Muted Beauty

Scrolling through 37-year old theatre actress Marlène Meyer-Dunker’s Instagram is like scrolling through a series of film stills from a 90s indie film like Gummo (1997). Each image feels like a pause in a sequence of events; you find yourself lingering on each, waiting to see what will happen next.

Marlene started out as a painter, working mainly with acrylics, and moved into taking photographs last year. This is evident in her photos; they have a clear, still quality—like well-composed paintings—and she uses light in a way that suggests she’s spent considerable time trying to replicate its effects.

Instagram is often awash with bright, colourful photos. Marlene—aka @reppink on the social media platform—subverts this. Colour is featured heavily throughout her Instagram feed, yet the overwhelming impression is muted and even grey. She manages to exhibit the profane and quotidian in a way that is unexpected, and her photos carry a sense of foreboding and intrigue. The vast majority of her photos feature a building of some description, either interior or exterior, but none of the photos are photos ‘of a building’—each image is more than the sum of its parts. She deals in partial views; we never see the full picture and that's what makes each image so intriguing.

Marlene is half-German and half-Spanish, she was born in Hamburg and has spent the past 15 years living in various German cities; Hamburg, Berlin, Heidelberg, Munich, Leipzig, Dresden and Lübeck among them. This pan-European identity feeds into her photographs; overall the Instagram feed is distinctly placeless. Sure, there is a whiff of eastern bloc in some photos, and if I had to guess where Marlene was based I’d probably say Germany, but every so often we get a peek of something distinctly un-germanic. A Miami-pink hotel, a flash of wall painted with bananas, Moroccan blue and red stairs and those cheap white plastic sun chairs that evoke Spanish beach holidays.

–All images courtesy of Marlène Meyer-Dunker

–To see more of her work, click here