Photo of the Week: Anne Zahalka

Photo of the Week - 06.02.15
By Belinda Hungerford


This image of The Cleaner by Anne Zahalka was produced during a residency at the Kunstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin in the mid-1980s. It is part of a series titled Resemblance, consisting of 10 works of friends of the artist staged in the manner of 17th Dutch genre painting. 

The mise-en-scène of The Cleaner is strikingly authentic with the black and white floor reminiscent of Vermeer, the drapery and a bowl of still life on the table. The peeled lemon is a Dutch still life symbol for deceptive appearance - beautiful to look at but sour to taste. The kiwi fruit is a nod to Marianne’s homeland. Yet the anachronisms of the figure wearing modern clothing and headphones disrupt the nostalgia and enliven the image with contemporary jolt.

Zahalka desired to deconstruct the old masters that she was so familiar with growing up looking at reproductions, as well as her time in Berlin, in order to understand and reproduce them within a contemporary context using a contemporary medium. 


Image: © Anne Zahalka, The Cleaner (Marianne Redpath/performance artist), 1986, from the series 'Resemblance’, Cibachrome print, 80 x 80cm. Source: