ANNA STARAK presents

Vera Lehndorff / Holger Trülzsch
27th September - 30th November 2014

Behind the Appearances by Vera Lehndorff/Holger Trülzsch
Spectra Art Space | Starak Family Foundation      
September 27th —  30th November  2014

A comprehensive retrospective by Vera Lehndorff/Holger Trülzsch including photographs and videofilms starting from the early 1970s to more recent works.

The exhibition includes three series of works: the Mimicry-Dress-Art series (1970-1973), the Oxydations series (1978), and the Prato/Sirius series (1985-1988).

At the end of the 1960s, Vera Lehndorff (born 1939) and Holger Trülzsch (born 1939) started producing complex performance artworks, which involved very different kinds of portrayal compared to exposure as a fashion model, where Vera Lehndorff worked under the name of “Veruschka”. By engaging with the locations in which the performances took place – such as an empty fish auction hall in Hamburg or a warehouse containing discarded clothes and textiles in Prato, near Florence The carefully and intricately composed “living pictures” always formed the basis of the performances, which lasted up to 20 hours and took place in an abandoned fish-auktion-hall, an iron construction from the 19th century. The only public had been some half drunken homeless and some prostitutes , working outside at the harbour aerea, watching us through the broken windows with laughter and rough remarks, a really participating quite amusing public.
The performances had been documented in photographs and films.

For this artwork it was necessary to develop a complex technic of anamorphic drawing and painting on Lehndorff’s body, which seems to fuse into the background. On careful inspection of the photographs, the body can be distinguished against the background.
It is precisely this effort to decipher the well-calculated interplay of the fusion of surfaces and the distinction between the body and background that makes the images appealing. The difference between the body itself and its mask-like and camouflaging painting is “strategically implied” and defines the staging as mimicryé: an illusion that “imitates” and, at the same time, reveals this strategy.” The anamorphic drawing is supposed to flatten the volume of the body and has to be precisely constructed from the position of the camera view. After the drawing is constructed on the body, to be painted according to the background the body has to keep more or less the position ; it has to be permanently verified towards the anamorphic distortion. The slightest changement of the point of view (camera) causes an explosion of the forms into a dysmorphic baroque sculpture,”Toward a hypertelic art”(Severo Sarduy).

A central theme to all of the artworks that can be seen in the exhibition is the conflict between surfaces and materiality and the relationship between object and subject. The surfaces which Lehndorff /Trülzsch use as a background to paint the body are so diverse and they adopt the appearances of these surfaces anamorphically. All art forms are encompassed in the images produced in the context of the performances: drawing, sculpture, painting, performance and, of course, photography and film, which, in this case, incorporates all forms of art to some extent.

An aspect of the painting of the SIRIUS works is not only the paint on Lehndorff’s body, but also the insertions/arrangement of materials into the bales of cloth, piled up to 8 Meter in the warehouse in Prato, mentioned above. The painting of some frames in the large-sized abstract photographs must also be highlighted, where the colours painted onto the body and the placing of the lines and the painted-on shadows of the fabric folds cause the body to seemingly disappear amongst the rolls of cloth. Painting the frames continues the colours and lines of the photographs beyond the margins of the image - they seem to sprawl out, as it were, and want to seize not only the woman’s body, but also the image’s frame. 

In the Mimicry Dress Art series, the surfaces into which Trülzsch ‘s masterly painting makes Lehndorff’s body disappear and match with the icons of our time; it became the parodied appearances of media celebrities. Like with a transparent film, Lehndorff’s body permeates the form of each icon, becoming the person and is turned into a performative and painted “nude” portrait by Lehndorff /Trülzsch. Every figure and gestures had to be carefully studied by the artists; their faces and expressions which Lehndorff interpreted by acting and a perfect mask, the make up, had been done by herself. However, it is not only Lehndorff who disappears into the realistic-looking surfaces of the body, painted by Trülzsch. It also seems that “Veruschka”, an icon herself of the time, who shines through in the figures herself, blends in whilst ironically exaggerating the figures and their media clichés, so that the irony turns into a harsh critique. This is implied in the syllogistic subtitle devised by Trülzsch: “Everyone wants to be Mick Jagger,even Mick Jagger “

In the Oxydation series,the anamorphic technique in drawing and painting create some of their most iconic works. As Susan Sontag wonderfully described in her introduction to the book Trans-Figurations, these works show “[…] the desire to escape from a merely human appearance: to be an animal, not a person, an object (stone? wood? metal? cloth?), not a person; to be done with personhood.”

