The New York Optimist
February 2009

Alexander Viscio
Manfred Unger
Photography from Manfred Unger.

I haven’t been able to find the time to get one myself, but if I did I’d want to make sure that the tattoo
would make me look like any one from this troupe of “mystic” human beings in this suite of images by
Manfred Unger. Except perhaps for the hooded one that even though sports a zippered grin, I just
couldn’t get myself to accept this garment as a fitting accessory of adornment yet it remains a strangely
delicate touch for the feel of this ensemble of photographs.
There are few people I’ve seen that don’t give the impression that their tattoos are a knee jerk reaction
to their own pathos. I am almost certain that if I were to go to meet any one of Manfred’s subjects
buying milk or deodorant, clues would emerge of their eccentricity even under the stale lighting of Billa,
(Associated) or BIPA, (Duane Read). In other words, they deserve their gilding because it is obvious
that they are intrinsically interesting citizens of the “deep black underground” modelling cutting edge
couture from some of the more interesting Austrian designers.
In brief it all comes back to the photographer. Manfred Unger has been involved in the fashion scene as
a stylist for the past ten years and has made the cross over to photography via performance art. This
gives credence to the dramatic quality of the setting that frames the irrefutable serenity of the disposition
imbued by this cast you won’t find in any of the “Ink” Parlour reality shows on DMAX.
I can only imagine, what is usually a day of romantic indulgence and frivolity, as having a relatively
sombre tone this time around, presenting these images as poignant portraits of contemporary martyrdom
that emit a ring befitting the occasion giving the current mood around town.

Alexander Viscio
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