September 29, 2022 by admin Uncategorized 0 comments

The idea of presenting the artists Anita Frech and Misa Marek in this exhibition is based on a fundamental similarity of their works: though they differ greatly in the media they work with and though their discourses are not alike, they coincide in the use of photography as an exercise of self-expression and it is this fact that guides the direction of this exhibition, where – jointly with photography – different formats such as film and drawings are presented.


Photography is the most direct medium any artist has at his or her disposal. Compared to other traditional media it represents – by virtue of its immediacy – the form of self-expression per se.

Nowadays the mobile devices allow such immediacy that the production (and circulation) of images of peoples´ daily environment has increased (and accelerated), leading to a proliferation of new forms of self-representation.


On viewing the photographic images, it is fascinating to ask who is behind the camera and how they reflect the author´s thinking (if it is true that we think in images…). By means of the images, the viewer attempts to discover the symbolic meaning or the message of the reality that is portrayed.


The photographs by Anita Frech and Misa Marek cultivate forms of self-expression with very different results; while Frech´s work is easily associated with the languages of cinema and fashion, Marek creates photographs with traits that approach a rather literary universe.


Anita Frech (St.Pölten, Austria 1973) frequently works with series of photographs that resemble fragments of film scenes. The formats of her photographs induce one to associate them with stills as parts of a hypothetical film shooting. Some of them are titled self-performative photographs and, indeed, they are photographs taken during some performance realized by the artist. It is interesting to observe how the artist stands on both sides of the camera: looking/photographing (in the sense that she prepares the site, the costumes, the whole mise-en-scène and takes the photo) and posing/being photographed (even if, as has been commented, in many cases the artist acts, rather than poses). This reference to the performative in the title of her works accentuates the idea of continuity in time and in this her work is automatically associated with the language of film. On the other hand, the work of Anita Frech is also linked to the world of fashion, but not simply by the changing costumes that appear in the portraits (costumes which, certainly, are as well taken care of as any other element of the putting-on-stage); rather, similarly as in contemporary fashion shows, Frech´s images are conceived in such a way as to immediately attract the eye. These images are attractive, effective and resounding. They have a pure advertising impact: they are as seductive as the fashion itself.


The other part of Anita Frech´s work which is shown in the exhibition and which contrasts with the character of the photographs, are the drawings of different formats that possess a character almost opposed to the photographic images. Monika Pessler (1) makes an interesting point by associating Frech´s drawings with the surrealistic écriture automatique. The artist herself has explained on some occasion how she tries to withdraw mentally during the process of creation, not allowing herself any rational reflection, something which is the complete opposite of the process of elaboration of her photographs, where the exercise of control is visible down to the slightest detail. In these drawings there frequently appear hybrid figures that approach the animalistic, strange beings with prolonged extremities or abstract organic shapes that reveal an interesting contrast: the opposition between the exhibitionism and the voluptuousness of the artist´s photographic work and the intimacy and the introspection of her drawings.



Marcel Proust has stated that photography is the art which reveals that life consists of an abundance of fleeting moments. This reflection can be associated with the literary character that defines the work of Misa Marek (Prague, 1979).


Misa Marek´s photographs have the capacity of capturing moments that combine to a narrative. She´s a real story-teller. As opposed to Frech, the artist does not appear in the images and many of them refer to absences. Marek frequently portraits empty spaces, places that have been abandoned, she shows belongings and left-overs of somebody who is not there anymore, corners of a house with bits of clothing, shoes and other personal items, an open cupboard with dresses that somebody once wore…and through the contemplation of these images the viewer recreates stories charged with emotion: the sadness of abandonment, a sense of the irreversibility of time, nostalgia for a time one knows will never return…it is pure literature.


Jointly with the photographs, Marek presents a film in loop composed of parallel images succeeding each other taken from the movie The Misfits by John Huston, and from contemporary slides and photographs. Whilst contemplating this mixture of images one goes on to guess the contrast between public space pertaining to an environment considered male and domestic space pertaining to an environment considered female. One sees legendary scenes from the film by John Huston, such as the confrontation of Clark Gable with wild horses – physical fight as a form of   domination – and images of interior spaces with Marilyn Monroe acting – a perfect realization of the longings of a male audience. One also sees posters of romantic films of love, plaques commemorating famous men on the side of the streets, shop windows with clothing and shelves with fine stockings affirming femeninity…all of this subtly exhibiting the gender roles and stereotypes, as well as the perverse mechanisms by which fiction and reality reinforce each other.


And inmidst of all this mixture, the explicit narrative starting with the images of a Viennese Tabaktrafik (2) on the door of which one sees flowers of condolence, followed by an image of a cemetery. It is the shop where a woman was locked in and burnt by her partner, something that  happened in the year the artist made the video. Marek titles the film number 29, referring to the number of women murdered by male chauvinist violence in Austria up to that moment of the year.


(1) Monika Pessler:  Anita Frech: Ausgeliefert und einverleibt, 2021

(2) Tabaktrafik: small shop selling newspapers, cigarettes and similar goods


Text translated from Catalan by Heinrich Blechner

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