Abstracts‎ > ‎

Paweł Leszkowicz

Love and Democracy: A Queering of the Visual Field by Women Artists in Poland

I will discuss the artworks and ideas behind the political and erotic exhibition Love and Democracy, which I curated in 2005 and 2006 in Poland. The exhibition of predominantly feminist art was concerned with sexual/amorous pluralism and freedom in opposition to the nationalist homophobia and censorship that ruled Poland at the time. Love and Democracy was conceived from a queer and feminist curatorial and artistic position. The women artists presented two subversive strategies with sexual and social dimensions. On the one hand, they visualised the variety of stories about love, relationships and identities versus the exclusively heteronormative construction of gender in the public/private post-communist sphere. On the other hand, they reinvented and explored the marginal genre of the male nude, infusing it with a feminist and homoerotic perspective and thus redefined visually the patriarchal image and condition of masculinity. I will emphasise the relations between the democratic erotics of this feminist art and a new wave of gay art that were examined in the spaces of the exhibition. The project Love and Democracy reflected the political collaboration of feminist and LGBTQ movement in Poland in the first decade of the twenty-first century.

Paweł Leszkowicz (PhD) is currently Marie Curie Intra-European Research Fellow in the School of English Centre for Sexual Dissidence and Cultural Change at the University of Sussex, UK. He has written widely on contemporary art and sexuality in journals, magazines and collected volumes, published by Routledge and New York University Press. He authored a Polish-language book Helen Chadwick. The Iconography of Subjectivity and co-authored a study Love and Democracy. Reflections on the Homosexual Question in Poland (with an extensive English summary). He curated queer art exhibitions Love and Democracy (2006) in Poznan and Gdansk, Vogue (2009) in Gdansk and Ars Homo Erotica (2010) in Warsaw’s National Museum.