All these photographs are not overpainted, nor technically or digitally manipulated. The body is used as a canvas. Trülzsch describes the method of painting as an adaptation of fresco technique. As in the coating technique of fresco, the painting must be kept moist to stop it flaking off, the procedure of painting cannot be interrupted.T hrough the process of drying on the skin the colors change and become lighter. This needs a precise calculation of the painting technique.

As Trülzsch declares: “The body emancipates itself from its own materiality and becomes an autonomous pictorial and sculptural unit.”

Behind the Appearances is curated by Giorgio Pace

Exhibition design by Boris Kudlicka inspired by Holger Trülzsch’s installation he realized in 1991 at l’Hôtel de Ville de Paris : "Verlichtung - Onement".

The Starak Family Foundation is gratefully acknowledged for the generous support of Anda Rottenberg


Admission: FREE

Gallery Hours: Saturday-Sunday 11 am – 6 pm

Bobrowiecka 6 | Warsaw

Vera Lehndorff, born 1939 in Königsberg/Kaleningrad

From 1958 to 1961 she studied painting and design at the Fachschule für Gestaltung, Hamburg. In 1961 moved to Italy where she continued to paint. In Florence she was discovered by the art photographer Hugo Mulas and started modeling ‐ went to Paris and New York, where she studied acting with Lee Strasberg.
In 1966 she became internationally known under the name "Veruschka" in the film 'Blow‐Up' by Michelangelo Antonioni.

1963 Peter Beard introduced her to Salvador Dali in N. Y. C. , together they did a few artperformances, photographed by Peter Beard (shaving cream sculpture and Gazelle & Leopard performance). She visited Dali several times in Cadaquès/Spain, where he made drawings of her, Dali talked about art and specially Surrealism. Through the performances they did together, she learned, that using the body as an art‐instrument could open for her new ways of expression.
1968 she painted herself as a stone for a film directed by the photographer Franco Rubartelli and experimented to overpaint photo‐images of her and she copied Picasso ‘s portraits on her face.
1970 she met the painter, sculptor and musician Holger Trülzsch and they began to work together.
1975 she did a photo/ video street‐performance, 'Fifth Avenue N.Y.C.' for Andy Warhol's Interview Magazine. The same year, she participated in the art Film 'untitled' by Rebecca Hor
1979 she had the leading part with Denise Hopper in the film 'Couleur Chair' by Francois Weyergans
1976, she started a drawing‐project in Paris, which continued into the eighties ‐ drawing stones and installations of cities in ruins. Through the writer and film director Francois Weyergans, she got introduced to the art of Albert Giacometti, which inspired and influenced her drawings ‐ his vision of objects in relation to space.
1983 ‐ 84, she played Gabriele Dannunzio in the theater play 'Clara S' of Elfriede Jelinek, directed by Ulrike Ottinger, Staatstheater Stuttgardt, International Theater Festival Avignon & Munich.
She played Dorian Gray in the art Film 'Dorian Gray in the Mirror of the Yellow Press' by Ulrike Ottinger.
1985 she did a black/white photo performance ‐ covered in ashes on the street of N.Y. ‐ 2001exhibited at the MOMA‐PS1.
1988‐89 she started her ash paintings in the countryside of Bavaria/Germany.
1993‐94 she did a series of photographs in the streets of Paris ‐ the portfolio, 'Nothing Special' published 1994, in the magazine MANIPULATOR.
1995 she moved from Paris to N.Y. where she worked until 2000 on the photo project, 'Veruschka Self‐Portraits'.
1996 she produced the installation and video: 'Burning City' Bavaria/Germany
1998 the art film 'Buddha‐Bum', Brooklyn, N.Y, was produced, directed and performed by Vera Lehndorff with the help of Micha Waschke,

Since 2005 she lives and works in Berlin and continues the ash project.

