Issue cover
23: The Force of Women

No. 23: The Force of Women

Managing editors: Katarzyna Bojarska, Iwona Kurz

Pola Dwurnik, porcelain figurines of artists from the Langwidere series, 2017, installation view. Courtesy of the artist

This issue was supported by the Polish Minister of Science and Higher Education, from the funds of the program for the popularization of scholarship in 2017, and by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage, from the Fund for the Promotion of Culture.

Table of Contents

Introduction

  1. The Force of Women

    ”The Force of Women”, View. Theories and Practices of Visual Culture 23 (2019), http://www.pismowidok.org/en/archive/power-of-women/the-force-of-women

    Introduction to no. 23

Viewpoint

  1. Women’s Cause in Poland

    Anna Baumgart, ”Women’s Cause in Poland”, View. Theories and Practices of Visual Culture 23 (2019), http://www.pismowidok.org/en/archive/power-of-women/kopia-sprawa-kobieca-w-polsce
  2. Maria Klassenberg. Ecstasies

    Katarzyna Kalwat, ”Maria Klassenberg. Ecstasies”, View. Theories and Practices of Visual Culture 23 (2019), http://www.pismowidok.org/en/archive/power-of-women/maria-klassenberg.-ecstasies

Close-Up

  1. Maria Lassnig: Becoming Female in History

    Katarzyna Bojarska, ”Maria Lassnig: Becoming Female in History”, View. Theories and Practices of Visual Culture 23 (2019), http://www.pismowidok.org/en/archive/power-of-women/maria-lassnig-becoming-female-in-history

    The author analyses Maria Lassnig’s visual autobiography, her creation of painterly temporalities and her record of bodily experiences. The article concentrates on Lassnig’s experiencing her historicity and her distinctive way of feminizing the process of its construction. Her historicity is seen here as framed by the ways she measures the distance between her experience as a woman and the medium of painting, herself and other women artists, her forms of visual resistance and struggles vis-à-vis theirs. Lassnig performs her historicity in painting (and on the canvas) in the timespan of decades and in relation to other forms of female autobiographical performances in the sphere of the visual, social and political. This relational perspective remains crucial for positioning of Lassnig on the map of the feminist critique of both image and history. The author looks at some of the artist’s self-portraits as stages in a lifelong work of self-reflection and self-inscription into the world and painting, as well as conversely, of the inscription of the world and painting onto woman’s history and her body.

    keywords: Maria Lassnig; feminism; visual autobiography; painting

  2. You, Me, We: Encountering Art, Autobiography and ‘Potential Space’ in the Present

    Joanne Morra, ”You, Me, We”, View. Theories and Practices of Visual Culture 23 (2019), http://www.pismowidok.org/en/archive/power-of-women/you-me-we

    In order to critically interrogate the conditions in which we live, and the world around us, feminists have turned to the complexity of their own experience. As we have learned, the time of autobiography is key to its political function: the occasional is the time of prefatory critical reflection (Nancy K. Miller); the belated is the time of the anecdotal (Jane Gallop); the after-effect is the time of belated surprise (Shoshana Felman). But what of the present moment?

    In this article, Morra proposes that the representation of the temporal, spatial and historical present is a powerful form of critique. Bringing to bear Maria Lassnig’s art practice onto feminist theories of autobiography, Morra suggests that the potential space of the present (D.W. Winnicott) is fundamental to autobiography’s ability to provide us with a form of individual and collective feminist resistance.

    keywords: Maria Lassnig; autobiography; feminist theory; feminist resistance

  3. Maria Lassnig’s “Kopfheiten.” Self-Analysis in Words and Images

    Kalina Kupczyńska, ”Maria Lassnig’s Kopfheiten”, View. Theories and Practices of Visual Culture 23 (2019), http://www.pismowidok.org/en/archive/power-of-women/maria-lassnigs-kopfheiten

    The article captures the autobiographical work of Maria Lassnig – her self-portraits, diaries, poems – in the context of trends present in Austrian art in the years 1950–1980. The artist's self-analysis reveals through a variety of forms such diverse inspirations as Vienna Actionism, avant-garde and experimental literature of Vienna – Mayröcker, Wiener – to the philosophy of Leiblichkeit by Hermann Schmitz. A characteristic feature of Lassnig's self-analysis is not only transmediality and related aspects of the translatability of an individual body language into figurative and abstract forms, colours and words, but also a clear distance from the approach to corporality in terms of gender.  

    keywords: Maria Lassnig, self-portrait, Austrian modern and contemporary art, self-analysis

Panorama

  1. Crazy

    Mignon Nixon, ”Crazy”, View. Theories and Practices of Visual Culture 23 (2019), http://www.pismowidok.org/pl/archiwum/2019/23-sila-kobiet/wariactwo

