The cover features an early work by Jutta Koether, a central figure in the recent history of painting and the subject of a survey exhibition opening later this month at Museum Brandhorst, Munich. Since the 1980s, Koether has engaged in an intimate â€œbattleâ€ against painterly tradition, developing a defiant artistic practice able to sketch out a counterhistory of the modernist, male-dominated and heteronormative canon.
As Kerstin Stakemeier writes in one of the contributions to the twenty-page dossier dedicated to Koether that this issue also features, â€œKoether does not legitimize herself against painterly tradition, but rather lets its accumulated unmodernness come to her.â€ Stakemeier discusses Koetherâ€™s practice in the gendered and art-historical afterlife of mannerism, underlining the artistâ€™s agenda to reconfigure her references â€œunder female competence.â€ â€œKoetherâ€™s application of painting history â€˜under female competenceâ€™ changes its societal position entirely,â€ Stakemeier concludes.Â
Koether and Flash ArtÂ In addition to an article by Quinn Latimer considering Koetherâ€™s novella f., the dossier includes a reprint of one of Koetherâ€™s many contributions to Flash Art. In â€œPure Invention,â€ first published in the April 1986 issue of the magazine, Koether reflects on a group of her female artist peers who have defied the status quoâ€”from Georgia Oâ€™Keeffe to Cindy Sherman, from Jenny Holzer to Rosemarie Trockel. â€œWomen artists are obsessively afraid of being understood as just that, as women artists,â€ Koether writes. â€œOften they prefer to lurk anonymously and mutely in isolation, considering intervention in history as a burden. It isnâ€™t their history anyway.â€ Countering what she calls the â€œembarrassing and sick excesses of self-recriminationâ€ of 1970s feminist art, Koether invites women artists to â€œspeak upâ€ by developing creative strategies that transcend a discourse of self with pure artistic invention. In Koetherâ€™s vision for female art â€œdefensiveness is forbidden.â€