Confrontations artistiques et féministes aux hiérarchies du genre

Abstract : The French word genre has several meanings, including an artistic genre, but also gender – the social traits associated with one sex. Does it follow that the same hierarchy-based systems are at work in both fields of art genre and social gender? Anyone is allowed to conclude so, who considers the practising conditions of women artists, whom a stereotype accuses of restraining their work to so-called minor genres. As a consequence, the issue of historical simultaneity arises: were artistic genres questioned at the same periods as what feminist historiography calls “the three waves”? This thesis focuses on seven specific art pieces so as to examine how gender-related hierarchy systems were confronted in classicism and during each period concerned by the three feminist waves: Nature morte aux abricots, by Louise Moillon, 1634, Portrait d'une négresse, by Marie-Guillemine Benoist, 1800, Clotho, by Camille Claudel, 1893, Autoportrait by Claude Cahun, 1928, Tir by Niki de Saint Phalle, 1961, Azione sentimentale, by Gina Pane, 1973, and Le régime chromatique, by Sophie Calle, 1997. Despite a number of improvements – a notion which is questioned rather than acknowledged – certain features are persistently attributed to women artists. A crosswise look at their work reveals that the patterns of hierarchy are still operating. These features are a matter of stigma: woman artists are inevitably unhinged creatures, cooks, coquettes, mediocre artists or even witches, and always defined and driven by sex. Gender, as long as it isn’t questioned as such, seems to be serving as a guarantee for the permanence of those stigmas. One could try to get around the gender issue, using texts, bodies (represented bodies, bodies of images, bodies of the artists), and the very core of plastic practice, the relationship between the artist and the material: plasticity.
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Magalie Latry. Confrontations artistiques et féministes aux hiérarchies du genre. Art et histoire de l'art. Université Michel de Montaigne - Bordeaux III, 2018. Français. ⟨NNT : 2018BOR30013⟩. ⟨tel-01899014⟩

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