In the 1970s and '80s, Irina Ionesco developed a keen and intense eye for women and their seductive allure. The impact of her nude photographs, with their enigmatic and timeless aura,reached well beyond the gaze of male viewers. Indeed, artists like Irina Ionesco helped to establish a new type of woman: a sensual and ambivalent embodiment of the unconventionality and permissiveness of the times.Read More
Ionesco's erotic productions evade simple categorisation as only portraits, fashion, or nudes. Instead they are a composite, in which the photographer explores the dualism of revealing and concealing, and plays subtly with the lewd and the louche. Ionesco outfitted her female models in lingerie and fur stoles, veiled them in tulle and netting, adorned them with opulent jewels and flowers, and posed their semi-nude bodies in nocturnal, neo-surrealist settings, often in front of mirrors.
The models donned costume after costume before Ionesco's camera, against the ever-changing backdrop of her small stage. Unconventional props, half-object, half-decoration, and theatrical make-up underpinned her subject's personality, indeed, role. Pictured mostly alone, they play the role of femme fatale among others, staged by the photographer, their director.
Ionesco's complex, often dark arrangements function like a theatre play in several acts, or a movie, captured frame by frame. Yet the decisive element in her refined black-and-white images remains the partial nudity and immediate sensuality of the female models.
In collaboration with Zoo Magazine Reflex Amsterdam organised the retrospective exhibition Ma Réalité Rêvée in 2016, and published an extensive catalogue of Ionesco's work with an essayby Matthias Harder (Helmut Newton Foundation, Berlin). Reflex Amsterdam exclusively represents the work of Irina Ionesco worldwide.
Text courtesy Reflex Amsterdam.