Research Fellowship · 2020

Katja Gentric: Günther Uecker: Perspective “South”

Cover of the exhibition catalogue Art Contre/Against Apartheid, 1983.

Katja Gentric analyzes Günther Uecker’s 1983 work Wounded Field, which was shown during the exhibition Art contre/against Apartheid. In her investigation, Uecker’s piece—precisely because it was one of the understated works that were under-recognized during the exhibition’s international tour—occupies the position of a key work from which the complex historical constellation of political positions against apartheid becomes tangible. Gentric contextualizes Wounded Field and reexamines the work in dialogue with works by South African artists Willem Boshoff and Mbali Khoza.

Katja Gentric

Katja Gentric, born 1973 in Groß-Umstadt, Germany, holds a PhD in art history and is an artist. She studied art history at the University of Pretoria, South Africa and at the University of Burgundy in Dijon, France, where she received her doctorate in contemporary art history. Since 2013, she has been an Associate Researcher at the Centre Georges Chevrier, University of Burgundy and a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of the Free State, Bloemfontein in South Africa. She lives and works in Paris, France.

How does one deal with the unspeakable? And what about the responsibility to not conceal injustice and suffering, and to face the task of articulating it? On the other hand, why does it happen again and again that those who actually suffer are patronized? That they are silenced in the “conversation about suffering” because well-meaning people take the floor in their place? Since the beginning of the 1970s, Günther Uecker has been concerned with the “threat posed to man by man.” In 1983, he created the work Wounded Field, which was shown that same year in the traveling exhibition Art Contre/Against Apartheid. In her lecture, Katja Gentric explores the questions posed above by means of this artistic work. It will not only be contextualized, but dialogically reinterrogated with works by South African artists Willem Boshoff and Mbali Khoza. The lecture was held on November 13, 2021.