Gewalt und Geschlecht. Wahrnehmung und Medialität um 1500

  • Maike Christadler


Maike Christadler

Gender and Violence. Representation and Mediality around 1500

Executed in the “realistic” mode, many of the drawings of the Swiss artist Urs Graf show mercenaries and prostitutes, often together, engaged in love affairs. What appear to be representations of every day life are here regarded as careful constructions of gender and of how to represent it. Graf’s drawings expose the imaginary quality of gender identities and show their construction as a process of looking at and talking about images. Signing many of his works very prominently with his monogram, the artist makes himself present in the fictional space, taking the position of the first viewer of his subjects. The monogram makes visible the power of the (male) gaze in shaping what it sees – here mostly female bodies. But as evidence of artistic production, the monogram also disrupts the mimetic fiction and exposes the process of looking, thereby undercutting the power of the gaze. Here the violence of representation that shapes the perception of reality itself becomes the subject of the drawings.