For an artist-in residence project at Podewil, Zentrum für aktuelle Künste Berlin, Irene Andessner immersed herself for a year in the “Myth of Marlene”. Marie Magdalene Dietrich (1901–1992) had already firmly established this at the age of eleven, in particular through an high-handed contraction of her first names; she then strategically developed it, later using it as (feminine) weapon against Hitler’s Germany. Andessner’s role concept is a step-wise transformation into a woman who claims to be “the Dietrich” – watched by photographer and cameramen. Performances and productions in Vienna, Munich, Cologne, Berlin. In the identification Andessner goes through a mental process of tuning in, going beyond bodily transformation and portrayals (e.g. appearances on a Cologne transvestite stage). She marries Arnim Dietrich on 24 November 2001 (after writing to 450 Berlin men [“M sucht Dietrich” (M looks for Dietrich)] and casting from 28 applicants), in order to sign, using her second Christian name Maria, the resulting works with “I.M. Dietrich” – a signature which allowed her to say “I am Dietrich”.
Her tails come from the workshop of Marlene Dietrich’s favourite tailor, Knize. The wedding photos (in the papier re-make of the wedding dressfrom “Flame Of New Orleans”) are shot by Gunter Sachs. Alex Majewski makes portraits after Sternberg photographs. Among the artists who together define the pictorial outcome of the working group are Matthias Herrmann, Kiddy Citny and Wolf D. Wolf. Thus Andessner the “self-portrait artist” departs not only from her own appearance, but also from conventional concepts of authorship.
, exhibition in the Gotischen Saal of the Viktoria Quartiers, Berlin, courtesy Galerie Bernhard Knaus, Mannheim, 2001
, Hotel Chelsea, Cologne, 2001 ff
I.M. Dietrich/ Rückläufer
, “M sucht Dietrich” card dispatch-return, Artikel Editionen, Berlin 2001
I.M. Dietrich/ I am Andessner
, photo /multiple edition with catalogue book “I am Andessner”, Cantz Verlag, Stuttgart 2003
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