Irene Andessner: I amAndessner, Irene
In the last ten years, the Austrian-born artist Irene Andessner has been working on a new definition of the self-portrait. Inspired by women's portraits from past centuries, she researches her chosen subjects in archives and libraries, only to enter into an alliance with them by means of photography, video and computer technology. Via new media, Andessner abducts these historical personages--women such as Nannerl Mozart, Frida Kahlo and Angelika Kauffmann--into the world of today, putting a cell phone or Polaroid camera into their hands. In 2001, Andessner immersed herself in explorations of the person and myth of Marlene Dietrich, investigating the actress's innermost feelings and thoughts. In the course of a few months, Andessner was able to mentally and visually transform herself into Dietrich: accompanied by newspaper reporters and TV cameras, she went all the way to the Berlin registry office, where she married a Mr. Dietrich in order to make it official. Including this work and others, I am, designed by the artist herself, features a representative selection of Andessner's work.