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'Imaginary Portraits of Women who Chose Death'

10 - 14 June 2009
Gloomy Sunday exhibition at the MAK
Museum for Applied Arts Vienna 
Curated by Drome Magazine

Vienna's relationship to death

On occasion of MAK's (Museum for Applied Arts Vienna) Gloomy Sunday during the "9 festival for fashion and photography", the Italian/English published art and culture magazine Drome was engaged as the curator of the exhibition running from 10 to 14 June 2009 in Vienna. Drome has selected the art work by the fashion photographer Angelo Cricchi entitled 'Imaginary Portraits of Women who Chose Death' with regard to the traditional strong relationship of Viennese people to death.

In Vienna you can find one of the largest European cemeteries and for many years the Viennese have broken all records in committing suicide. It was such a problem that even the media had - indeed not bound by law, but bound by ethics - not to report about suicides. The death-relationship has good aspects too: some say that the very special Viennese dark humour comes from this cultism and Hollywood has discovered the special character of the city such as you can view in the movie 'Before Sunrise' (trailer on where Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy play in one scene at the 'Cemetery of the Nameless', a rare cemetery for the anonymous victims of the Danube. Cemeteries have in Vienna additional functions: the tranquillity invites to use them as parks during leisure time and in the last years even for sportive activities such as jogging.

Question: "Why has the photographer Angelo Cricchi chosen the theme “Imaginary Portraits of Women who Chose Death” in context with fashion photography?"

Stefan Pollak (art director Drome magazine): "Actually the dynamic was the following: DROME magazine was invited to organise a MAKNITE at the Museum MAK and chose to do it during the "9 festival for fashion and photography", as we wanted to participate actively in this 2009 edition. Instead of creating an event directly linked with fashion, we decided to present an artistic project of a photographer that mainly works in the fashion industry.

A MAK NITE with an unshown photo exhibition and a site specific perfomance linked to the mood of the show. So the idea was to prove that a personal work of a fashion photographer done rigorousely - Angelo Cricchi's conceptual approach and acurate research really convinced DROME and in particular Rosanna Gangemi (DROME's Editor in Chief) and me - surely could find its place in a prestigious museum. If this can be a positive input for young fashion photographers then we have fullfilled our aim!

About the topic of the exhibition, Vienna and its inhabitants have a strong relationship with the subject of Death, especially in arts and culture, so we thought it was the perfect place to host the world premiere of this exhibition series."

Question: "The photographer’s inspirations are famous women. Who are the role models for Angelo Cricchi's work and which values do they represent?"

Angelo Cricchi (photographer): "Here is the list of the great women who ispired the show: ANNE SEXTON (American writer), JEAN SEBERG (French-American Actress), JEANNE HEBUTERNE (painter and Modigliani's wife), LIZZIE SIDDAL as OPHELIA (Preraphaelit icon  and wife of Dante Gabriel ROSSETTI), CAPUCINE (French actress), ANTONIA POZZI (Italian poet), FRANCESCA WOODMAN (American Photographer), SARAH KANE (English playwriter), MAGDA GOEBBELS (wife of The nazi propaganda leader Joseph Paul Goebbels ), VIOLETA PARRA (Singer and artist from Chile), THE SUICIDE BOMBER  from Dubrowka thather in Moskow, Madama BUTTERFLY from the Puccini Opera, FRIDA KAHLO Mexican Artist, SYLVIA PLATH (american poetess)."  

Question: "On your online invitation you are showing a woman in the kitchen, lying on the floor in front of a gas cooker. Which impression should be provoked? Women are bored of cooking? Who is the famous role model behind this photo?"

Angelo Cricchi (photographer): "The woman laying on the kitchen’s floor is the imaginary portrait of Silvia Plath, accidentally one of the biggest american poetess ever."

Question: "What makes the series of photos so extraordinary for DROME that they are presented in the name of the magazine?"

Stefan Pollak (art director Drome magazine): "The collaboration between DROME magazine and with Angelo Cricchi already started some years ago and I was always extremely satisfied with the results (also in collaboration with his partner Susanna Ferrante). Angelo has a strong artistic background and sensitivity, which is not always easy to find among fashion photographers. From the day he presented us as a preview the first shots of his Gloomy Sunday project, I just couldn't get it out of my mind, so it was just natural that we would embrace and support it."

Drome magazine takes in its quarterly issues a look at contemporary ideas by presenting the people behind new trends in different areas of the arts. Drome is distributed in more than 20 countries all over the world. On the website you will find previews of current and older issues which can be ordered online

Source: Original article with image on


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