Ulrike Rosenbach

1943 | Bad Salzdetfurth, Germany

German Video and Performance Artist.

It was through studying sculpture under the direction of Joseph Beuys at the Kunstakademie in Dusseldorf that Ulrike Rosenbach came into contact with the Happening and Fluxus movements of the 1970s. In her early career, she worked exclusively with performance, before becoming one of the pioneers of video art, realising situations on a closed circuit: she filmed and projected images simultaneously. Her body of work also has a graphic side, composed of photographs and drawings, and is above all an attempt at understanding her position as a woman in society. For this, she studies roles and representations attributed to women in art and community, integrating universal feminine characters into her work. As such, her approach can be considered feminist because she strongly critiques the patriarchy through mythical and popular figures such as deities, allegories and celebrities. In the video Don’t Believe I am an Amazon (1975), she highlights that the characteristics of females are constantly reduced to standard clichés in the collective imagination, notably in advertising, and proposes a new understanding of femininity. “I am a Madonna. I am an Amazon. I am a Venus. I am all of these and none of them,” said the artist while speaking of this work.

In the mid 1970s, U. Rosenbach founded the School for Creative Feminism, where she continued her work on deconstructing the feminine clichés intrinsic to our patriarchal culture. Other topics in her videos include childhood and the search for a feminine identity seen through the lens of mother-daughter relationships. She often films herself with her daughter, such as in Einwicklung mit Julia (1972), in which she attempts to symbolically reconstitute the conditions of pregnancy.

Diane-Sophie Girin

Translated from French by Katia Porro.

From the Dictionnaire universel des créatrices
© 2013 Des femmes – Antoinette Fouque
© Archives of Women Artists, Research and Exhibitions
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