    Wilfred Bion, a mid-twentieth-century pioneer of the psychoanalysis of groups, described a group as the repository of the mad parts of ourselves. The group helps us to tame our madness, but it may also exaggerate it, reviving infantile trends, and an anxious group will typically select its maddest member as its leader. The mad leader is a kind of baby king, an avatar of our infantile past, who licenses a departure from reality and, in particular, a denial of our own badness. That is to say, the mania of a mad president relieves us of the responsibility to mourn. Afflicted as we are by a manic negation of reality—the realities of climate change, nuclear armaments, the pain of others—Nixon argues that we also live in a time of mass melancholia. For the author the confrontation of such a psychical reality of melancholia is necessary for our survival, and writers, teachers, and artists must help turn it into creative resistance.

    keywords: Wilfred Bion; psychoanalysis of groups; crazy; president; affect

  2. Zofia Kulik. The Splendor of Myself

    Agata Jakubowska, ”Zofia Kulik. The Splendor of Myself”, View. Theories and Practices of Visual Culture 23 (2019), http://www.pismowidok.org/en/archive/power-of-women/zofia-kulik.-the-splendor-of-myself

    Narratives about women artists usually point to the obstacles they face in the development of their artistic careers. In her article the author proposes an analysis that concentrates on how a woman artist – Zofia Kulik – presented herself as the heroine of a successful story of emancipation in the series of works titled The Splendor of Myself (1997, 2015, 2017). The self-image she presents is paradoxical: we deal with both her ostentatious presence and her absence as her physical presence is hidden behind the gorgeous but extremely stiff dress. It corresponds with Kulik’s understanding of her success as directly related with the wealth of images and the mastery of composition.

    keywords: Zofia Kulik, art history, art herstory, emancipation, The Splendor of Myself

  3. Unmasking the Icon: Marlene Dumas’ Liminal Portraits

    Timea Andrea Lelik, ”Unmasking the Icon”, View. Theories and Practices of Visual Culture 23 (2019), http://www.pismowidok.org/en/archive/power-of-women/unmasking-the-ic

    Marlene Dumas’ unrecognizable depictions of iconic figures such as Mary Magdalene or Marilyn Monroe make up some of her active commentary on the role and functioning of cultural icons in contemporary culture. Analyzing the meaning of “iconic portraits,” the author will evidence the manner in which Dumas unmasks the fact that cultural images represent collectively created stereotypical identities. By referencing the concept of “liminality” I argue that Dumas depicts these iconic subjects is in a state of transition and “in-betweenness” that functions as process of rewriting the subjectivity of the depicted characters.

    keywords: portraiture; icon; iconic; liminal; liminoid; Marlene Dumas; Mary Magdalene; Marilyn Monroe

  4. Touch, Rhythm, and Wit(h)nessing. On the Affective Potential of Materiality and Tactility in Bracha L. Ettinger’s Art

    Anna Chromik, ”Touch, Rhythm, and Wit(h)nessing”, View. Theories and Practices of Visual Culture 23 (2019), http://www.pismowidok.org/pl/archiwum/2019/23-sila-kobiet/dotyk-rytm-i-wspolswiadczenie

    In Bracha L. Ettinger’s art and theory, the possibility of an encounter with the trauma and memory of the Other is immanently inscribed into subjectivity through the matrixial origins of the subject. This encounter-event in which the artist, the work and its figuralities, and the spectator – transforming from a witness into with(h)ness – are joined, had a proto-ethical dimension which is also deeply humanizing. According to Ettinger, it is here that the political dimension of art is located – in the constant opening up and exposing oneself to the wound of the Other, in working it through art, and thus resisting the dominant paradigm of cut and separation. Ettinger derives her concept of the borderspace of encounter in and through art from her notion of matrixiality. She claims that the subject and the Other do not only come into being through the process of radical separation, but they also co-emerge in a relational way, analogous to the prenatal mother-fetus relation. The aim of the text is to explore the connections between Ettinger’s artistic gesture and her theory, at the same time speculating about how the materiality of the artist’s gestural practice might mobilise the affective potential of compassion and wit(h)nessing in the audience immersed in the visual-symbolic imaginary that typically shapes the narratives of trauma and loss.

    keywords: Bracha L. Ettinger; memory; trauma; matrix; getsure; materiality

  5. Experiencing the Image – Ewa Kuryluk's Self-Seeing

    Daria Kołecka, ”Experiencing the Image”, View. Theories and Practices of Visual Culture 23 (2019), http://www.pismowidok.org/pl/archiwum/2019/23-sila-kobiet/doswiadczanie-obrazu

