Pathographies in Films #2 – Bob Flanagan

To “fight pain with pain”, American artist Bob Flanagan used his ailing body as the subject of sadomasochistic performances in the early 1990s. In Visiting Hours for example, spectators were invited to enter a hospital room that was entirely reproduced in a gallery space. With his body weakened by cystic fibrosis, Flanagan both embodied and performed the role of a sick patient in this staged setting between the worlds of art and medicine. This presentation at Künstlerhaus Büchsenhausen investigated Flanagan’s practice and considered how the lines between reality and representation are provocatively blurred in his pathographic performances.

Tamar TEMBECK is an art historian, writer and performer based in Montreal. She completed her PhD in art history at the McGill University in Montreal with the dissertation Performative Autopathographies: Self-Representations of Physical Illness in Contemporary Art. Since 2003, Tamar Tembeck has also been working as a therapeutic artist with Dr. Clown in Montreal hospitals, long-term care facilities and rehabilitation centers.


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