The solo show Marilyn & Me Me took place at Gallery Projekt in Copenhagen in 2004 and consisted of all works from my Marilyn project 1999 – 2004. A catalogue with essays by Bo Nilsson and Lilian Munk Rösing was being produced in conjunction with the exhibition. Also a number of events took place, among them a lecture by scholar Peter Borum about Roland Barthes in relation to my photography and a reading by the actress and writer Anna Neye.
By Bo Nilsson.
“In Peter Brandt’s artistic productions, Marilyn is not a purposeless visitor, but a constant reference point that seems almost like an obsession. The distanced stance to Marilyn that characterizes the artists above is not to be found in the works of Peter Brandt. Instead there is a confidence, close to the intimate or something that can almost be described as a loving relationship. Bert Stern’s famous pictures of Marilyn inspire three photographs with the title ”Marilyn & Me”, 2000. In the photographs Peter Brandt is wearing a wig and a dash of make-up and is portraying Marilyn, who is studying her face in a mirror. But it is not a regular male projection, but more likely a question of identification – a will to understand the feminine. Marilyn’s heterosexual femininity is so extravagant that it appears to be an act, which makes her excellent material for phenomena such as look-a-likes and drags. Marilyn’s performed femininity can also be compared to the identity she constructed, when she left Norma Jeane Mortensen and became Marilyn Monroe.
In the slightly larger photo series ”Andy Warhol, Marilyn Monroe & Peter Brandt”, 2001, which was commissioned for the exhibition ”My Marilyn” at Liljevalchs Konsthall in Stockholm, 2002, Bert Sterns photographs once more inspire Peter Brandt. In full body photographs the artist himself is posing with a typical feminine body language, accompanied by feminine accessories such as fur jacket, feather boa and scarf. Wearing an Andy Warhol-wig, he commingles Bern Stern’s photographs with Christopher Mako’s pictures of Andy Warhol. In one of the photographs, the artist is wearing sunglasses, one of Andy Warhol’s accessories in the early 1960’s. These photographs are not just about female and male, but about different identities that he makes his own. In other words, a sort of third personality, where the male and female are facing each other with the result of becoming something in between. Peter Brandt’s creation can be related to the so-called queer research that claims that our gender identity is not determined by nature, but is an thoroughly rehearsed role. Thereby we are not born as neither man nor woman but instead trained as one or the other, which makes it possible for women to appear as men and men as women. (Bo Nilsson, extract the essay Peter Brandt and Marilyn=True from from the catalogue Marilyn & Me, page 10, 2004).