new-york

Ulrike Ottinger

David Zwirner | 519 West 19th Street

ULRIKE OTTINGER'S 1978 Portrait of Two Women Drinkers describes a silent encounter between strangers on opposite sides of a café window. The immaculately and fashionably dressed figure in bright yellow inside the café raises a glass of cognac to the shabby-looking woman outside, who touches the window in a gesture of eager longing. Ottinger, a prominent force in the New German Cinema, shot this picture during the making of her 1979 film Ticket of No Return, a meditation on Berlin and drinking. It is not a still from the movie: Ottinger describes her photographs as “visual notes” that help her develop the final product. In effect, they are an integral part of her process as a director, functioning much as sketches do for painters. But they also demonstrate her proficiency in another medium. Portrait of Two Women Drinkers and the more than seventy other photographs recently on view employ

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