“LUST” is the primary European solo exhibition to concentrate on the work of American feminist artist, political satirist and activist Anita Steckel in addition to a collection of readings by French author Constance Debré and British artist, author and political dominatrix Reba Maybury. Curated by author and curator Juliette Desorgues, “LUST,” a time period suggestive of each need and play, is an interdisciplinary programme, which locations three transgenerational figures in dialogue to mirror on questions of energy, gender and sexuality.
A key determine of the Fifties and 60s New York downtown scene, Anita Steckel developed an oeuvre consisting of photographic, collage- and drawing-based work that blossomed throughout the context of the Western ladies’s liberation motion of the Seventies. In 1973, she co-founded the Combat Censorship collective with fellow New York-based feminist artists Judith Bernstein, Louise Bourgeois, Joan Semmel and Hannah Wilke amongst others, a gaggle introduced collectively by means of their widespread follow of sexually express artwork in opposition to a backdrop of prevailing sexism and puritanism within the artwork institution. 1 Drawn from Steckel’s archive and property, the works offered on this exhibition span 5 many years of her wealthy oeuvre, from the Sixties to the 2000s. Phallic symbolism is depicted all through as a cypher of systemic patriarchal energy that Steckel playfully subverts as each an object of satirical intent and an equipment of sexual need. The imposing bare our bodies of ladies are additionally deployed as signifiers each of susceptible unease and emancipatory launch.
Constance Debré and Reba Maybury will carry out readings of latest and up to date texts inside the context of Steckel’s exhibition for the opening weekend. While Debré’s fashion of writing piercingly chronicles her personal private life, the rejection of institutional bourgeois constructions and exploration of her queer sexuality; Maybury’s texts act as conceptual manifestos to her work as a political dominatrix which centres on subverting conventional gender energy relations by means of and inside intercourse work.
Echoing the feminist literary and inventive historic context in Vienna, from Elfriede Jelinek to Valie Export, every of those three voices confronts the systemic mechanisms of energy, laying naked their constructions and subverting their entrapments with humorous, uncooked and biting pressure. The self, as a lived and metaphorical entity, is deployed as a key trope to the touch on wider questions of sexuality and gender, and particularly, ladies’s position inside society. Want, each imagined and embodied, involves act as a central cue, one which serves as a type of unabashed disruption to the hegemony of the normative patriarchal public sphere.
The exhibition responds to the framing of this 12 months’s “Curated by” competition—“The Impartial”— as a provocation. Inside the context of as we speak’s social and political upheavals, from the current overturning of the Roe vs Wade resolution in the US to the denial of Transgender rights in quite a few Western nations, any notion of neutrality is debunked when contemplating the on-going battles over the governance of our bodies and the geo-political penalties of those energy relations. And but, given this context, what does it imply to think about the work of a primary wave feminist determine equivalent to Anita Steckel in a time of ‘heteropessimism,’ as coined by author Asa Seresin? 2 It’s within the refusal in direction of ambivalence as a political and embodied stance, which marked Steckel’s a lot ignored life and work, that solutions may be discovered. 3 As with Steckel, the work of Debré and Maybury certainly additionally reveals how, in lieu of neutrality, a place could also be taken, one which boldly asserts a self-determination that spits within the eye of conservative and repressive forces.
at Wonnerth Dejaco, Vienna
till October 14, 2023