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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Gender as a Category of Knowledge

Dr. Sabrina Kühn

PhD Project:

Transformer: The Construction of Bodies and the Image of Gender in the Works of Urs Lüthi and Jürgen Klauke


Description of the Project


This thesis addresses matters of physical presence and gender identity in the photographic selfportraits made by Urs Lüthi and Jürgen Klauke in the 1970s. I analyze their particular photographic techniques, which include experimenting with exposure time and presenting images as part of a photographic sequence. In addition, I discuss the very essence of photography as manifested in these images of both body and gender. I achieve this by applying Walter Benjamin’s, Jean Baudrillard’s, and Rosalind Krauss’ theories of photography to aspects such as the role of reproduction, or the relationship between original and copy.

In this, photography actually displays traits that may also be discerned in the theories on »masquerade,« which are currently being discussed in gender studies. These structural similarities between the theoretical constructs of photography and gender in turn allow for a comprehensive study of both, particularly in light of their intertwined presence in the self-portraits of the aforementioned artists.




Sabrina Kühn studied art history and German studies at Ruhr-Universität Bochum, graduating with a PhD in art history in 2009. 2006 – 2008 affiliated in the Research Training Group »Gender as a Category of Knowledge«. 2009 Promotion im Fach Kunstgeschichte.


Selected Publications


Transformer. Mediale Körperproduktionen und Geschlechterbilder bei Urs Lüthi und Jürgen Klauke. Ruhr-Universität Bochum 2012. (http://www.brs.ub.ruhr-uni-bochum.de/netahtml/HSS/Diss/KuehnSabrina/diss.pdf).

Eine Typologie von Männlichkeiten und Weiblichkeiten. In: Johannes Grützke. Die Retrospektive. Ausstellungskatalog, Nürnberg 2011. S. 94 – 103.

Jürgen Klaukes Self Performance. In: onlinejournal kultur & geschlecht #2 (2007). (http://www.ruhr-uni-bochum.de/genderstudies/kulturundgeschlecht/).