In Madame Hirsch, for the first time Brigitte Niedermair has created a sort of log book, composed of various episodes in the life of Renate Hirsch Giacomuzzi. Observing the natural “lifestyle” poses that are part of her subject’s daily routine and the habitual appointments in her cosmopolitan existence – from the de rigueur skiing holiday in St. Moritz, to the summer break in Cala di Volpe in Sardinia, and from the traditions that surround Christmas and Easter to the unmissable annual debutantes’ ball at the Vienna Opera House, the visitor/spectator is plunged into a series of “natural” film sets captured by the camera.
The exhibition presents 26 large format photographs which revive the grand tradition of the portrait and reject any idea of spontaneity: indeed the backgrounds resemble a series of sets, generating images that merit the description of “painted theatre”. The photographs of Madame Hirsch can in fact be viewed as a series of tableaux vivants, in which the attractive leading lady does no more than gracefully and serenely play herself. Brigitte Niedermair’s images are always striking in their extreme accuracy and incisiveness: nothing is left to chance in her works, which are always painstakingly planned yet so very “real”. In Madame Hirsch Brigitte Niedermair cleverly capitalises on the ambiguous interplay between reality and make-believe that arises when we engage with a photograph: the situation photographed might well be artificial, but it nonetheless alludes to something which could potentially exist, and that is above all aesthetically experienced as authentic.
Curated by Letizia Ragaglia
Event sponsor Deutsche Bank
Supported by Galleria Galica, Milano
Brigitte Niedermair – Madame Hirsch, 2009