Holger Trülzsch, born in 1939, lives and works in Paris and Berlin. 

From 1960 to 1965, he studies painting and sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich (Akademie der Bildenden Künste, München); he is interested in the informal and situationist movements. He gets close to members of SPUR, WIR and Geflecht groups. 

In 1961, during the Group Zero exhibition at the NOTA Gallery in Munich, he meets Otto Piene who introduces him to informal and kinetic art, specially lumino-kinetic art.

In 1965, Trülzsch works on the relationship between painting, sculpture and sound, he creates sculptures, including assemblages and folding steel structures. Then he conceives sound sculptures, Klangskulpturen, in closed and open spaces, especially in the Tyrolean mountains. 

From 1966 to 1969, his political engagment, as part of the student movement and the Frankfurt School, becomes a priority for him. He studies Human Sciences at the University of Munich. He is involved in the anti-authoritarian education movement. At the time, the children are encouraged to spread paint on their body with their fingers, a way to break religious taboos. 

Having practiced free jazz for many years, he founds in 1969 with Florian Fricke the electronic music group Popol Vuh which composes and performs, among others, the soundtrack of Werner Herzog’s Aguirre, the Wrath of God. 

By 1969, he meets Vera Lehndorff, then a fashion icon feeling trapped in her adulated object hyper-publicized image. He suggests to transform this image by developing the artistic potential of her body painting which previously had been confined to the field of fashion and makeup.  He uses, in collaboration with Vera Lehndorf, fresco and anamorphic techniques and fixes the ephemeral nature of these body-paintings in photographic tableaux. The combination of painting and photography is essential to create an illusion, making the body disappear and reappear in the background. 

Over the following years, until 1988, Vera Lehndorff / Holger Trülzsch perform several series of body painting. 

During the seventies, in SoHo, Holger Trülzsch is involved in conceptual and structural photography as well as photographic performances. 

He is the co-founder, along with Jean-François Chevrier, of the Mission Photographique de la  DATAR and provides the artistic direction of the exhibition Paysages photographies – Travaux en cours at the Palais de Tokyo in December 1985.

Holger Trülzsch is developing a protean and multifaceted work interlinking photography, painting, drawing, video, sculpture, sound, light, and realizes major installations and interventions in exhibition and public spaces. His work is exhibited in important museums worldwide.

In 2014, he curates Dominique Auerbacher’s exhibition Scratches auf Bötzow in Berlin.

Holger Trülzsch is currently working on a large project started in 1995, consisting in paintings, drawings, collages etc., on the thema of landscape. 


EXHIBITIONS (selection):

1979  "OXYDATIONEN", installations techniques mixtes (peintures sur corps, performances, films, vidéos, sculptures, images photographiques), Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hambourg, Allemagne; catalogue

1980  "OXYDATIONEN", installations techniques mixtes (peintures sur corps, films, performances, vidéos, sculptures, images photographiques), Fondation Kunsthuis Amsterdam, Pays-Bas; catalogue

1981  "OXYDATIONEN", installations techniques mixtes (peintures sur corps, performances, films, vidéos, sculptures, images photographiques), Palais des Beaux-Arts, Bruxelles, Belgique

          "OXYDATIONEN", Centre Américain, Paris, France 

1982  "OXYDATIONEN", installations techniques mixtes (peintures sur corps, performances, films, vidéos, sculptures, images photographiques), Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France

1983  "OXYDATIONEN", Pavillon des Arts, Paris, France

1984  "OXYDATIONEN", installations techniques mixtes (peintures sur corps, performances, films, vidéos, sculptures, images photos), galerie Springer, Berlin 

1985  "OXYDATIONEN", installations techniques mixtes (peintures sur corps, performances, films, vidéos, sculptures, images photographiques), Bette Stoler Gallery, New York, Etats-Unis; catalogue

          "OXYDATIONEN",  installations techniques mixtes (peintures sur corps, performances, films, vidéos, sculptures, images photographiques), FSU Four Arts, Institut d’Art Contemporain, Floride, Etats-Unis

