A deep analysis of an enigmatic artist whose oeuvre opens new spaces for understanding feminism, the body, and identity
Popular and pioneering as a conceptual artist, Rosemarie Trockel has never before been examined at length in a dedicated book. This volume fills that gap while articulating a new interpretation of feminist theory and bodily identity based around the idea of schizogenesis central to Trockel’s work.
Schizogenesis is a fission-like form of asexual reproduction in which new organisms are created but no original is left behind. Author Katherine Guinness applies it in surprising and insightful ways to the career of an artist who has continually reimagined herself and her artistic vision. Drawing on the philosophies of feminists such as Simone de Beauvoir, Shulamith Firestone, and Monique Wittig, Guinness argues that Trockel’s varied output of painting, fabric, sculpture, film, and performance is best seen as opening a space that is peculiarly feminist yet not contained by dominant articulations of feminism.
Utilizing a wide range of historical and popular knowledge—from Baader Meinhof to Pinocchio, poodles, NASA, and Brecht—Katherine Guinness gives us the associative and ever-branching readings that Trockel’s art requires. With a spirit for pursuing the surprising and the obscure, Guinness delves deep into a creator who is largely seen as an enigma, revealing Trockel as a thinker who challenges and transforms the possibilities of bodily representation and identity.
Katherine Guinness is a theorist and historian of contemporary art. She is assistant professor and director of art history in the Department of Visual and Performing Arts at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.
"Rather than merely offering a dry recounting of Rosemarie Trockel's career, sprinkled occasionally with analyses of key artworks, Schizogenesis uses the occasion of scholars' and critics' perplexity as an invitation to perform—imaginatively and enthrallingly—the associative and ever-branching readings which Trockel's art beckons."—Jane Blocker, author of Becoming Past: History in Contemporary Art
"Katherine Guinness’s guiding concept of schizogenesis ingeniously frames Rosemarie Trockel’s multilayered practice in terms of split production and rapid regeneration, metaphors of procreation that simultaneously evoke destruction and violence. Written in lively, witty prose, this book does justice to Trockel’s complex works by thinking of them as ‘theoretical objects’ that demand Guinness’s extended, probing analyses."—Gregory H. Williams, author of Permission to Laugh: Humor and Politics in Contemporary German Art