Women and Art, Literature and Music

Workshop leaders: Damjan Matković(ISHA Belgrade) and Lisa Kirchner(ISHA Vienna)

Before women were able to enter the public stage of politics by gaining the suffrage and other equal rights, women could nevertheless express themselves in other ways. While other workshops will address the battle for equality and women’s rights, we will focus on women in art, literature and music. You can choose a female painter, writer, poet, musician or artist in any other way and explore her life and work. You can also present an artistic movement which consisted of or was influenced by women. Don’t feel restricted to national or genre borders! Of course, you can present e.g. Jane Austen or women in the art movement Der Blaue Reiter, but you can also choose a global example like Frida Kahlo or a contemporary one like J. K. Rowling.

In our workshop, we want to discover the biography, the artistic work and the historical context of female artists. We will ask (and you can use those questions for your presentations): What were the scopes of action of women/ the artists you choose in their specific historical context? Were they able to produce and publish their art as women or did they have to disguise their gender (e.g. by a pseudonym, or by letting a man publish their work)? How was their work conceived by contemporaries or after their death? Were they accepted as a female artist or were they excluded from artistic circles? Did the chosen artists themselves reflect on those aspects? Regarding the work produced by the artists, we want to focus on the representation of the category gender (of course, you can include other categories such as race as well). Are women represented in the work of the artist you choose? If yes, how? If no, why? (The same questions are also applicable for other classifications of gender, of course.) To what extent does this representation reflect more general ideas and views of the specific historic context, or to what extent does it contravene ruling gender orders? Women have been an inspiration as well as a topic of   numerous works of art, music and literature. This can be especially interesting for historians. Art can reflect ideas and views of a certain time (and place/ country) which makes it an interesting historic source. Furthermore, it can show us perceptions of women in various epochs and countries.

If you are interested in contemplating cultural history, more precisely marks of female artists throughout history, and visions of women in various art forms, apply for our workshop, women and art, music and literature!