It was high time for her idiosyncratic work to return to the public eye. The artist in question: painter and printmaker Bettina von Arnim, who made her comeback alongside her same-aged colleague Christa Dichgans in the German Pop exhibition held at Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt. So they did exist, the female German Pop artists. Yet the label doesn't entirely fit for Bettina von Arnim, who sees herself as more of a “New Realist”. The Städel Museum for one did recognize her potential; one of her pieces, a painting titled “Hosenträger” executed in 1970, part of the same group of works as her 1971 work “Verkehrswesen”, is on permanent view there. These kinds of characters return in her work time and again: odd figures with birdbrains, huge paws and strange technoid connectors attached to their hulking frames that seem to be wearing space suits. Looking back, Bettina von Arnim says: “I was subconsciously drawn to painting what I was afraid of, the inhuman. It was a naming of the unknown, a banning of fear, similar to the way churches in the Middle Ages showed paintings of demons, so that having seen themselves as though reflected in a mirror these would be startled and recoil.” Today her machine men look as visionary as they did when she first created them – despite, or possibly even because of, their retro look. When making them, the artist certainly did intend to make a feminist statement, to criticize the domineering demeanor and sexual innuendo men exhibited. Her works were conceived as political commentary, and they still function as such. The poet Bettina von Arnim, née Brentano, was the great-grandmother of the painter Bettina Encke von Arnim (1895-1971); who in turn was Bettina von Arnim's aunt. Bettina von Arnim was born in 1940 in Zernikow in Brandenburg. It seems possible that her dystopian paintings created in the late sixties and early seventies were informed by an inverted romanticism: The term cyborg had just been coined as Bettina von Arnim painted the threatening, two-faced nature of the man-machines in their polished shells, under which the dangerous inner workings can be made out.