Blogging Blaffer

A Feminist Look into Modernism

Andrea Geyer’s work in Time / Image — on view through Dec. 12 at Blaffer — is a reminder that there would be no such art movement as modernism without the fierce dedication of women. The piece is less a a “revisionist history” with a feminist focus than an assertion of their continued presence.

In Insistence (HD video, 15:21), she addresses the question of “how to make a portrait the reductive nature of history writing, its desire to categorize, name and therefore own the biographies of individuals (dead or alive) through a written text”. By portraying countless portraits of women, the focus is shifted onto the actions of these women (some of whose collaborations resulted in founding the Museum of Modern Art) rather than the subject of modernism itself.

In Geyer’s piece, the women’s images and perspectives live on, not confined to the space of a portrait, but to the ever present movement of a video, just as without the women’s influence and dedication, modernism would not have endured as the intellectual and institutional force with which artists still grapple today.

Insistence and related works in the exhibition reject the notion of “past work”, because for Geyer, the actions of the past do not stay limited to the past; they live on and on.

IMAGE: Andrea Geyer, Insistence, 2013, HD video (color, sound), 15:21 minutes. Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Thomas Zander, Cologne

Blaffer intern Emily Citino wrote this post.

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