TABEA BLUMENSCHEIN – ULRIKE OTTINGER
West Berlin Avant-Garde
“She, a woman of high beauty, created like no other to be Medea, Madonna, Iphigenia, Aspasia, decided one sunny winter day to escape her loneliness and to leave La Rotonda. She bought a ticket ‘Aller jamais retour. Berlin Tegel’.” This is the opening scene of Ulrike Ottinger’s momentous 1979 film Ticket of No Return—the woman of high beauty was Tabea Blumenschein. Unconcerned by all conventions, Blumenschein adored transformation: in a distinctive, avant-garde aesthetic, the two women embraced various different identities and challenged many norms, in the process revealing the performativity of gender. Initiating a dialog between the two artists’ perspectives, these books bring together for the first time Blumenschein’s drawings with Ottinger’s photographs from their joint performance sessions.
ULRIKE OTTINGER (*1942, Constance) is one of the most important German filmmakers. Moving to Berlin in 1973, she became a pioneer of avant-garde cinematography. Ottinger’s photographic works, feature films and documentaries have been shown at major international festivals and retrospectives, including the MoMa in New York, Berlinale, the documenta and the Venice Biennale.
TABEA BLUMENSCHEIN (1952–2020) was a cult figure of West Berlin’s queer feminist subculture in the 1970s and 80s. For about ten years, she played a key role in Ottinger’s films as leading actress and costume designer and was part of legendary avant-garde punk collective Die tödliche Doris. In the 1990s she withdrew from the public, yet remained active as an artist until her death.