The Biographies of Christiane Fichtner "Everything
I Could Be"
It is amazing where life can lead
With just two fixed points to start with - the date of birth and the
profession of artist - the artist Christiane Fichtner from Bremen lets
other people invent her biography for her, which she then turns into
pictures with the help of a make-up artist, costume designer and a photographer.
The 20 biographies written for her so far show the different paths Christiane
Fichtner’s life could have taken and demonstrate the breathtaking
diversity life has to offer. The authors display an enormous capacity
for invention: She is a world traveler, famous fashion designer or homosexual
feminist. Christiane Fichtner walks on many fascinating fictional paths,
be it as the daughter of a diplomat in Tokyo, the child of a German
immigrant family in Sao Paulo or born into a comfortable middle class
lawyer’s family in Hamburg. All the biographies logically culminate
in the study of art, or at least in experimenting with it for a short
Often these life stories take detours that lead to dubious destinations.
There is not always a happy end to the invented stories. The protagonist
ends as a drunk, commits suicide or is sent to a psychiatric institution.
Some authors construct happy outcomes nonetheless. For instance, after
a long period of suffering, Christiane finally lives carefree with someone
named Nick in London. She becomes a famous and highly esteemed director,
or she just realizes for herself that life has its highs and lows, stays
unpredictable till the end and simply has to be lived. Realizing this
can mean happiness, too.
Christiane Fichtner began this project in the year 2004 with her own
actual biography. Since then, she has demonstrated a good deal of trust
in the authors, whom she does not necessarily know. Her objective is
to turn each serious biography into a text and an accompanying picture
and integrate it into the series. For every biography, she works with
a new team who demonstrate, for their part, a huge creative potential
for developing images to fit the biographies.
The literary quality of the written résumés ranges from
tabular lists, poetic memories and interviews to self-portrayals in
the first person. Some of them even go as far as the year 2014 and describe
a fictive future.
It seems as if the artist lets go of her own will in this process, but
this is far from the case. Each person embodies Christiane Fichtner
herself. In the biographies, she proves her baffling ability to transform
herself, giving the pictures stability and credibility through her immediate