Tales of Lipstick and Virtue
Includes signed print
160 x 225 mm.
Authenticity has always been a central question in discussions concerning society. It is continuing to gain importance with the emergence of new phenomena such as fake news, alternative facts and instant online control possibilities. However, our definition of an authentic being or an authentic object and our understanding of how the two relate to each other tend to differ, often in line with cultural and geographical variance despite our global connections.
The photographic element of this multidisciplinary work consists of portraits in Albania and figurative fake-stills of brand imitations and counterfeit luxury out of the studio. They are what we call an imitation, a fake or a bootleg. How is a fake defined in contemporary society ? And what reasons do people have to interact with these objects? Can they be judged by their materiality or does their presence as imitations confine them to a shallow world of the pseudo-luxury ?
The dictionary definition of the word ‘imitation’ states; it is a (inferior) forgery of a precious material. Given that the imitation may be produced in the same factory, by the same methods, using the same material, only the label determines what is the original or the copy. In that case, when only a corporation or the state decide which object to authorise and sell for a tremendously higher amount of money – would not the action of engaging with the unauthorised object be more authentic than with the licensed object to please a capitalistic machinery that does not care too much about the consumer ?
“The profession of almost every man, even that of the artist, begins with hypocrisy,” Nietzsche writes, “with an imitation from without, with a copying of what is most effective.” The boundaries between an original and an imitation are invariably fluid and may even be as obsolete as the separation of nature and artifice.
About the Artist:
Anna Ehrenstein (b. 1993) is an artist based in Germany with Albanian heritage. She studied photography at the University of Applied Science in Dortmund and is living and working in Berlin. Her practice focuses on lens-based arts, especially photography, but she also works in Video or Installation and Performance. What interests her most are visualisations of contemporary issues, to which a broad audience can relate. In radicalising and exaggerating different aesthetics, while taking inspiration from mass media and everyday life she tries to show different angles in a current process of reflection. Her main focus lies on topics like class, gender representation, sexuality and the impact of authorities, for example regarding police brutality.
About the Publisher:
Editions Bessard is a Paris based independent publishing house created by Pierre Bessard in 2011. Focusing on working with artists, writers and curators to realise intellectually challenging projects in book form.