Art in the Elevator: Manon. She Was Once Miss Rimini
In her work, the Swiss performance and installation artist Manon (1940 Bern, CH – Zurich and Glarus, CH) explores the ambivalent play of identities and self conceptions. Her photo series zoom in on gender images and forms of self-mythologization. In a boudoir modeled on her Zurich bedroom, first presented in 1974 under the title Das lachsfarbene Boudoir (The salmon-colored boudoir), she combines art and life into a total work of art.
The video Einst war sie Miss Rimini (She once was Miss Rimini) is the restaging of a set of self-portraits by the artist, originally conceived as a photo series and slide show, which present her—as part of the larger boudoir installation—in changing stereotypical female roles, ranging from photojournalist to psychiatric patient, housewife, and vamp. The starting point is the fictional story of a former beauty queen who happened to be crowned “Miss Rimini” while on holiday in Italy in the 1970s. What became of this “Miss Rimini”? What paths in life might she have taken? Where might she have put down roots? Based on a wide range of hypothetical women’s lives, Manon explores various stereotypical notions of femininity and demonstrates just how much the perception of female identity is informed by social norms.