June 24, 2008

Pawel Lezskowicz

Photo credit: Katarzyna Kozyra, The Boys, Video Series, 2002 ---------->

(Utopiana Association, Yerevan, invites you to the workshop/presentation of Polish Curator and Art Historian Pawel Leszkowicz)

The presentation will explore the expressions and constructions of queer sexuality and love in contemporary art and audiovisual culture from the international perspective. The discussions will concentrate on the relations between the visual and the sexual/amorous, the representation and the sexual rights in contemporary democratic society. The representations of art, performance, media, advertisement and film would be considered from the perspective of the political theory of democracy, gender studies and queer studies.

The spectacle of the erotic diversity manifests itself strongly in the Western visual and popular culture of today with their scope of performed and lived sexual and gender subjectivities and narrations. In the presentation I would like to explore the visual symptoms and signs of this new sexual area of critical exchanges, political conflicts, abjections and pleasures happening in newly democratic countries. My intention is to take into consideration the visuality of the media, TV, film, art, performance, advertisement as well as their journalistic and academic reception and formidable social impact.

The presentation has an international and interdisciplinary approach; however it will be grounded in contemporary post-Communist art, societies and the media as a point of departure for comparative or historical analysis. The recent Eastern European case of cultural and political wars and conflicts around sexual equality and the pluralisation of sexual identities, characteristic of Western democracies since the 1960s, would be seen in the context of new democratic societies and human rights emerging in post-Soviet countries after the fall of Communism and in case of Eastern Europe accession to the EU.

The presentations will concentrate on artistic, visual and social projects which pose the problem of sexual identity and norms, and their representations - between the forces of expression and repression in a dynamic psychopolitical realm. Thus the subjects of the freedom of expression, censorship, LGBTQ rights, women rights, individual pleasure, institutional control, discrimination, legal solutions, the diversification of lifestyles, the influence of globalization and pop culture, entertainment industry and commerce, the rise of religious fundamentalism would be discussed in relation to sexuality and love.

While meeting with Armenian artists and activists I would like to familiarize myself with ancient and contemporary Armenian culture. I would like to invite the Armenian participants to introduce their own knowledge and experiences into the discussion concerning queer sexuality and rights and their representations.

Pawel Leszkowicz is a critic, essayist, and lecturer of contemporary art at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań. His research and writing focus on the intersections of queer studies, contemporary art and culture, and related critical theory. He published several essays and catalogues. He has also curated the exhibition “Love and Democracy” shown in Poznań in 2005 and in Gdańsk in 2006.

A separate workshop will be held with WOW, in the framework of the initiative "Queering Yerevan: Self-Mapping." Dates to be announced . . .

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