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Background Information about Sabine Dehnel
Dehnel’s Icons series portrays significant artists in an extraordinary way. What makes these portraits so outstanding is that Dehnel creates every single detail herself. She uses her models’ upper-bodies like a canvas, making them look like a painting in harmonious colors. The clothing, with its particular materials and forms, adds individual flair to each piece. For these articles of clothing, Dehnel uses color schemes from the portrayed artists (such as Frida Kahlo’s iconic red, blue, and gold), applying them with techniques that would do justice to the subjects. To craft Niki de Saint Phalle’s mosaic corset, Dehnel took an impression of the model. By hand and with great attention to detail, she then created its unifying appearance. At the heart of each of Dehnel’s photographs is a medallion containing a black-and-white portrait of an iconic figure from art history. These are the anchor to which the rest of the piece, and our interpretations of it, are tied. But even with knowledge of the artist who is represented in the piece, you can never explain all of the artwork’s enigmas. It remains open to interpretation. And don’t hold your breath for an explanation from Dehnel – part of her art is that it holds many secrets.