Anna-Stina Treumund in Memoriam
Linköping, June 7, 2017
Anna-Stina Treumund in Memoriam
Last week the Estonian queerfeminist artist Anna-Stina Treumund sadly passed away. Anna-Stina Treumund was a well-established artist who made a name in her home country as well as in the broader European art scene, among others through her amazing self-portrait photography. Her artwork explores and makes visible lesbian and queer figurations and postsocialist, feminist imaginaries, in dialogue with Estonian as well as international queerfeminist political movements.
Anna-Stina Tremund had a special relation to Tema Genus, which she visited several times, among others she was a visiting scholar/artist-in-residence for a couple of months in 2011, and she took courses in our Master’s programme. She also made a small introductory film for the programme’s website. Her artwork has been analysed elaborately in the dissertation of Dr. Redi Koobak, Whirling Stories: Postsocialist Feminist Imaginaries and the Visual Arts (Linköping Studies in Arts and Science no 564, 2013).
On behalf of Tema Genus, we want to give words to the immense sadness we felt when we heard about Anna-Stina Treumund’s passing, and we want to commemorate her queerfeminist artwork that is important both politically and aesthetically. Anna-Stina Treumund’s art will continue to inspire us when it is difficult to understand that we will not be able to have her in our midst again. She will be sorely missed.
On behalf of Tema Genus
Professor Em Nina Lykke and Assistant Professor Redi Koobak
PS. In honour and commemoration of Anna-Stina Treumund, we will publish below a small excerpt from the dissertation of Redi Koobak, introducing Anna-Stina Treumund and her artwork through the lens of Koobak’s first meeting with her.
Redi Koobak (2013) Whirling Stories: Postsocialist Feminist Imaginaries and the Visual Arts (Linköping: Linköping University Press), 119-121.
Inscribed in ambivalence
I first met her on my birthday at the breakfast table. I had wanted to talk to her the day before but the ever-changing constellations of conversations around us killed the possibility. There was always someone else who grabbed her with words, always someone else who cornered me with an endless exchange of niceties. She appeared so frail, so fragile, so far away. And then suddenly she was there sitting beside me.
“Happy birthday! Are Leos really good keepers of hearth and home?”
She is Art, I am Academia, both shifting and balancing between small and capital As. Serious representatives of our fields – or at least aspiring to be – and caricatures of ourselves at the same time, blown out of all proportion. We speak in separate tongues, light years apart. Twisting, turning, touching, almost, but not quite. She sends me photos, I send her texts. She is puzzling, obscure, intimate, fragmentary, elusive. I am self-explanatory, overcautious with words, distant, but appear to be complete, together. Two mismatched worlds, each unsure about the other. She has what I have been looking for. She is what I have been looking for. A case study, an object/subject of analysis, ample material for testing theories and methodologies. I have what she yearns for with her body. Words, concepts, theories, explanations.
“Can we talk outside? It’s crowded here.”
OMG, what did I do? So sorry, I’m very clumsy today. I spilled influence all over, contaminated my research data, ruined the results! She read my text, she responded. She asked me if she should change her title. She asked me if she should change. Am I allowed to affect my research subject, to mess with her mind? Can I analyze and criticize her art project idea before it makes it to the gallery? Can I teach her, give her advice, point out what I think are her theoretical blindspots and then write it into my thesis? Who am I to guide Art?
But what if she asks for it? What if she wants to be taught, criticized, pushed further? I don’t understand her. I don’t understand art. She hides it all so well between the lines. She is teaching me, isn’t she? We are both each other’s teachers. Where do we draw the line? Would we necessarily have to be bounded?
“I left. I wanted to leave you your space.”
Look, this is not just any conversation. Let’s set the record straight. I mean, I have to. I am being held accountable for my words. My words will be weighed against other words, compared and contrasted, interrogated and cross-examined. My sentences will be tested for quality and compliance with ethics, my chapters searched thoroughly for suitability and substance. What do I take from her? What do I give her?
“Yes, write about me! Your analysis will maybe make me understand myself better.”
Is she giving me anything (besides my dissertation)? What is she taking from me? Everything and nothing, give or take. It’s all up for grabs. My struggles, my ignorance, my insensitivity, perhaps also my over-sensitivity, always trying to do the right thing, carefully constructing boundaries between Art and Academia, stubbornly sticking to capital As. She takes it all. My knowledge, my experience, my position as somebody within while she is not entirely without. I’m just as much of an informant to her as she is to me, an insider, a native, an expert who is in possession of something she doesn’t quite have yet. She is preparing for a potentially provocative exhibition, I want to get my PhD. She has her stakes, I have mine.
What if we both just yearn for a dialogue? What if we just need to talk? We make each other vulnerable. I am no more secure in my world than she is in hers. We are both searching. We feed off each other’s vulnerabilities, but also rely on each other’s knowledge and experience. We desire a symbiosis that reaches beyond our immediate selves.
“Let’s educate the other photographers, let’s publish an article together in Cheese, let’s take over different media forms and channels.”
She’s on a roll. We’ll be on a roll.
Last updated: Wed Jun 07 17:12:03 CEST 2017