    The article regards Ewa Kuryluk’s visual artwork. Through the analysis of her paintings and installations, the author of the article looks for ways in which the artist constructs her identity (understood as the experience of the Self). Eyesight provides the medium responsible for connecting and creating the painter’s subsequent episodes of self-experience, hence the appearance of the titular notion of Self-Seeing, transformed from Foucault’s Self-Writing. Kuryluk’s work is read as a visual and narrative project with which the artist explores herself.

    keywords: Self-Seeing; self; Experiencing the Self; visual diary; care of the Self; gaze; identity; autobiography; Ewa Kuryluk,

  6. Building Up and Dying Down: Strategies of Authorship in Agnès Varda’s Late Films (the case of The Beaches of Agnès)

    Paulina Kwiatkowska, ”Building Up and Dying Down”, View. Theories and Practices of Visual Culture 23 (2019), http://www.pismowidok.org/pl/archiwum/2019/23-sila-kobiet/szycie-i-smierc

    The paper – written shortly before the death of Agnès Varda – concerns her late work, especially her film The Beaches Agnès from 2008. Analysis of selected scenes allows to indicate the dominant visual, performative and narrative strategies used by Varda to pose in the form of a subjective document some key questions about both, being a woman and a female director. Both issues are treated as closely related to corporeality and sensuality, which is why in Varda’s films from the 21st century the confrontation with her own fleetingness (aging of the body, fragility of memory, premonition of death) becomes crucial. In her films the creative process is so deeply embodied that it is possible to analyze it applying sensual theory. Her creative strategies can be also scrutinized in the context of the evolution and crisis of auteur theory or Adorno’s concept of “late style” (Spätstil). The Beaches Agnès should be seen as an autothematic and theoretically advanced reflection on the status of (film) image in the modern world.

    keywords: agnes varda; film; visuality; body; cinema; sensuality

Perspectives

  1. Women Bombers and Other Visual Self-Narratives: Anna Baumgart, Pola Dwurnik, Honorata Martin in conversation with Magda Szcześniak

    ”Women Bombers and Other Visual Self-Narratives”, View. Theories and Practices of Visual Culture 23 (2019), http://www.pismowidok.org/pl/archiwum/2019/23-sila-kobiet/bombowniczki-i-inne-wizualne-autonarracje

    A conversation among Polish female artists: Anna Baumgart, Pola Dwurnik and Honorata Martin  and visual culture scholar, Magda Szcześniak, concerning the question of visual autonarratives, women's art, strategies of self-inscription, collaboration and resistance.

    keywords: women's art; feminism; art; visual autobiography; Anna Baumgart; Pola Dwurnik; Honorata Martin

  2. Presidents

    Joanna Krakowska , ”Presidents ”, View. Theories and Practices of Visual Culture 23 (2019), http://www.pismowidok.org/pl/archiwum/2019/23-sila-kobiet/prezydentki

    Eileen Myles, a lesbian and a poet, writer and performer from downtown New York, ran for President of the United States as an independent write-in candidate in 1992 presidential election. For several months she led her political and poetic campaign, writing letters to citizens. This article is an account of this campaign, which was mainly about representing women, queers and poor people. Political performances of other female artists from the queer avant-garde of that time create a right context for this special Eileen Myles’s direct action.

    keywords: Eileen Myles; Zoe Leonard; poets; queer

Snapshots

  1. Freud Museums: Art, Materiality, and Psychoanalysis

    Agnieszka Więckiewicz, ”Freud Museums”, View. Theories and Practices of Visual Culture 23 (2019), http://www.pismowidok.org/en/archive/power-of-women/freud-museums

    The article is a critical review of Joanne Morra’s work entitled Inside the Freud Museums: History, Memory and Site-Responsive Art. The author concentrates on a question how the psychoanalytic theory can be used within visual culture studies. The text also addresses the issue of a possibility to reread psychoanalysis in the light of various contemporary artistic practices.

    keywords: psychoanalysis; materiality; Joanne Morra; trauma; melancholy; Sigmund Freud

  2. Low-res quality of Polish People's Republic,
    or the cinema of soc-consumerism in Poland

    Sebastian Jagielski, ”Low-res quality in Polish People's Republic”, View. Theories and Practices of Visual Culture 23 (2019), http://www.pismowidok.org/pl/archiwum/2019/23-sila-kobiet/peerelowska-niedojakosc

    Review of the book by Justyna Jaworska „Piękne widoki, panowie, stąd macie”. O kinie polskiego sockonsumpcjonizmu, Universitas, Kraków 2019

    keywords: PRL; soc-consumerism; Polish cinema of 1970; poor image

  3. Fight over Nina

    ”Fight over Nina”, View. Theories and Practices of Visual Culture 23 (2019),

    Critical review of Olga Chajdas' film Nina.

    keywords: Olga Chajdas; film; queer; gay; lesbian cinema