Born in 1954, year of the birth of rock and roll, I grew up immersed in the high energy music of my hometown Detroit. This loud, physical, emotional music took hold and became a part of me.
In 1977 a rock-and-art punk underground exploded in Detroit. I graduated from art school and entered the movement along with my friends Destroy All Monsters. Joined by Ron Asheton of The Stooges and Michael Davis of The MC5, and with femme fatale chanteuse Niagara, Destroy All Monsters became the emblematic Detroit punk band. Dozens of new bands formed. The Dead Boys and Pere Ubu came to town often. Johnny Thunders moved to Detroit. Patti Smith fell in love with MC5 guitarist Fred Sonic Smith and married him. In 1982 I briefly took the stage myself as lead singer in the band Batteur Attaqué.
In this creative community, I formed my personal vision: active, graphic, intimate, joyful and trash… My early photographs have been exhibited around the world.
The essence of rock and roll continues to be my inspiration.
My current work is meant to surprise and challenge the viewer to see the subject of rock’n’roll in a new way: a vision that is rock rather than of rock. To present glimpses of moments that evoke rock on a universal level. It’s a subject that has become stereotyped and repetitive. As an artist who is a rocker, my goal has been to defy the limits and prejudices of this “genre” and bring my interpretation of it to contemporary art. It’s also a defiant stance, against the cult of celebrity and corporate-controlled imagery.
Far from the spotlight, there is an international community who are making and living rock on their own terms. It’s rock at its core, authentic level. As such there’s a slight socio-cultural dimension. Because the active participation of women and the multiple personas they incarnate are particularly strong, they are largely represented in my work. My overall purpose is to create images that stimulate aesthetically firstly, and secondly about the subject.
Taking photographs is very physical for me. I need to feel the music, the passion, the movement, and to be in motion myself. I feel good in the dark, in the little clubs where people go to experience joy and release through music. This is where I go to feel free and to get my photos. My ongoing project is called MY SCENE because it reflects my life, my friends, my world.
Born Detroit, Michigan. Lives and works in Paris, France.
Rhode Island School of Design
American Center for Students and Artists in Paris
University of Michigan School of Art, BFA 1977
– Sue Rynski hysteric fifteen monograph, numbered edition of 600 – Hysteric Glamour Art & Books, Japan, 2006
– End of the Night, collector portfolio, signed and numbered edition of 30 – Chez Higgins, France, 2007. Personal preface by Iggy Pop
– Photography © Sue Rynski capsule apparel collection – Hysteric Glamour, Japan, 2006-2007
– “Boners” fashion tshirt, numbered edition of 77 – April77, France, 2008
“Femmes de scène” Festival Subsonica Women In Rock, Montpellier, France
“Because The Night” Galerie Stardust, Paris (solo)
“Detroit à Montpellier” Montpellier, France
“My Scene – anytime, anywhere in my rock’n’roll playground” Les Photaumnales Festival, France (solo)
“Femmes de Scène” commissioned by the Médiathèque de Saint Denis, France (solo)
Renoma, Paris, “Punk Attitude”
Photodays Festival, Rovinj, Croatia – curated by Gail Buckland
Rencontres d’Arles Photography, Arles, France, “I Am A Cliché, echoes of the punk aesthetic” – curated by Emma Lavigne
3ème Nuit de la Photographie Contemporaine, Paris
Association Grains de Beauté Promotion – Ville de Dijon et FNAC Dijon
“Hungry For Death – Destroy All Monsters” SPACE, London ; Depart Foundation, Rome ; Athens, Greece
“Hungry For Death – Destroy All Monsters” Printed Matter Inc, New York ; 0047, Oslo
“The Dirty Show Motel” Los Angeles
2ème Nuit de la Photographie Contemporaine, Paris
Art Basel Miami, Zombrart
“Bookie’s Club 870” Galérie Nivet-Carzon, Paris (solo)
“Tranches de vie” Pascal Polar + NKA* Gallery, Brussels
Garage, Osaka – inaugural exhibition (solo) By Rat Hole Gallery, Japan
“Chez Higgins Collections” Artcurial, Paris
“Detroit Rock & Roll Haute Enérgie” exhibition and lecture, Paris Université VII Jussieu (solo)
“Music, Light & Shadow (Listening to The White Stripes)” Paris (solo)
Zamiang Gallery, Tokyo (solo)
“Le visage caché du monde” Prague
“The Dirty Show” Detroit
“Sue Rynski: Rock and Roll Ecstasy” Detroit (solo)
Hard Rock Cafe, Detroit – inaugural exhibition (solo)
Rockarchive Gallery, London
Detroit Institute of Art
Patti Smith Archive at Mills College, Berkeley, California