| Dorothea Huelsmeier |
Dusseldorf, Germany (dpa) – It’s rare enough for identical twins to attend art school together, but the bond between Marina and Irina Fabrizius is tighter still: They co-paint their pictures.
The Fabrizius sisters even handed in a joint final project to graduate, very likely a first in the nearly 250-year history of the tradition-steeped Dusseldorf Academy of Fine Arts.
The two blondes, aged 33, who look very much alike with the exception of a barely noticeable birthmark on Marina’s cheek, also live together and often think in tandem.
When Marina starts a sentence, Irina finishes it – and vice versa.
“My sister would like to say exactly what I say,” said Marina … or maybe it was Irina. In any event, they both nodded. They did, however, receive separate diplomas.
Marina and Irina stood out from their fellow students in more ways than oneness, namely by already displaying a distinct artistic development.
Their landscape paintings, realistic at first, became increasingly abstract during their academy studies, which included a master class under a leading Austrian painter, Herbert Brandl.
The paintings are large, nearly monochrome, and radiate deep calm. Some have been sold to collectors, and even to professional footballers.
“Just being twins isn’t enough,” they said. “The paintings must have quality.”
Though Marina and Irina have had several exhibitions of their work, they’ve yet to achieve an artistic breakthrough, so they still support themselves with part-time jobs.
Like many of their fellow students, they were hoping to be noticed by gallery owners and collectors during the annual tour of the academy at the end of the winter semester, a kind of talent fair that traditionally draws tens of thousands of art lovers.
Born in Kostanay, Kazakhstan, the Fabrizius twins emigrated with their parents at age nine to the south-western German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg. They painted separately during childhood – but the same subject.
For their academy admission examination, they prepared two porfolios, each marked with half of the German word for “inseparable”.
At first they painted separately. When they began to co-paint, “we felt liberated,” they said. “It was a perfect painting.”
The duo chose a complex technique that lends itself especially well to painting together: Glaze, in which multiple layers of paint are applied to the canvas. Standing side by side over a period of more than six months, they applied 12 to 15 layers of their own, secret colour blends to the paintings for their final project.
“We’re joined in the paintings like a person with four hands,” they said.
And they’re disciplined as well, working in their studio at the academy from 9am to 6pm.
“We’re almost addicted to painting. It’s like a fever.”