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Phenomenologies of Impairment: The Self-Portraits of Frida Kahlo and Chuck Close

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Phenomenologies of Impairment: The Self-Portraits of Frida Kahlo and Chuck Close

Zigayer, Allan (2012) Phenomenologies of Impairment: The Self-Portraits of Frida Kahlo and Chuck Close. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Abstract

Phenomenologies of Impairment:
The Self-Portraits of Frida Kahlo and Chuck Close

Allan Zigayer


The decision to represent oneself as the principal subject in a work of art raises questions as to the motivations governing the act of self-portrayal. Artists’ self-portraits have often been constituted in relation to practicality or expediency, with the artist being viewed as his or her most accommodating model. But when the practice manifests in a life-long preoccupation, as it does among others with Frida Kahlo and Chuck Close, we must surmise that something more is at stake. To the extent that both artists’ early lives were appreciably affected by impairment, disease, or physical or emotional trauma, their formative experiences were anything but conventional. If the reflexivity or protracted introspection that is also frequently associated with self-representation is even remotely connected to those concerns, their self-portraits would assume an added measure of significance relative to the study and interpretation of portraiture because the spectre of bodily impairment would infuse their work with the materiality of their embodied experiences. The question would then return to motivation, or what the artists would like us to perceive in their work, particularly if their work is based on their lived bodily experiences and less on the reification of inner subjectivity. The artists’ impairments would then functionally destabilize portraiture’s conventional honorific intentionality by imposing on representative likeness the dynamics of the individual’s problematic lived bodily experiences.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Fine Arts > Art History
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Zigayer, Allan
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Art History
Date:15 April 2012
Thesis Supervisor(s):Mackenzie, Catherine
Keywords:Phenomenology, Frida Kahlo, Chuck Close, Impairment
ID Code:973844
Deposited By:ALLAN P ZIGAYER
Deposited On:19 Jun 2012 14:06
Last Modified:19 Jun 2012 14:06
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