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Breaching the Contract: Breaking Free from the Emotional and Ideological Prison of Renaissance Masterpieces

Diner Dothan, Leni; (2019) Breaching the Contract: Breaking Free from the Emotional and Ideological Prison of Renaissance Masterpieces. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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In this practice-led research project I examine specific Renaissance icons as creating and cementing Visual Contracts. These contracts imposed on women patterns of thoughts, social and political conventions. I argue that Renaissance art created depictions of women which are controlling, framing and forcing women to be submissive and imposing a concept of an ‘ideal woman’ that persists today. I aim to examine and breach these Visual Contracts with my artworks; videos, sculptures, photographs and installations made from the point of view of a 21st century mother and woman. My works offer new narratives, challenging these emotional and ideological prisons for women, which continue to exert an undeniable effect upon women’s psyche and the way they are perceived by others. The term Visual Contract comes from the etymological Hebrew root of נ-מ-א, which has different meanings; artist, art, belief, agreement and loyalty. These meanings centre the theory and practice of this research. The term also comes from the Civil Contract of Photography, a book written by Ariella Azoulay, which introduced the concept of visual content as a contract. My works aim to reposition women and mothers as “real” rather than “ideal”. In doing so, they raise questions about the representation of women throughout art history, allowing for a new discourse which goes beyond religious and geographical borders. I use Iconography, Iconology, Iconoclasm and Iconophilia as my academic methodologies (Warburg, Panofsky) and photography, video, sculpture, and installation as methods of material practice. Working with the UCL Chemistry I researched new materials to reveal air pollution levels, the invisible killer of our time. I install my works in art institutions such as galleries, museums, public spaces and churches. Viewers find themselves confronted with new questions and disturbing ideas, which aim to sabotage patriarchal narratives and dogmas.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Breaching the Contract: Breaking Free from the Emotional and Ideological Prison of Renaissance Masterpieces
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2019. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10088006
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