The Wounded Woman Story
Photo Essay, Photography & Storytelling. A biography, a tragedy and the overcome. A Martyrdom of Life – dedicated to all the wounded women in the world.
At the age of eight years she was raped by one of her mother’s steadily changing friends. Her mother committed suicide at age of 30. The public welfare put her to a boarding school, and soon she and her sister were passed on to foster parents on a farm where both were treated like ‘cheap farm helpers’ , not like beloved kids.
Thereafter she went to Vienna, Austria’s capital – a young, inexperienced, but pretty girl from the country side exposed to the jungle of Austria’s largest city. Very soon she was introduced to the wrong people and spent some time in a gang.
In her twenties she was married to a very violent guy who was drunken 7 days a week and who spent most of his time in prison. He bashed her in a regular way, broke her nose, threw her out of the window and tried her to kill in the bathtub. She survived 4 assassinations by him. She decided to escape and leaved the guy together with the 5 years old son.
Her husband got mad, splashed a bottle of fuel at her and lighted her up. She incurred third degree-burns on her whole upper body. Her husband was put into prison and killed himself (or likely was killed by other prisoners).
After years of hospitalization she decided to start to work as a nurse by herself in Austria’s largest hospital, helping others. Besides her day job she does modelling as a semi-professional. Up to her 40′s there have been only very few sunny days in her life.
In collaboration with Austria’s leading female magazine ‘Woman’ she wrote down her first auto-biography entitled ‘Willkommen in der Hölle’ (Welcome to Hell). The book is available in German language only.
The photographs shown are especially dedicated to the tragedy of her life. Some of the images will be used to illustrate the upcoming book. And the images will be used in small exhibitions, underlining her book readings and signings.
People might think the images are all about erotic, or at least too erotic. Sexual violence was always a part of her life, and she was raped more than once, including forced sex by her husband. Some of the images should be viewed with that in mind.
“Provoking work that invites you into the world of Reinfried Marass. Beautiful Art Photos. I found the story on “The Wounded Woman Project, A Martyrdom of Life” very moving, especially as a woman. I find Reinfried has shot her with a delicate and insightful hand. In the photo of “Welcome to Hell” , it seems to hold an inner eye. The wall is broken like her on the side that is darker. The other side is less broken and is near the light. She, still touching the darker side is now mainly on the lighter side and is facing the light, a sign of hope. She reminds me a bit of Edith Piaf, who also had a very difficult life. I thank Reinfried Marass for sharing his eye of the world. I hope he finds time to do more work, like the photos of her” – Sharon
“I was taught early on in life that art should be functional. Art should tell a story and the art of storytelling – a dying art it seems – was fully accomplished in “The Wounded Woman Project, A Martyrdom of Life” and for that, I am most grateful. It is beautiful work and for sure, many will see it as an exploration of eroticism or artsy photography without delving deeper into the symbolism or the actual story — another form of whitewashing. What struck me is the photographer, Reinfried Marass, actually did the work and set out to show or tell her story through photographs. No flinching, no camera games, just images filled with symbolism that will lead you from despair to triumph.” – Angela Odom / State & Lake
“Reinfried Marass paints the inner world of her on a photographic canvas. The photos make you feel her experiences. He takes you on a trip through her life of despair, hard knocks, wrecks and then on to reflection, life wisdom & exhilaration for living the life of a lady” – Muse Memo
“Amazingly beautiful and vivid photos. The story is as compelling as the photos. He captures much depth in his photos and has a genuine artistic eye which allows the viewer as closest to the soul of his subject as possible” – Cher / Writer
Broken Barbie Doll
A poem by Annie Rink after the photograph “Broken Barbie Doll” by Reinfried Marass.
She sits on the dirty ground / torso propped against a peeling wall / head pinned there / hair weeping onto her face / her arms spread apart to the sides.
A brown wrapping paper / shudders in her left hand / the fingers of her right / clasp a detached steering wheel / as if clutching the wrist of a toddler / who’s veered off the pavement.
Her black heel has slid sideways off her foot / and panders the high arch / with the leer of the clinging strap.
Her breasts hang like large medals / beneath her pleated top / and what of her vulva / is it ripped at the seams like the white cotton skirt / that barely covers it / what of her womb / tender core of her being / the cigarette butts / clustered around her other foot.
A mass of sperm about the ovum / the full beer packs that lie beside her / like small coffins.
