Tina Bara

Prof. Tina Bara, *1963 in Kleinmachnow, GDR

lives and works in Leipzig, where she holds a professorship at the HGB Leipzig since 1993, and in Berlin. Bara was active in the opposition peace movement of the GDR. The focal point of Tina Bara’s photographic work is the interaction with other people, her models. Through this interaction Bara questions at the same time their and her own identity. Bara attempts to generalize individual experiences and to explore the construction of identity. For this purpose, she integrates the social environment of her models. Interviews and texts became an equal important part of her work. Since 2000 she works with Alba D’Urbano, an Italian media artist, who also holds a professorship at the HGB Leipzig, on artistic and curatorial projects and publications such as ‚Bellissima‘ (2007) and ‚A Question (about) the Gesture‘ (2008).

On the works in the exhibition

Similar to other series of Bara, „Marilyn“ is about slipping into already existing pictures. In Bara’s own words: „Marilyn is the title of a work for which I photograph Elisabeth, who – 40 years old and born in Monroe’s year of death – once again turned into the heroine of her teenage years. In the process, Elisabeth’s poses oscillate between an empathically and witty appropriation of her favorite Marilyn photos (by Bert Stern and André de Dienes) and ironically broken self-assertions. Elisabeth shows herself in her rural environment self-confidently self-staging herself spontaneously together with her chickens, dogs, cats, sheep, pumpkins … “ In the course of the sessions Elisabeth detaches herselves from the given poses of her role model – the reflection of Marilyn still resonating, but her own personality becoming vivid and visible. With these photographs Bara superimposes two biographies, offset in time and different by cultural background in order to gain insight into the structure of female representation and and the life plans associated accordingly. In her work Tina Bara appropriates, occupies and transforms „male photography“, which she takes out of its original context and uses as a basis for her communication with Elisabeth. The artist examines with her work whether new, personal identities could be developped independently of patriarchal power relations.

Prizes and Scholarships

From 1988 to 1989 she received the working scholarship from the Gesellschaft für Fotografie, Germany, followed in 1990 by a scholarship from the NGBK, Berlin. In 1992 she was awarded both the scholarship of the Berlin Senate and the working scholarship of the Cultural Fund and in 1993 she received a scholarship from the Körberstiftung, Germany.