'Veruschka' Trans-figurations. Vera Lehndorff Holger Trulzsch. Introduced by Susan Sontag.
In the 1960s there suddenly appeared on the scene a fashion model and actress of extravagant and exotic beauty known to the world as 'Veruschka'. She remained an enigma even when she starred in Antonioni's classic film 'Blow Up'. As we now discover, Veruschka was, and is, Vera Lehndorff, who, twenty years later, emerges in this book as an artist of extraordinary power and originality.
Trans-Figurations. In 1970, Lehndorff met Holger Trulzsch, prominent painter and photographer. Their collaboration - Trulzsch's vision fusing with Lehndorff's resulted in these brilliant, unsettling images: Veruschka transfigured beyond recognition. Their work challenges every conventional assumption about photography, fame and anonymity, beauty and death.
Trulzsch and Lehndorff use her body as the canvas. It can take sixteen hours to apply the theatrical paint that transforms Lehndorff. The artists never resort to technical contrivance. In some images, Lehndorff mimics cinematic beauties like Marilyn Monroe and Rita Hayworth. In others, she denies her humanity - becoming metamorphosed into an animal, a statue, a stone. Most haunting of all are those from the 'Oxydation' series, in which Lehndorff's body appears to disintegrate against the grim walls of a derelict building. Art critic Robert Hughes has called these 'an abandonment of consciousness: akin to being buried alive.'
Whether witty, shocking, or erotic, the images are always intensely beautiful. Or, not merely beautiful, but as critic Susan Sontag writes: ''about' the beautiful... very much concerned with the testing of beauty - through artifice, through distortion.'. Sontag's introduction is a stunning exposure of the issues behind this work. Closing essays by Lehndorff and Trulzsch reveal their method and rationale.
Vera Lehndorff studies painting and design in Hamburg and Florence. She became known as Veruschka while learning to act with Lee Strasberg in New York, and has appeared in many films, including Blow-Up (M. Antonioni, 1967), Salome (Carmelo Bene, 1971), and Dorian Gray im Spielgel des Boulevard-Presse (Ulrike Ottinger, 1983). She did her first body-painting in 1966.
Holger Trulzsch studied painting and sculpture in Munich. he has been involved with experimental music as a member of a group with whom he composed the music for Werner Herzog's film Aguirre (1972), and he has recorded several albums. His own photographs, drawings, and paintings have been widely exhibited since 1962.