Artist statement and images by Martina Minette Dreier
‘On bees and beings (featuring Marian)’ 2016, oil/canvas by Martina Minette Dreier
Berlin-based artist Martina Minette Dreier is dealing with questions of identity and Sehnsucht (longing). Best known for her delicate portraits of gender variant persons, she has by now created around 80 life-sized paintings in oil on canvas, a technique formerly reserved solely for the royalty, the popes, and the gentry. Painted from life, these paintings are generating a representative force, talking about reputation, mightiness, importance, and dignity, and are thus claiming a social position gender outlaws can’t often take for granted.
Martina Minette Dreier explains:
‘The paintings are painted from life. I meet the model to get a first impression, exchange ideas, asking them for their favourite artists or paintings in history, for wishes to be depicted in a certain way, and just generally see if we get along.
The second meeting is sketching time. We often start with staging a historical painting – by for example Caravaggio or Michelangelo or Rubens, because they knew all the great poses. We explore the physical ability of my model to hold a certain pose, the possibilities to bend and fold and stretch and arrange the body to make it an interesting image. I do several sketches in a small scale, normally 25×25 cm, about 5 to 10 minutes each.
As soon as we have found the position, I draw it with charcoal on a 100×100 cm canvas. I need an average of 4 sessions, each about 3 hours, to paint the person – the background is done without the model being present, sometimes months after we have finished our joint work.
On bees and beings (featuring Marian) is a portrait of Berlin-based performer Marian. Marian used to be on stage as a drag king, singing melancholic songs while playing the accordeon, and I’ve done a portrait of him then, about 10 years ago. After his transition he was interested in being painted a second time, not as a stage persona but as himself. ‘
‘A shepherding moon (featuring Sigrid Grajek)’ 2017, oil/canvas by Martina Minette Dreier
‘Sigrid is a lesbian actress/singer/comedienne – perhaps best known for her impersonation of the famous lesbian singer/comedienne Claire Waldoff, a star in The Weimar Republik. This portrait shows the actress after the show, transforming herself from Claire back to Sigrid. It all started with a portrait of just Sigrid as herself, back then I approached her and asked her to sit for a painting, and after we finished it, Sigrid herself suggested to depict her various personaes as well. – Right now (2017) we are doing a portrait of her starring as another one of her charakters, Coco Lorès, an elderly Lady with big spectacles and sensible shoes, singing with her guitar. ‘
‘Le royaume éternel du coeur (featuring Dieter Rita Scholl)’ 2015, oil/canvas by Martina Minette Dreier
‘Dieter Rita, or short Dita, is a queer actor who lately starred in the much praised short film “Cold Star”. Dita is devoted to late french singer Dalida, impersonating her on stage, singing her songs while telling her story.’