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b. 1935, Romania

Irina Ionesco Biography

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.

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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.

Irina Ionesco Featured Artworks

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Fafa by Irina Ionesco contemporary artwork photography
Irina Ionesco Fafa, 1972 Gelatin silver print
26.5 x 27.7 cm
Reflex Amsterdam Contact Gallery
Fafa by Irina Ionesco contemporary artwork photography
Irina Ionesco Fafa, 1972 Vintage silver gelatin print on fibre paper
Reflex Amsterdam Contact Gallery
Fafa, Le Coeur Percé by Irina Ionesco contemporary artwork photography
Irina Ionesco Fafa, Le Coeur Percé, 1970 Vintage silver gelatin print on fibre paper
40.3 x 59.4 cm
Reflex Amsterdam Contact Gallery
Litanie pour une amante funebre by Irina Ionesco contemporary artwork photography
Irina Ionesco Litanie pour une amante funebre, 1974 Vintage silver gelatin print on fibre paper
26.3 x 39.3 cm
Reflex Amsterdam Contact Gallery
Fafa by Irina Ionesco contemporary artwork photography
Irina Ionesco Fafa, 1970 Vintage silver gelatin print on fibre paper
59.4 x 40.3 cm
Reflex Amsterdam Contact Gallery
Vampire by Irina Ionesco contemporary artwork photography
Irina Ionesco Vampire, 1970 Vintage gelatin silver print
38.9 x 27.9 cm
Reflex Amsterdam Contact Gallery
Model with umbrella by Irina Ionesco contemporary artwork photography
Irina Ionesco Model with umbrella, 1975 Vintage gelatin silver print on fibre paper
37.5 x 24.6 cm
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Reflex Amsterdam
La Mort Amoureuse by Irina Ionesco contemporary artwork photography
Irina Ionesco La Mort Amoureuse, 1985 Vintage silver gelatin print on fibre paper
Reflex Amsterdam Contact Gallery

Irina Ionesco Recent Exhibitions

Irina Ionesco Represented By

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