1986  "NEW WORKS – PRATO 1985/1986", (peintures sur corps, films, performances, vidéos, sculptures, images photographiques), Bette Stoler Gallery, New York, Etats-Unis 

         "OXYDATIONEN", installations techniques mixtes (peintures sur corps, performances, films, vidéos, sculptures, photos), Gallery Ann Berthaud, Londres 

         "OXYDATIONEN", installations techniques mixtes (peintures sur corps, performances, films, vidéos, sculptures, photos), Gallery Arnolfini, Bristol 

1987  "NEW WORKS – PRATO 1985/1986" and "OXYDATIONEN", installations techniques mixtes (peintures sur corps, performances, films, vidéos, sculptures, photos), Boca Museum of Contemporary Art, Florida, Etats-Unis

          "OXYDATIONEN", installations techniques mixtes (peintures sur   corps, performances, films, vidéos, sculptures, images photographiques), Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, Grande-Bretagne

          "THE SPIRAL OF ARTIFICIALITY", Hallwalls at the Chuch , Buffalo, New York; The Art Institute of Chicago

1988  "SIRIUS – da wo der Hund begraben lag", installations techniques mixtes (peintures sur corps, images photographiques, sculptures performances, films ; vidéos), Scott Hanson Gallery, New York, Etats-Unis ; catalogue

1999  "OXYDATIONS", images photographiques et vidéos de 1972 à 1988, Brown Gallagher Gallery, New York 

2003  "OXYDATIONEN", peintures sur corps de 1972 à 1988, Arcadia University Gallery / Art Center, Philadelphie, États-Unis

2007 "Ninfa Moderna", (peintures, sculptures, images photographiques), Galerie Isabelle Czarnowska, Berlin, Allemagne


1983  "LA PHOTOGRAPHIE CREATIVE", Pavillon des Arts, Paris; Catalogue

1985  "PERSONA NON GRATA", commissaires Collins&Milazzo / Daniel Niewburg Gallery, New York, USA

1986  "SIGNS OF THE REAL",White Columms Gallery, New York 

1987  "FOTOVISION", Sprengel Museum, Hanover, Allemagne

          "GROUP SHOW", Scott Hanson Gallery, New York, USA

1988  "FOTOVISION-PROJEKT. Fotografie nach 150 Jahren",  techniques mixtes, Musée Sprengel, Hanovre, Allemagne; catalogue

          "COLLABORATION", Security Pacific Corporation’s Gallery at the Plaza, Los Angeles, USA; catalogue

          "PRÉSENCES DU CORPS ", présentation de la collection couleur, Musée d’Art et d’Archéologie d’Aurillac, France; catalogue

1989  "ON THE ART OF FIXING A SHADOW, 150 years of Photography", National Gallery of Art, Washington DC ; MOCA Los Angeles; Art Institute of Chicago, USA; catalogue 

          "BAD WOMEN", oeuvres photographiques et sculptures, Galerie Elefanten press, Berlin, Allemagne

2008  "DON’T CRY BABY- WORK", Galerie Isabelle Czarnowska, Berlin,

2011  "POLEN – DEUTSCHLAND ", Oxydographie (H. Trülzsch), Oxydationen  (Holger Trülzsch/ Vera Lehndorff), Prato, Martin-Gropius Bau, Berlin, Allemagne; catalogue

2012  "TRAUMWELTEN – in the  court of the king of dreams" avec Neo Rauch, Kunsthalle Duderstadt, Allemagne 

2013  "SKIN TRADE : an in-depth look at the surface of things", commissariat Larry List, Martha Wilson, PPOW Gallery, New York 


Stedeliijk Museum, Amsterdam - Sammlung Heineken, Amsterdam - Sammlung Polaroïd, Amsterdam - Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hambourg - Kobe Fashion Museum, Japon - Houston Fine Art Museum / collection Manfred Heiting - Institute of Contemporary Art Chicago – Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris - Fotomuseum Winterthur, Austriche - Security Pacific Corporation collection, Los Angeles - Collection Hallwalls Museum, Buffalo New York (State) - Bibliothèque Nationale de Paris - FRAC Rhône-Alpes - Musée d’Art Moderne de Saint-Etienne-Métropole - AIC/Art Institute, Chicago 


