*Doubled/Troubled pleasure: Looking at erotic visual art from the
German-speaking world*

*NeMLA 2016 Hartford, CT (March 17-20, 2016)*


This panel looks at paintings, film, graphic novels, photography, and other
visual art from German-speaking countries that feature erotic themes. It
describes and compares the strategies which the artists use to answer (and
question) our desire for an erotic visual experience.


The pleasure of looking at visual art is doubled, but also troubled when it
comes to the erotica genre. There, the viewer gazes at the canvas, screen,
or page in search of aesthetic as well as erotic stimulation. Far from
naively delivering gullible pictures, many visual artists are aware of this
double desire and self-reflexively play with this knowledge.

This panel invites scholars to think through the genre of erotic visual art
as it appears in the German-speaking world. From Egon Schiele’s erotic
portraits, Franz von Bayros’ *décadence* illustrations, Ernst Hofbauer’s
film series *Schulmädchen-Report*, Helmut Newton’s act photography, and
Ulli Lust’s comic *Springpoem*, there is no lack of high-quality erotic
visual art. Possible lines of inquiry include, but are not limited to the
following questions:

·         How do we “read” these erotic paintings, films, photographs, and
graphic novels? How, for instance, do artists use showing and hiding? What
influence does the degree of realism or abstraction have? How does the
depiction of the erotic intersect with humor?

·         Are there any systematic differences between the way the
German-speaking artists tackle “juicy” visual art as opposed to artists and
movements from other countries?

·         How can we use concepts across the disciplines–such as gaze
theory or Barthes’ distinction between *plaisir* and *juissance*–to
understand the pleasure of engaging with erotic visual art?

·         How does German graphic art navigate the boundary between
pornography and art if there even is such a boundary?

The panel is intended to take stock of a body of visual art which has been
a staple of commercial production, but has not yet received much academic
attention in the context of German Studies. It surveys the existing body of
artifacts and traces the influences, but also differences between visual
art in the German-speaking world and elsewhere.

*Please send your submission of 250-300 words no later than September 30,
2015 to [log in to unmask] <[log in to unmask]>. *

The German Studies Call for Papers List
Editor: Stefani Engelstein
Assistant Editor:  Olaf Schmidt
Sponsored by the University of Missouri
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