Sara Blaylock, "The Body in Ruins: Radical Performance in the Late East Germany"

In-Person Guest Lecture
Thursday, March 31, 4:30 p.m.

Maclean Building, Room 707
112 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL

Sara Blaylock Headshot

The common impression of the communist East Germany is one of austerity and cultural oppression. The Auto-Perforation Artists, a collective of four artists who created the country's most legendary experimental artworks, in fact, embraced that vision in an aesthetic that married self-harm to the absurd. Importantly, their performance art––begun while set design students at a state-run art academy in the city of Dresden––countered the gendered and class constraints of East German society. Shocking, irreverent, and entirely committed to their art, the Auto-Perforation Artists ultimately managed to carve out a place for performance art in state culture.

Dr. Sara Blaylock is Assistant Professor of Art History at the University of Minnesota Duluth. To date, the bulk of her research has concerned the experimental art, film, and visual culture of the German Democratic Republic during the 1980s. Broader interests include official cultural policy in state socialism, the art and visual culture of the Cold War East and West, documentary film from the Eastern Bloc, as well as global histories of modernism and post-modernism in Germany, Central and Eastern Europe, and the United States. Blaylock's research has appeared in a number of academic and arts forums, both in English and in translation, including in Third Text and Cinema Journal. Her first book Parallel Public: Experimental Art in Late East Germany has just appeared with the MIT Press.


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