responsibility to learn about and then highlight issues of social justice, peace, racism and sustainability.
A chance encounter led to Rudolphi being shown the West End by a socially engaged, local citizen which inspired the Sustainers #1 in Newcastle’s kaleidoscopic Stanhope Street. Here, Rudolphi shared her image making intentions and ideas with shop staff and passers-by early on. In one such conversation an employee responded: “We generally all get along, even if we don’t like each other here”, verbalizing something the images reveal through concealing specific identities to focus on the ‘WE’ and the need for mutual respect and consideration to achieve that special atmosphere the artist witnessed there.
In the Diptych, The Governed stand face to face with The Governing – here Rudolphi observes collective responsibility to address poverty, freedom of speech but also a lack of the right to be heard, tension, disappointment and finally the all-important missing encounter and engagement between people through visible and invisible barriers.
The range of works presented was made in the North East of England, the Netherlands and Syria during the last 18 months and arose from organic ‘encounters’, creating a tapestry of relationships and new opportunities founded on the trust in our common humanity.