Irene Andessner was selected for the 2012 Women Inspiring Europe Calendar.
“The issue of gender equality is very important to me” - says Irene Andessner rather surprisingly: usually the language of art is incompatible with this policy, - “However, art reflects reality,” - the artist goes on. Only since the 1980s have female artists been treated more or less equally and are invited to great exhibitions, for example the Biennial in Venice or the Documenta in Kassel. In the art market women have an important role and can keep up with male competition. But Irene still remembers her interviews at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna where the professors openly expressed their doubts as to whether women were suitable for an artistic career. They believed that women wouldn't be able to stand up to the pressure of (male) competition, that art and family life are incompatible. The Professors did not even want to invest their time and knowledge in women students. Such was the situation in 1977/1978, there were no female professors and very few female students in the Academy of fine arts.
Now things have changed, but there are still many inequalities. Some of them provoke us to Eg.: on the roof of the Vienna Museum of Nature there are sculptures by 98 male scholars and scientists. There were also women, weren't there? Or what is the role of the muse of the well recognised genius artist? Or how would the fabulous Marlene Dietrich have felt squeezed into one of her images? And Mozart, was he really a man? All these stories, roles, images and portraits acquire a new meaning devolved through the senses, intuition and talent of the great artist Irene Andessner. “At the beginning I painted what I saw in the mirror, these were my daily moods, which I later deployed in my work representing women, their roles in life”, - the artist remembers. - “I chose women who were an inspiration, interesting and great in their personal lives and tried to reflect these women by studying their life stories, diaries, self - portraits, pictures. I did this in order to feel their character and convey it in my performances, videos, photos. In the sense of a quote by A. Rimbaud – “I - is always someone else”, I have tried to communicate this publicly in my work”.
The art of Irene Andessner raises questions and invites discussion. She is impressed by women who are strong and active, whose work in history is understated or undermined: “I am inspired by Hedy Lamarr who was not only beautiful, but also very technically gifted, whose invention gave the foundation for mobile phones. Moderata Fonte, who is considered to be the first feminist in world history. And Marlene Dietrich - a great actress and a courageous woman. These are the women whose lives I got close with and whom I want to depict, use in my creative work”.
Another part of Irene's work - is the role of a woman through the eyes of a man: she becomes a model for them. “Strikingly, most men depict me as a lonely single woman, a call-girl, sexy as the famous pop singer Madonna, or saintly as Mary Magdalene. Always as a woman serving men in one way or another. That's the reality and we can change it”, - says Irene Andessner encouraging women to be socially and politically active even in the sphere of arts.