Ulrike Gerhardt

My Significant Others: Artistic Strategies of Confronting the Canon: Essay

Introducing artists who lead a dialogue with omitted or fictional cultural figures, the essay “My Significant Others: Artistic Strategies of Confronting the Canon” stirs up – in an imaginary and loving dialog with these figures – cultural narratives have been excluding significant herstories. Despite the increasing influence of feminist and postcolonial movements, art historical canons are up until today dominated by white male authors, and therefore characterized by masculine mythologies (Pollock 1999: 39). Accordingly, in view of these uneven structures it seems important to deconstruct and critically re-narrate these mythologies and to question and disidentify their intrinsic relationship to power. Another equally relevant task is the meticulous, empathetic, and dialogical recuperation of forgotten or unacknowledged feminist struggles and heritages. The discussed video works by women artists Alžběta Bačíková, Ieva Balode, Masha Godovannaya, Alex Martinis Roe and Lea Petříková present feminist forebears as well as undiscovered inspirational women, figures, and motives who struggled to become part of the art historical canon and of the official history of political movements. The chapter Imagined Community VIII: My Significant Others was curated by Ulrike Gerhardt and Markéta Jonásová.

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