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Drag performance as a subversive artistic practice in contemporary Croatian art


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Zadravec, Toni. (2018). Drag performance as a subversive artistic practice in contemporary Croatian art. Diploma Thesis. Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu, Department of Art History. [mentor Galjer, Jasna].

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This diploma thesis considers the phenomenon of drag performance as a subversive artistic practice and a form of queer art that has appeared as a self-standing form of artistic performance on the Croatian cultural scene only in recent years; this thesis also aims to describe this drag scene and its origination, or rather, its relatedness to the global drag scene. Drag performance is a kind of parodic practice which aesthetizes and dramatizes the notion of gender; it renders the contingency and the arbitrariness of gender performative. Although the phenomenon is not new, drag performance was most widespread in American gay clubs during the second half of the 20th century where drag performers used their performances in front of an audience to perform a kind of political protest – combining the techniques of lip syncing, cross-dressing and imitation of gender in order to highlight its false stability. From there, drag came out into the streets during political events and has thus become a staple of queer culture. It also became popular in the art of film, particularly when it comes to Camp musicals such as The Rocky Horror Picture Show or John Waters movies. Larger cities, like New York, witnessed the rise of contracultures such as the ballroom scene that has been documented in the film Paris Is Burning. In spite of its latent commercial potential, drag has not burst into the mainstream until the success of the reality TV show RuPaul's Drag Race that has served as a platform for the visibility and proliferation of drag performance on a global scale. This also includes Croatia, where, in spite of existing examples of drag elements on the art, music and film scene, drag performance as a standalone art form has existed for just several years, largely in thanks to the activity of House of Flamingo, Croatia's first drag collective. I have interviewed the producers and performers from the collective in order to describe the inception, constitution and the workings of the Croatian drag scene, as well as its relatedness to drag on a global scale, whereby drag is prominently a universal art form that is at once entertaining and controversial, regardless of the context that it appears in.

Item Type: Diploma Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords: camp, drag, gender, parody, performance, queer
Subjects: History of art
Departments: Department of Art History
Supervisor: Galjer, Jasna
Date Deposited: 24 May 2018 10:04
Last Modified: 24 May 2018 10:04

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