Mara Eggert

Theatre of Images

17 July to 4 October 2009

Mara Eggert is an integral part of German theatre and one of its most perceptive observers. Closely linked to the leading German playhouses for more than 40 years, she has worked as a photographer with a number of outstanding directors such as Hans Neuenfels, Ruth Berghaus and Robert Wilson.

Rather than as faithful chronicler of memorable theatre, opera, ballet or dance productions, she sees herself as someone who distils images of her own from the ephemeral events on stage, translating the artificiality of the stage into to a powerful new reality. She painstakingly prepares for each production, attending rehearsals, talking to the actors and directors and refining her technique as she prepares her course of action. This long process is crowned by her ‘paintings’ of the theatre. By stripping away the non-essential, she captures and preserves the freshness of the experience and quickens the viewer’s imagination.

In 2004 Mara Eggert was awarded the Maria Sibylla Merian Prize of the state of Hesse. A representative selection of 70 photographs provides a comprehensive introduction to the fascinating work of this outstanding theatre photographer.

"A mysterious system forms the basis of Mara Eggert's „Theatre of Images" The apparently unrelated images charge one another with an energy so immediate that to the viewer they convey the impression of being in a realm of fantasy invented specifically for him, and, page by page, they allow him the greatest possible associations and reveries. In this context, the names of the play, the opera, the actors, the singers, the stage, designer and the director are entirely unimportant. For his fantasy, the viewer requires no knowledge; he need only see the picture In the picture, the viewer is always the main character, whether as writer, composer, performer or simply spectator - in other words, exactly what he wants to be, only himself or, if he prefers, someone else.

Naturally, the well-informed viewer will recognize well-known women and men in important plays and operas, but that is as unsurprising as it is negligible with regard to the actual experience. For the true story lies behind the facts, information, knowledge, the words and music heard, far behind the contents stored in our memories; it is a blank page, so to speak, right before our eyes which open their lids for the first time, perhaps wakeful in the morninq, perhaps fatigued in the evening, sleepless at night, searching in the dark, squinting in the brightness.

The images are not frozen instants, which would be natural anyway, or rehearsed stagings. They are drafts, veritably shot and then carefully processed - drafts of the world, of inquiries into movement and space, proximity and distance, forms and unanswered questions, liberation from all too restrictive rigidity, confinement and reduction.

They aim to expand us, make us curious, make us hope. We draw strength, and a feeling of happiness grows inside us because we discover." (Hans Neuenfels)


Mara Eggert
Theater der Träume / Theatre of Images
german / english
224 pages,110 color illustrations
Format: 24 cm x 28 cm, paperback
ISBN: 978-3-7913-4384-6
published by: Prestel
Price: 29,90 EUR

Cataloguecover: Mara Eggert
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    Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland

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