Claudia Reinhardt

expose/ indroduction

publised in Killing Me Softly - Todesarten, Aviva Verlag/Berlin   
It was the suicide of Sarah Kane in 1999 which first started my preoccupation with the subject female artists who killed themselves. Sarah Kane, a britsh writer, committed suicide at the age of 28. At that point she had written only five theaterplays but was already famous worldwide.
Her death was a shock for me. I just noticed her work few month before she died and I was deeply impressed and touched by her writtings. I couldn`t get her death out of my mind. I realized that many other female artists who are important for me, my work and my live, committed suicide as well. I had to deal with that and as an artist working with staged photos - often with myself - I started with the series which I called "Killing Me Softly- Todesarten".
In these photos I tried to imagine their last moment and photographed myself in the roles of these personalities.
My subjective sympathies and my interest in the work and biographies of the artists determined the selection of the particular death scenes recreated.
What was important was the staging of these photos, not at all an authentic depiction of the act itself, but rather the personal creation of a legend, one based on bygone legends.
Throughout this project, a discussion and collaboration with the authors in the book began whom I am connected to both in spirit and in friendship.







Sarah Kane, 1971-1999, British playwrighter,
hung herself in the bathroom. Only 28 years of age, she became instantly
famous for a plays and writings provoking scandals all over the world due to explicit decriptions of violence and destruction.



Clara Immerwahr, 1870-1915, German chemist
and pacifist. Her husband Fritz Haber developed the posion gas that was
used in the first World War. Clara Immerwahr shot herself with the gun of her husband as a protest and as a result of powerlessness. She did so in their garden.



Anne Sexton, 1928-1974, American poet,
she discoverd lifesaving quality of writing. A few years later, however, she
would put on her mother's fur coat, go to the gargage, sit down in her luxury car and then start the engine...



Karin Boye,1900-1941, Swedish poet and writer,
wrote poems and two novels. She fell in love with a jewish German and fellow woman writer. Together they experienced the Nazi Regime. She killed herself with posion on a hill overviewing the Swedish valley of Alingsås.



Pierre Molinier,1900-1974, artist, photographer,
shot himself infront of the mirror and in this way put an end to the fight
with masculine identity. His photo work shows himself in the mascarade of



Adelheid Duvanell, 1936-1996, Swiss writer,
went out in the forest where she would take poison and eventually freeze to death in the strangely cold summernight.



Unica Zürn, 1916-1970, German writer,
after being sent back from the psychiatric ward she jumped out of the
window of the apartment of her partner and lover, Hans Bellmer.



Ingeborg Bachmann, 1926-1973, German writer,
burned in her bed as a consequence of falling asleep with a cigarette
burning. It i still not sure if it was a dramatical accident or if it was suicide.



Sylvia Plath, 1932-1963, American writer,
is regarded as one of the most significant writers of the 20th Century.
She stuck her head in the oven leaving a goodbye letter for the house maid asking her to prepare breakfast for her two children sleaping next door.






Diane Arbus, 1923-1971, American photographer,
killed herself by cutting her wrists open in the bathtub in her studio. According to the legend she photographed herself suiciding.