Beata Hock


Where Have Some Women Gone? Making Women Artists’ Networks Visible

1In her talk Beata Hock will present events, art projects and network activities from the 1970s that have so far remained blurred in recent art historical narratives, as they were mostly focused on the rehabilitation of the male-dominated counter-culture of the period. These findings document informal connections between women artists of the Central and South Eastern European region and beyond, some of which reveal a feminist orientation. This is a valuable finding because the assessment of women artists’ activities from a feminist perspective has been characterised by a “discourse of lack” in the region, each country typically exposing one lonely early feminist “heroine” at best. This narrative relies on the fact that, in socialist Eastern Europe, there was no grassroots feminism in the 1960-70s that would compare to the Western movement of the same period, and therefore, no meaningful art practice developed that can be interpreted from a feminist perspective.

Judit Kele’s performance photo
(Budapest, 1979)

Her research turned up documents (photographs, events brochures, manuscripts, tape recordings) that record short-lived connections between women artists from Hungary and other European countries throughout the 1970s. However, Beata Hock does not argue that — contrary to existing accounts — there was a thriving feminist art scene in Hungary. Instead, she calls for the re-thinking of the “socialist way of women’s emancipation” and its potential impact on women artists’ lives and identities as well as creative aspirations. Rather than looking for the emergence of readily recognizable feminist artistic rhetoric and subject-matters (as we know these from Western-based feminist cultural criticism), she will try to clear up a more open space for the kind of gender-related critical interrogations that may emerge from a different social and cultural context.

Beata Hock Beata Hock is a research fellow at the Leipzig Centre for the History and Culture of East Central Europe. She holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Gender Studies and also works as independent curator. Her areas of interest include feminist cultural theory, state- and post-socialism, and the interrelation between social formations and cultural production. In 2005 she published a book on women’s art and public art, both viewed as emerging critical practices in Hungary (Nemtan és pablikart). Her most recent curatorial project is the international group show Agents & Provocateurs.
Friday, 23 September 2011 7pm
Trg bana J.Jelacica 1/3