Pelvic Gazing at the Frauenklinik: Egon Schiele’s Clinical Modernism
A talk by Professor Gemma Blackshaw from her forthcoming monograph Clinical Modernism: Art, Medicine, and Experience in Vienna 1900.
In 1910, the prodigious young artist Egon Schiele (1890-1918) completed a series of life-studies of heavily pregnant women and new-born babies at the Second Women’s Clinic within the University of Vienna’s General Hospital. This was one of two public clinics and teaching institutions for gynaecology and obstetrics which had opened to international acclaim just two years previously.
Combining visual analysis with an investigation of the Clinic’s ‘progressive’ facilities, practices and pedagogies, the presentation will reflect upon the entanglement of the artistic and medical gaze in the modern period, and its occlusion in modernist art history.
How does a retrieval of the clinical context for Schiele’s work enable us to engage with the social and sexual politics of medical specialisation and modernist representation?
How do these politics problematise the historicising of this and other modern artists’ images of the naked female body as the pursuit of fundamental human truths?