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Figuring Austria’s Repressed Violence: Artistic Labour of the Body in the Work of Elfriede Jelinek and VALIE EXPORT

Gush, Rose-Anne Sophia (2018) Figuring Austria’s Repressed Violence: Artistic Labour of the Body in the Work of Elfriede Jelinek and VALIE EXPORT. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Figuring Austria’s Repressed Violence, Artistic Labour of the Body in the Work of Elfriede Jelinek and VALIE EXPORT operates on three levels. It functions as a historical and political project, wherein the work of EXPORT and Jelinek is read in the context of the formation and unprocessed historical memory of the Second Republic of Austria. It analyses how, in these works, the body is figured in relation to theories found in Theodor Adorno and Sigmund Freud and it also contributes original research to interpretations of EXPORT and Jelinek. More precisely, this thesis attempts to theorise a concept of artistic labour which includes the categories of the body, instinct, sublimation, repression and history. It brings the question of gender and the body into relation with Theodor Adorno’s concept of artistic labour in Aesthetic Theory (1970), where an artwork is understood as the congelation of useless social labour. It shows that on the one hand, the analysis of the body in this art is undertaken as a critique of women’s reduction to reproductive function or sexual-object. On the other, this art reflects on and works against the reduction of the human-body to material, in both the economic-process and in relation to the past. It enquires into the meaning of artistic use of the body, within language, image and action, under racial-patriarchal-capitalism in postwar art. Moreover, it articulates the necessity of a feminism beyond ‘innocence’ and pure Otherness. The approach that I take attempts to move dialectically between critical interpretation, historical analysis and speculation. The works in question carry forward a historical response and proximity to the legacy of Nazism and its latent and pronounced continuity within the founding of the postwar nation state: The Second Republic of Austria. ‘Figuring Austria’s Repressed Violence’ is structured into five chapters which work through the following categories: identity, and the body as material; the limit of the body, expressed in relation to repression and shame and the Leib-Körper distinction; the concept of thinking-praxis in Feminist Actionism; the role of ‘woman’ and the uses of gender by fascism; the gendered dialectic of the sub-history of film and the ‘subterranean history of the body’ and lastly, on the concepts of history, fate and abstraction in relation to the politics of Heimat and nativism.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: VALIE EXPORT, Elfriede Jelinek, Postwar Art History, Critical Theory, Art Theory, Psychoanalysis, Literature, Austria, Theodor Adorno
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > Fine Art, History of Art & Cultural Studies (Leeds)
Depositing User: Dr Rose-Anne Sophia Gush
Date Deposited: 30 Apr 2019 16:22
Last Modified: 30 Apr 2019 16:22
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/23572

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