While in Vienna, our hotel was rather artfully minded – their current exhibition featured Irene Andressner. She’s a little bit like an Austrian version of Cindy Sherman, using a costumed self-portrait medium. However, her costumes usually consist of her as famous personae – in the instance of the hotel exhibit, she was dressed as Milly Stubel Orth, a ballerina commoner who married a Hapsburg, and eventually was tragically missing at sea. In another series, she is dressed as famous women of Vienna, most of whom – like Hedy Lamarr, the seductive actress and later math genius – are women with an indepdent streak and an anti-conventional contribution to Austrian society. She’s even dressed herself as Constanze Mozart…and then Mozart himself in a gender bending role and a departure from her female historical and mythical characters.
The photographs are usually done as lightboxes, which accentuates the strong colors even more, but some photographs have their own lighting installation that she builds. Sometimes it’s the backdrop in the photograph, but in the Milly series, there were elaborate lightbulbs and chandeliers, as the ballerina herself was illuminated by Edison’s original lightbulbs. So what do you think? Strong or just spooky?
All photographs by Irene Andressener.