Der Bäcker gibt mir das Brot auch so
Poetry Reading by Julia Mantel, Frankfurt am Main
May 26th, 2018
Introduction: Ulf Wuggenig, Leuphana
The start of the Kunstraum event of May 26, however, will be made by Julia Mantel from Frankfurt am Main, after an introduction by Ulf Wuggenig. Julia Mantel participated in several early Kunstraum projects as a student of cultural studies and analysis at the University of Lueneburg in the 1990s. Although she was also active in the field of contemporary art after graduating, she chose literature as her primary field, not as a mediator but as an autonomous producer. In this universe of cultural production, she became a writer of poetry working at a great distance to the commercial pole.
Her third volume of poems – »Der Bäcker gibt mir das Brot auch so« (http://editionfaust.de/produkt/der-baecker-gibt-mir-das-brot-auch-so/) containing around sixty pöms – has just been published in May 2018 by edition Faust, Frankfurt am Main. Julia Mantel engages not only with »precarity« but also with themes such as the »body« and the »masculine principle,« which is the reason why she was invited by the Kunstraum to her alma mater for not only a reading but a joint event with a performance and short lecture by Isabel Fontbona. As a guest of the accompanying project seminar »Building the Body,« Julia Mantel assumed the role of commemorating the punk pöt Kathy Acker, who distinguished herself in the fields of literature and feminism – see her »Against Ordinary Language. The Language of the Body,« 1993 – not least by reflecting on the problem of writing regarding her own practice of body building.
Since 2005 Julia Mantel has also been running a label as a designer, producing a »hand-knit collection« with a telling name alluding to the widespread precarity in the fields of non-commercial cultural production, »unvermittelbar« [»unemployable«, http://www.unvermittelbar.de]. In this frame, Julia Mantel produces textiles in cooperation with various designers, which in the ethno-methodological theoretical reference frame of »doing gender« (Candace West and Don Zimmerman) can be attributed to the group of paraphernalia resp. signs of the »sex category« whose social function consists not least in reproducing a gender binary deeply rooted in the system of »masculine domination« and the doxa of the »people« mentally penetrated by this structure. When Julia Mantel said she was willing to produce these types of signs for the performance of Isabel Fontbona, it was not only with the intention of ironically breaking with the competition bikinis customary in the regulated field of female bodybuilding, but also to contribute to reflectively shedding light on aspects of the social process of constructing or naturalizing gender, including the paradoxical effects of female bodybuilding.