SMArt Talks

Love, Art and Queer Spaces

Edit András: Amorous Nation

Ladislav Jackson: We Are Everywhere: Queer Spaces Between Ethics and Aesthetics

19. 4. 2023
Hans Belting Library

Edit András, PhD, art historian, art critic is a senior fellow at the Institute of Art History, Centre for the Humanities of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest (currently Eötvös Loránd Research Network); visiting professor of the Central European University, History Department. Her main field of research is: Eastern and Central European modern and contemporary art, art theory, critical theories, nationalism and populism, gender studies. She is a regular contributing critic in Hungarian and international art magazines (Artmargins, e-flux, IDEA. Arts+Society, Third text, Springerin), and was a long-year New York correspondent in various magazines. She is author of theoretical studies published in international catalogues and volumes. She is editor of numerous catalogues and books. She published two books with the selection of her own theoretical writings and essays in Hungarian (a third is forthcoming). She is a participant of numerous international conferences and workshops as invited lecturer and keynote speaker. She had courses and lectures all around the region (Iasi, Tallinn, Poznan, Bratislava, Vienna etc.) She is member of the advisory boards of the Piotr Piotrowski Research Center (Poznan) and the magazines Ars Hungarica, Artmargins, ART East/Central online Journal and The journal Kunstiteaduslikke uurimusi / Studies on Art and Architecture, Tallinn.

Amorous Nation

The presentation is about love-affairs with Socialism and Nationalism.

In the existing Socialism women were declared equal, and emancipation was regarded accomplished. However, the hero embodying the whole community was men by default even if the relationship between the male leaders and female members of the societies differed greatly in various Socialist countries.

As of nationalism, since it emerged at about the same time as the concept of masculinity, the nation state could be seen as a masculinist enterprise legitimizing the dominance of men over women. Nationalism and neo-nationalism are not even bothered with covering their gendered nature with their rhetoric; nation state is declaratively and essentially a hegemonic masculine institution.

The presentation explores the different attitudes of artists towards the leaders of Socialist states, such as Tito, during the time of Socialism and after wondering if the love towards the Alfa-man was a real one or rather a spell. What about the profound and eternal love for the fathers of the nation, whether carved in stone or existing as omnipresent, flesh and blood figures of our daily life?

The questions of who is the seducer and who is seduced, and also whose love is returned and whose is unrequited and thus doomed, will be posed.

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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