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Ivonne Thein

Page 1 | Biography


The pose is a balancing act in Ivonne Thein’s photographic series “Thirty-Two Kilos.” Here, she deals with the pathological striving of girls and women in the US to be extremely thin. The background to this work is a phenomenon that had already emerged in the US in the 1990s with the Internet movement “Pro Ana,” which elevates anorexia nervosa to the status of a new, positive lifestyle for young women. In Thein’s series, she simultaneously calls the role of photography into question: in the case of Pro Ana, this medium is, on the one hand, a document providing compelling evidence, but on the other, it is a consciously manipulated image. Photography takes on a key role in this process, creating and constituting extreme body images and ideals of femininity—with a direct link to the developments on the Internet. The phenomenon of the Pro-Ana websites is a product of our present day and age, in which individuality is being replaced by a totalitarian typology of images.
Ivonne Thein employs the tools, modes of presentation, and superficiality of the fashion world in her visual language and compositional style. Furthermore, she has manipulated her photographs on the computer, turning slender models into anorexic bodies. Faceless and positioned in disconcerting poses, they oscillate in a transitory state between femininity and morbidity. The female figure in the hermetic photographs of Ivonne Thein is constructed, artificial – a doll. It is as artificial as the image of ideal physicality that so fatefully ensnares most people with eating disorders. Only through the exaggeration does a complex confrontation with traditional images of the female body become possible. Beyond this, Thein confronts the viewer with the question of the status and role of photography in the digital age.

Text by Heide Häusler



Ivonne Thein
Dusseldorf
Germany
Europe


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