Collins et Millazzo collection, New York - Colleen Quandt collection, USA - Joseph Hirschhorn collection, USA – Jack Nicholson collection, USA - Nancy Gladstone collection, USA - Carole Gladstone collection, USA - John Stewart collection, USA - David Kaskel collection, USA - Warren Katz collection, USA - Hugo Cassirer collection, USA - Barbara Burgerhout collection, Italie - Richard Hennessy collection, USA – Mike Nichols collection, USA - Gundlach collection, Hamburg - Claus Fussmann collection, Berlin - Victoria von Flemming collection, Hambourg - Richard Avedon collection, USA - Irving Penn collection, USA - Robert Hughes collection, USA - Scott Hanson collection, USA 

FILMS /VIDEOS (selection):

1970        "PLASTIKFOLIE", Super 8, couleur, durée 25’

1971        "PHÖNIX", Super 8, couleur, durée 30’

1972        "SALOMÉ", Super 8, couleur, durée 25’

1976        "DIE TÜRE", 16 mm, couleur, durée 5’

                "LATERNA MAGICA", 16 mm, couleur, durée 5’

1977 "GRIECHISCHE IDYLLE", 16 mm, couleur, durée 12’

1978       "OXYDATIONEN", vidéo, durée 25’

1979        "PERFORMANCE", réalisateur Georges Moore / WDR Television

 BOOKS & CATALOGUES (selection) :

1979        "DES CLEFS ET DES SERRURES", texte Michel Tournier, Éd. Chêne/Hachette,

                "OXYDATIONEN", édition Mimesis, textes de Frank Böckelmann, Allemagne

1981        "LA DOUBLURE" texte Sarduy, édition Flammarion, Paris               

1985        "OXYDATIONEN" préface Robert Hughes, édition Bette Stoler Gallery, New York

1986        "TRANS-FIGURATIONS" texte de Susan Sonntag,  édition Thames and Hudson, Londres -édition Brown and Compagny - New York Graphics, Boston, New York – édition Kohlammer, Stuttgart – édition Mondadori, Milan – Éd. Libre Port, Tokyo

1988          "SIRIUS – Da wo der Hund begraben lag", texte Body Double de Tricia Collins et Richard Milazzo, édition Scott Hanson gallery, New York

1989        "ON THE ART OF FIXING A SHADOW, 150 years of Photography", textes de Joel Snyder, Sarah Greenough, David Travis, Collin Westerbeck, édition Little, Brown & Company, Boston, Toronto, London 


REVIEWS&ARTICLES (selection) :

1976        "POUR UN ART HYPERTÉLIQUE", texte de Severo Sarduy, revue Traverses 7, Paris

1979        "DAS VERDUNSTEN DES EINZELKÖRPERS", texte de Frank Böckelmann, Revue Tumult 2, Hambourg

                "YEAR BOOK", TIME LIFE, New York, Tokyo, Bonn

1985        "IMITATIONS AND ITS DOUBLE, texte de Gary Indiana,  in Village Voice du 9 avril, New York

                "EX-MODEL FOUNDED IN WALL", texte de Gary Indiana, Art Forum international, mai, p.92 à p.94, New York

1986        "THE DEATH OF PHOTOGRAPHY", texte de Gary Indianna, Village Voice, 30 septembre, New York

                "FRAGMENTS OF AN ESTHETIC OF MELANCHOLY", texte de Susan Sonntag, Art in America, septembre, New York

1987        "TRANS-FIGURATION, the invisible link", American Photographer, mars, New York

I agree to the processing of data in accordance with the Privacy Policy. If you do not agree, please disable cookies in your browser. More →

Changes to the Privacy Policy

In accordance with the legal requirements imposed by the Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council (EU) 2016/679 of 27 April 2016 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data and repealing of the Directive 95/46/WE, a new Privacy Policy applies on this Website, which contains all information regarding the collection, processing, and protection of personal data of users of this Website.

Furthermore, we remind you that for the correct operation of the website we use information stored in cookie files. You can change the cookies settings in the settings of your browser. If you do not agree to the use of cookies on this Website, please change the settings in your browser or leave the Website.

Privacy Policy