artist / participant

press release

GRIFFIN mounts the first exhibition in the United States of the original portfolio of ninety-four vintage photographs documenting the 1936 Olympic Games by the renowned German filmmaker-photographer Leni Riefenstahl. The images were shot simultaneously with the filming of Riefenstahl’s cinematic documentary, Olympia. The artist hand-selected these images and assembled them in a commemorative portfolio in 1937. The exhibition will feature Riefenstahl’s well-known stills alongside a continuous screening of the film Olympia.

Leni Riefenstahl’s extraordinary career spans the past eighty years. Born in 1902, she gained fame as a dancer in Berlin during the early twenties, going on to perform a solo program of her own choreography on stages throughout Europe. In 1925 Riefenstahl crossed over into film, starring in the frothy Alpine movies by Arnold Fanck. In 1932, she gained international celebrity as producer, director and leading actress in her own first feature film, The Blue Light. Riefenstahl’s success attracted the attention of Adolf Hitler, and through his Ministry of Propaganda he commissioned her next several projects. The first was a short film of the Nazi’s 1933 Nuremberg Party Rally, Victory of Faith (1934). Triumph of the Will (1935) was next, followed by Olympia (1938). After World War II, Riefenstahl was investigated by the Allies and was “de-Nazified” in 1958, but her career has never shaken the taint of her association with the Third Reich. In the 1970s, Riefenstahl received acclaim for her photographs of the now-extinct Nuba tribes in the Sudan. At age 71, she took up diving and began shooting the underwater world. She continues to work today at the age of 101.

only in german

Leni Riefenstahl: Olympia
The Original Portfolio of Photographs