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El Palomar

Venue: KW Institute for Contemporary Art

El Palomar

Founded 2013 in Barcelona, ES

Investigating queer ancestry and history, the Barcelona-based art collective El Palomar was formed in 2013 by Mariokissme and R. Marcos Mota and has since developed a shared practice that debunks authorship and reorganizes art as a critical space of sex and gender dissidence.

Their installation Schreber is a Woman (2020) departs from the case and memoirs of Daniel Paul Schreber, a German judge confined to the Sonnenstein mental asylum in Saxony in 1894. In his Memoirs of My Nervous Illness from 1903, he recounts feeling like a woman, among other experiences. Schreber’s text influenced Sigmund Freud and helped him to elaborate his theories on paranoia and schizophrenia. Relevant to Schreber’s story is the fact that his father, Dr. Moritz Schreber (1808–61), authored several books that proposed strict authoritarian models for the physical and moral education of children, which were very popular in Germany and other parts of Europe at the turn of the nineteenth century. This family history helps explain why Daniel Paul Schreber’s text was seminal to postwar analyses of authoritarianism by poststructural philosophers and writers such as Elias Canetti (Crowds and Power, 1960).

El Palomar uncover and reinterpret the experience and writings of Schreber from a transfeminist perspective that resists concepts of confinement and exclusion, of domestication and control; they deconstruct the Freudian link between Schreber and schizoprenic paranoia from a queer viewpoint. Focusing on the images and sounds that Schreber describes in his memoirs, the installation offers a rereading of the case as rooted in a period when gender identities were restricted to classical binary archetypes. Schreber is a Woman subverts the original circumstances of queer lineage, recontextualizing gender and pleasure in the present.

Amelia Bande

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