Master Project

Sarah Oberrauch

Drawn from Life

Metabolic Art Criticism, Workshop by Rosalyn D’Mello, Curated by Sarah Oberrauch © Sarah Oberrauch

“Theory has historically been a form of discursive gatekeeping, because of the deliberately complex use of terminology and the insistence on objectivity. It is inaccessible to many who may not be able to afford the resources required in order to practice it, such as time, energy, or money for tuition, making it an exclusive preserve of the already privileged. Beyond who gets to write theory is the question of who is allowed to read, understand, and dialogue with it.

This thesis examines the work of practitioners who counter the exclusivity of theory by puncturing the ideal of objectivity through the insertion of their self-hood, the parameters of which are framed by the marginalised nature of their bodies and perspective, thus allowing for subjectivity to come through. Specifically my thesis explores the contours of autotheory, a strand of theoretical discourse that relates the personal to the structural, while contextualising it within scholarly research and systems of citation. Authors, such as Gloria E. Anzaldúa, Audre Lorde, bell hooks and Helene Cixous, incorporate their personal body-shaped lived experiences, through their writing and art, and highlight the extant place of subjectivity, thus dismantling the myth of universality by embracing difference.”