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Artist

Ion Grigorescu’s 8 mm film “Male/Female” stands out as a unique work of male body art from Romania in the 1970s. In this black-and-white film, the artist uses his own body as a site to be visually explored from various angles and in various poses. With the occasional help of a mirror, different parts of the body are doubled in order to create disrupted postures. The slow pans of the camera thoroughly scan Grigorescu’s body and his face, which grimaces in various ways with help from the artist’s hands. Though not from a gay background, Grigorescu nonetheless defies traditional roles ascribed to the male and female body, questioning and/or rejecting hegemonic notions of power. According to Piotr Piotrowski, who refers to Amelia Jones1, Grigorescu’s posing relates to the representation of woman and less to action-taking as attributed to men, the latter of which was a complex issue in light of Romania’s power structure. By redirecting the male gaze onto his own body, the artist incorporates both masculine and feminine notions of viewing and being viewed.

W.S.

Notes:

1 Piotr Pitorowski. ‘Male Artist’s Body: National Identity vs. Identity Politics.’ In: “Primary Documents. A Sourcebook for Eastern and Central European Art since the 1950s.” Ed. by Laura Hoptman and Tomáš Pospíšil. Cambrige: MIT Press, 2002. p. 230.

  • Artist: Ion Grigorescu
  • Original Title: Masculin-Feminin
  • English Title: Male and Female
  • Year: 1976
  • Material: 8 mm film transferred to 16mm, b&w, no sound
  • Dimensions: Duration: 16min, 54sec
  • Inventory no.: K418
  • Category: film
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