WARSAW.- Ulrike Ottinger (b. 1942) is one of Germany's most original independent world-class directors who gained renown with her extravagant and surreal pirate film, Madame X - An Absolute Ruler (1977). In her early films, such as Image of Dorian Gray in the Yellow Press (1984), Ottinger, in a punk love for all things kitsch and over-the-top, often employs icons of the German pop-underground in male roles, e.g. Tabea Bluenschein, Magdalena Montezuma, Veruschka von Lehndorff or Nina Hagen, actors from Werner Fassbinder's films and world-famous actresses like Delphine Seyring. Her later work, beginning with the film Johanna D'Arc of Mongolia (1989), shows a deep interest in Eastern cultures and ponders the ability to translate ancient traditions into the language of contemporary culture. It is characterized by Expressionist treatment of costume, composition and the search for unusual locations. In her latest part-documentary, Prater (2007), Ottinger returns to the issue of marginalization of the ill-adapted through the prism of the most famous amusement park, but it also talks of the need for laughter and simple entertainment as basic human needs. Ottinger is the director, cinematographer, script writer and producer of all her films. The large-format photographs taken whilst working on a film have their own unique character. As a result of a trip through China and Mongolia, images from these regions appear frequently in Ottinger's work. Her interests focus on things that are absurd, non-sequitur, and grotesque. Intense color is an unusual background contrast with rough construction of the image. Storyboards, journals, and collages of notes illustrate the filmmaking process.
Ulrike Ottinger has received numerous film awards. She has worked with opera and theater. Her film retrospectives have been presented in Paris, New York as well as in 1997 in Warsaw. Her photography has been selected as part of group exhibitions, e.g. Venice Biennale (1980), Documenta X (1997) and XI (2002), III Berlin Biennale (2004), as well as individual shows including Chicago, Rotterdam, Madrid, Berlin and New York.
The exhibition at CCA presents a series of film images in a museum landscape and was brought together in direct cooperation with the artist. The exhibition was first presented in autumn 2007 at Deutsche Kinemathek - Museum für Film und Fernsehen. It consists of 100 pieces related directly to the artist's film work: photographs, collages, costumes, elements of stage design, film scripts and screenings.