Friday, May 05, 2006

I want to be loved by me Tina Bara

What do Marilyn Monroe and a woman living an alternative lifestyle in the country have in common? One laced up her body to the point to breathlessness, packing in her curves as flatteringly as possible; the other couldn’t care less about her weight and happily runs around naked. One lived on Planet Hollywood and was for most as inaccessible as the moon; the other grows her vegetables according to the cycles of the moon. One was born in the year the other died.

As a teenager Elisabeth Lukesch made Marilyn Monroe her idol, and years later acted out her favourite Monroe photos for artist Tina Bara (marilyn, 2002-04), releasing herself little by little from her role model. The celebrated original works are easy to recognise (some are from the legendary last photo session with Bert Stein).

Although photographer and model sometimes closely mimic the compositions of the original works, Elisabeth does not merely imitate Marilyn; she also remains herself, a privilege her role model was denied. Elisabeth’s natural and unsophisticated spirit exposes the personal prison in which her icon was trapped: Marilyn was once Norma Jean, but Elisabeth has probably always been Elisabeth.

Tina Bara at sleek magazine

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