When I draw myself, I exist threefold

In her atelier, the ninety-year-old Florentina Pakosta talks art, money and navigating 1960s Vienna as a woman painter. Echoing Pakosta’s description of her self-portraiture practice, Wenn ich mich zeichne, existiere ich dreifach shows the artist posing and grimacing before a mirror as she answers the filmmaker’s queries, the camera framing her reflection. Part of Christiana Perschon’s series on pioneering women artists living in Vienna, the film crafts a personal interpretation of its subject’s aesthetics to create a formally aware archive of female creativity and an attentive study of a fellow portraitist. (Salvador Amores, Viennale 2023)

"Freedom is not given to you ­– you have to take it". What Meret Oppenheim once proclaimed could also serve as the unifying principle of the generation of female artists to whom Christiana Perschon has dedicated her film portrait cycle initiated in 2014. And it makes sense that no two portraits are the same: Perschon's cinematic approach to each of her "chosen soulmates" is the result of an empathic collaboration, each time requiring the finding of a new form. In When I draw myself, I exist threefold, Perschon's camera focuses on the painter and drawing artist Florentina Pakosta as she sits before her age-old mirror and mediator of a lifetime of self-portraits. The artist wears a grotesquely distorted self-portrait mask, while Perschon's camera watches the reflection of the artist watching herself watching. The resulting multiplication of the gaze probes and questions the extent to which identity is constituted through the gaze of the other. What Pakosta describes in the film as an indispensable means of self-assurance in her past struggle for social and artistic independence - her artistic self-mirroring - here becomes a visually performative act of liberation by the now 90-year-old artist. She is captured in strictly constellated visual details, in which Pakosta inscribes herself within the framework of mirrors and paintings. The result is an homage to a feminist pioneer (among the first women elected to the Secession's board of directors) who has created the necessary freedom to determine her own image. Self-determined, flirtatious and playful, she chooses different poses and masks as transformations of her self and as means of reinventing herself again and again along the way. When Pakosta asks at the end, it is put in a nutshell, "The camera is rolling, all the time". Laughter. (Heike Eipeldauer)

Orig. Title
Wenn ich mich zeichne, existiere ich dreifach
12 min
Orig. Language
WIMZEID_01 (Image)
WIMZEID_02 (Image)
WIMZEID_03 (Image)
Christiana Perschon
Concept & Realization
Christiana Perschon
Supported by
Bundesministerium für Kunst, Kultur, öffentlicher Dienst und Sport / Federal Ministry for Arts, Culture, the Civil Service and Sport, Wien Kultur, Niederösterreich Kultur
Available Formats
DCP 2K flat (Distribution Copy)
Aspect Ratio
Sound Format
5.1 surround
Frame Rate
24 fps
Color Format
Festivals (Selection)
Viennale - Vienna Int. Film Festival
Graz - Diagonale, Festival des österreichischen Films