SMArt Talks

We Are Everywhere: Queer Spaces Between Ethics and Aesthetics

Ladislav Jackson

The lecture took place on  19 April 2024 in the Hans Belting Library

Whatch the lecture recording

PhDr. Ladislav Jackson, Ph.D., is an art and architectural historian. He’s a fakulty member of the Department of History and Theory of Art, Faculty of Fine Arts, Brno University of Technology. He teaches global and local 20th Century Art History and critical theory (gender and queer studies and critical race studies). He’s an author o ran editor of numerous books, lately Myth of an Architect: Jan Kotěra 150 (with Helena Čapková). He has two forthcoming books, Philosopher of Structures on a Czech/American architect and engineer Jaroslav J. Polívka and a book Images of Queer Desires on queering the art history and visual studies in Czech lands. He also works as a curator, recently, he curated exhibitions Philosopher of Structures (Brno 2021 and Prague 2022) and Shapes, Colors, Comfoirt: Furniture Ji tona (Cheb 2018, Soběslav 2020 and České Budějovice 2022).

We Are Everywhere: Queer Spaces Between Ethics and Aesthetics

Based on his forthcoming book Images of Queer Desire (Vutium 2023), art historian Ladislav Jackson reimagines queer visuality, queer memory and queer citizenship in terms of queer spaces. This perspective offers a more complex way to look at material culture than an analysis of separate visual objects, and helps to reclaim the potential of  queer iconography. Considering the material nature of queer history, such as paintings, sculptures, photographs, decorations, furnishings, magazines etc., we can localize queer lives and communities in time and space in order to understand the hierarchies in which the queer lives and queer social networks were trapped. Assessing the spatial conditions for performing queerness in the life and work of actors such as Toyen, Jan Zrzavý, Jiří Karásek ze Lvovic, Miloš Havel and Ladislav Fuks, Jackson argues that queer spaces reveal other intersections, such as class, gender, education, cultural capital and political activities that impacted these artists’ expression and sociability. Through the perspective of queer spatiality, therefore, material and cultural production becomes determined by queer ethics, not aesthetics, and thus moves beyond patriarchal and white notions of “high art”.

Author unknown, illustration from a queer novel written by a lesbian author Jana Mattuschová City of Men (Město mužů), 1931.

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