Does her body yearn upwards / will she make a helix of herself / as she did between many men’s sheets?
A Seed For Your Broken Soil
Photography and fiction. Fiction by contemporary artists Shadia Alem and Raja Alem after the photograph ‘Welcome To Hell’ by Reinfried Marass from the series ‘The Wounded Woman’.
Here is the story of a Shaman who is gifted with visions of the future, and guides the broken with his sight, through their troubled times. He is a creator with a totemic lens, which gives him a chance to bring out the bright identity of the broken to the light.
In the darkness of night, a broken Barbie weeps: “My flesh was violated and my heart has been damaged. A dark evil harassed me and abused me. My porcelain world was wrecked and began to crack and break.”
The Creator Shaman was passing by when he heard her weeping, and reflected in his totemic lens her pieces falling apart. He saw her but could not say anything to make her feel better. He went away. On the following moon he came back and placed his totemic lens on the ground under her eyes blind with tears.
The Creator Shaman: “I am a gifted warrior who saw inside you, I communicated with your visible and invisible wounds. See here, you are broken but not dead!”
She was startled under his fierce penetrating hawk eyes. “Don’t be locked into your grief!” he ordered her.
She trampled and swallowed her tears, “I am crushed by that evil, sucked into the darkness out of fear!”
The Creator Shaman: “Do not be, my expert eyes look deep into your wounds and finds much richness, you can be transformed by the renewal of your soul soil.”
The Broken Barbie: “So you can see that I am cracked, I am weak, for the hurts haven’t passed away yet?”
The Creator Shaman: “Forget what lies in the past, and reach forward, to what lies ahead.”
The Broken Barbie: “I am doomed to helplessness and pain.”
The Creator Shaman: “I boost your weaknesses with my powerful buffs, for power is made perfect in weakness. Would you allow me to guide and strengthen you, I will uphold you with my righteous skilled hand and visionary powerful totemic lens.”
The Broken Barbie: “Uphold me, if that will liberate me from my fear. “
The Creator Shaman: “Do all you can to develop your wings and your feathers. Each one who has wings will fly off to immortality.”
The Broken Barbie: “Strength is what we make of each other.”
The Creator Shaman: “A strong woman is a woman standing on tiptoe, shrugging her shoulders and lifting her head. My totemic lens will glorify the creator in your broken, strong body; and by serving creativity you will channel your tears into the immortal book of Powerful Beings. Just let our own light shine.”
The Broken Barbie: “Despair beats down and crushes the soul but art has the power to heal and reminds us that we have one.”
The Creator Shaman: “Here is a seed for you, so you can plant in the broken soil. Buff; my creativity resurrects you once every blink, this is the speed of my shutter!”
A Click Of An Atom – By Raja Alem
The materials fall in this tableau, for the eye to care only for the overall beauty of this captured energy of body within bodies within the photographer’s eye, the atoms are rearranging themselves to his click, summing their dynamic, to form a tableau within the tableau, the whole is showing through the cracks of body, like dawn’s cracks in the pitch-dark-night.
The whole is captured here and forever, beyond whatever camouflage of body within bodies of nature, of manmade decay, of cracks and mend, of fire, and rebirth.
Bodies are nothing but a mirage… the creator puts us face to face with our wholeness, challenging:
“Who says there is a break, what is a break? When there is nothing but these kaleidoscopic atoms at play, I play their mirages back and forth to life.”
Makkah sisters Shadia and Raja Alem are some of the most acknowledged contemporary artists in the Arabic world. Shadia Alem, the visual artist, represented the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on it’s debut at ‘La Biennale di Venezia 2011′ with her ‘Black Arch’ installation. Raja Alem, the writer, is the author of numerous published novels and was awarded with the prestigious ‘Arabic Booker price 2011′ for her novel ‘The Dove’s Necklace’.
‘The Wounded Woman Story’ in Austria’s ‘WOMAN’ magazine
Based on this essay and it’s corresponding photographs, the WOMAN magazine runs a 3-page story in the February 03/2009 issue, titled ‘Model in spite of scars’.
The feature is about her life, her model career, her first autobiography ‘Willkommen in der Hölle’ (Welcome to Hell), her upcoming new book, and about the actual ‘Wounded Woman Project’.
WOMAN, published bi-monthly, is Austria’s leading and largest women- and lifestyle magazine with 540.000 readers.