The high-society grifter Anna Sorokina, who briefly convinced New York elites that she was a billionaire heiress named Anna Delvey, is now the subject of a new installation by the artist Cynthia Talmadge at Soft Opening in London (until 24 November). Situated in the gallery’s idiosyncratic space within Piccadilly Circus Underground station, Four Courtroom Outfits of Anna Delvey (2019) consists of a dressing screen behind which a rotating windmill-like mechanism "throws up" in quick succession replicas of four outfits that Sorokina wore in her highly publicised court trial.
“People are obsessed with the case because it hits so close to home,” says Talmadge. “As young women we constantly battle with feelings of fraudulence. Anyone who is hustling in the creative industries can relate to her.” In focusing on Sorokina's clothes, Talmadge says she hopes to place the Russian convict within a wider legacy of women such as Lindsay Lohan and Winona Ryder, whose court outfits were also heavily scrutinised by news outlets, questioning our “tabloid fascination” with the aesthetics of high-profile female criminals.
Unsurprisingly, reports of the fraudster throwing tantrums in jail over an "unsatisfactory" Ann Taylor dress presented by her (pro-bono) stylist have only added to the frenzied cult status of Sorokina and her sartorial choices, which have garnered their own Instagram page (@annadelveycourtlooks). Speaking of her favourite court room outfit, Talmadge reveals "it is definitely the snakeskin pattern dress. She literally dressed as a snake as she was on trial for fraud. That is bold."
Antonia Marsh, the gallery’s director, confirms that this work is for sale, but adds that she may subject any potential buyer's credit history to a particularly keen scrutiny.