The Body, Language, Labour and Ritual: Embodied Resistance, Mutual Recognition and the Political Potential of De-culturation

Vanessa Parent, Ph.D.

My project investigates the work of women artists in the 1970s in Austria and Italy, as well as the social and political circumstances, and feminist theoretical perspectives that informed them. This study makes a claim for the enduring political potential offered by post-1968 streams of feminist thought from outside the dominant Anglo-American tradition through their recuperation in contemporary art practices, further testifying that, for persons marked with a difference in bodily category, the personal is still deeply political. The works examined, on the one hand, mobilize corporeality to engage with the abstract processes that determine bodies and make them intelligible, and on the other, they deploy alternative ways of knowing and modes of annotation to challenge the structural conditions and historical disciplining that shape the concrete lived-experience of an imposed corporeal difference. I am interested in unpacking the wider political stakes presented by these artists’ insistence on exposing and disrupting the body's mediation by discourse, culture and capital.
Artists under investigation include Tomaso Binga, Libera Mazzoleni, Suzanne Santoro, Verita Monselles, VALIE EXPORT, Birgit Jürgenssen, Friedl Kubelka, Chiara Fumai, Claire Fontaine, Carola Dertnig and Elke Krystufek.

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