"The Representation of Intersex Bodies in Klonaris/Thomadaki's Multimedia Practice" by Laura Giudici


"The Representation of Intersex Bodies in Klonaris/Thomadaki's Multimedia Practice" by Laura Giudici

“The representation of intersex bodies in Klonaris/Thomadaki’s multimedia practice”
Laura Giudici

The core of my research is centered on the body, identity and visual representations of intersexuality. Where medicine and art meet, this topic is inevitably involved in delicate philosophical, social and cultural issues. These images are challenging to the art historian, opening a wide spectrum of methodological questions. From which perspective should these pictures be analyzed? How is it possible to develop a suitable interdisciplinary approach?

The multimedia practice of the duo artists Maria Klonaris and Katerina Thomadaki is a very good example of how these issues can be integrated. Two series of works – Cycle des Hermaphrodites (1982‐1990) and Cycle de l’Ange (1985‐2003) –, are focused on intersexuality, both of which question in different ways the problem of the migration of images and ideas. The starting point for the first series was the famous sculpture of the Sleeping Hermaphrodite and, for the second, an anonymous medical photograph of an intersex person. Using different media approaches, the artists metamorphosed these pictures in many ways, combining them with other elements to create immersive visual and sound environments, thereby evoking links between the past and the present, as well as imagination and reality. The result is a work which not only addresses concerns of gender and (post‐)identity, but also technological, intermedia and interdisciplinary issues related to artistic practices. Another interesting aspect of Klonaris/Thomadaki’s projects is their reflection on an alternative understanding of performance and perception.

The concept of “Nachleben” as investigated by Aby Warburg and the anthropological approach theorized by Hans Belting seem to offer efficient instruments for analyzing these two series of works. It is nevertheless necessary to combine them with other methodological points of view and the theoretical assertions made by the artists themselves to arrive at a thorough comprehension of their visual world.

  • Debating Visual Knowledge