Manufacturer: Pierre Imans, Paris, 1927
This is Lulu. Angelika, actually. Marise, to be precise! You realise it’s complicated, because this wax figure, whose arms and lower body are missing, has had an eventful life. Her story goes like this:
In 1927, she is manufactured by Pierre Imans, a sought-after mannequin maker, in Paris. Imans is known for his portrait-like figures made of wax, and in his workshops real hair, glass eyes and teeth made of porcelain are used. In Imans’ sales catalogue, she is pictured together with 74 other female models and is called “Marise”. In 1973, the doll became part of the collection of the Werkbundarchiv – Museum der Dinge and was initially named “Angelika” after the director at the time, as its origin was initially unknown. Since 2007, she, i.e. the doll, has been on display in the permanent exhibition. Three years later, graphic designer David Turner sees her on the cover of an international design magazine and chooses her as the cover girl for the album Lulu, which Lou Reed records with the band Metallica inspired by Frank Wedekind’s play Lulu (1913) and Alban Berg’s opera of the same name (1937). The cover photos for the album are taken at the Museum der Dinge. For the release in October 2011, Lulu travels to New York in person. A dinner is held in her honour and numerous celebrity guests take selfies with her, she even has her own bodyguard that evening. Upon her return, it is decided that she will no longer be allowed to travel. Lulu’s wax skin is too fragile and she has lost too much hair.
Lulu or Angelika or Marise is currently part of the special exhibition “The Story of My Life. Object Biography as Concept, Method and Genre”, which can be seen at the Werkbundarchiv – Museum der Dinge until 4 September.