(In)visible bodies: gender, sexuality and cultural institutions

Leading international academic researchers, artists and curators explore the dynamics of gender and sexuality in a new Europe.

About this Event

Following protest movements and campaigns such as Pussy Riot and #metoo, we witness an emergence of new artistic practices and theories concerning gender and sexuality. Unlike in the previous decades, these practices and social movements engage global communities and produce transnational solidarities. Cultural institutions such as publicly funded museums and biennials of contemporary art play an increasingly important role in directing and safeguarding these processes. The debates, arising from artistic practice, social movements and institutional engagement and critique, contribute to the ways in which publics understand political and cultural entities, including the notion of Europe as a specific area of cultural production and human interaction.

The one-day event aims to revisit and reimagine gender and sexuality for the twenty first century by considering the notion of queer art and practice. We will examine how the programme of transgressive action and subversive aesthetics is currently being employed by a diverse range of artists, artistic communities and institutions. Their local, translocal and transnational collaborations will be central to our discussion. In addition to surveying these practices, we will point a critical lens at the cultural institutions themselves, enquiring about their role in constructing (in)visible bodies in terms of curatorial practice, workers’ conditions and role of ‘audiences’. The emphasis will be put on ‘a New Europe’, a constellation of countries which experience social and political challenges such as the refugee crisis, the rise of populism, austerity regimes. Some of these countries are EU members; some countries border the EU (Ukraine and the Russian Federation), and others on the brink of joining or leaving the EU (the UK).

10.00-10.30 Opening remarks

10.30-12.00 focus on the history of art, gender and sexuality

Sasha Obukhova (Garage)

Antonio Geusa (National Centre for Contemporary Art, Moscow)

Maria Engstrom (Uppsala University)

12.00-12.30 coffee break

12.30-14.00 focus on institutions

Bridget Conor (KCL)

Rita Kuleva (HSE)

Michal Murawski (UCL)

14.00-15.00 lunch

15.00-16.00 focus on curators

Clare Barlow (curator of ‘Queer British Art’ at Tate Britain) in conversation with Vlad Strukov

Nikola Karabinovych (independent curator) in conversation with Rita Kuleva

16.00-16.30 coffee

16.30-18.00 focus on artists

A round-table discussion with London-based artists

18.00 concluding remarks

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