Columbia University in the City of New York

Harriman Institute

A photo of Irene Caesar. His head is protruding from an artwork with a round hole in the middle.



Irene Caesar: Anthropretation

“Anthropretation” is a show of work by the Russian-American conceptual artist and philosopher Irene Caesar (Ирина Цезарь).

The project “Anthropretation” is an encyclopedia of conceptual role games, staged as subversive performance and documented in photography and video. The word “Anthropretation” combines two concepts—Anthropology and Interpretation. Anthropretation is a new kind of psychoanalysis through art photography—a truly philosophical analysis of human society in myriad aspects, from individual to collective, from political to psychological, from conservative to libera.

Caesar came to prominence in Russia in the early 90s, when articles appeared about her in major Russian newspapers. As a way of questioning modern art, Caesar created a series of photographic portraits of some well-known critics, film directors, and artists, including Arthur Danto, Vitaly Komar, Alexander Melamid, Slava Tsukerman, and Vadim Perelman, which she produced as absurdist role games in the spirit of Beckett and Ionesco. Caesar participated in the dissident movement in Russia, was invited by Marina Salye to make a speech at the Founding Conference of the Free Democratic Party of Russia during the 1991 Putsch, and produced a series of portraits of important dissidents, including Elena Bonner, Alexander Esenin-Volpin, Pavel Litvinov, and others, which showed these nonconformists in nonconformist situations.