Agatha Christie at Tate Liverpool

Some of the diverse work of Geta Brătescu has been made into an exhibit at Tate Liverpool. While the art on show was colourful, the descriptions of it also made a vivid impression. Much was made of the detail that Brătescu had been disadvantaged by her wealthy background during the period when Romania was part of the Soviet bloc. However, the cruel setback did not seem to prevent her from being a prolific creative artist.

More interesting perhaps was the reference that Brătescu made to Agatha Christie. Crime fiction is known in some circles for its inherently conservative bias. As for the social class of Christie, Stephen Knight has said she was “a well-bred young woman with almost no formal education.” By mentioning the crime writer, the Romanian artist has made a value-based gesture.

The significance of the gesture was underlined by the fact that the artist denied she was a feminist. Nevertheless, she celebrated the point that her art reflected her “female psychology”, but this biological essentialism has a conservative flavour. So the critical detective might conclude that this allegedly progressive artist has played with the idea of being progressive.

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