Through the lens of Folk Horror: Courbet’s late landscapes

Through the lens of Folk Horror: Courbet’s late landscapes

Abstract

This paper explores Jean-Désiré-Gustave Courbet’s late landscapes using Folk Horror tropes as an interpretational framework. Folk Horror is regarded as a subset of the horror genre and is therefore located within the terrain of contemporary popular culture; a concern with the otherness of the landscape, nature, failed/misguided agency, and rural culture are at its core. An inherent pessimism drives Folk Horror’s ‘jamming’ of normative bucolic representations subverting man’s surety of sovereignty over nature, thereby tolling with our current catastrophic failure to address how human agency has affected climate change. Bringing a Folk Horror lens to bear on Courbet’s anti-human animism seeks to connect 19th century painting with the ecosocial and cultural concerns of our own time.

Keywords: Folk Horror; Jean-Désiré-Gustave Courbet; Anthropocene; the Anthropocene Unconscious, pessimism; animism; Otherness; landscape; painting; film; speculative realism, ecosocial; pop culture.

By tanyakrzywinskablog

After working in the computer industry and spending some years conducting research into cinema and digital media, I became convinced that the innovative qualities of videogames as participatory media required closer academic attention. As such I have spent most of my career championing the inclusion of games within the academy, and arguing for games as an art form, a role I continue as a Professor at Falmouth University. Alongside this, and my scholarly work on the Gothic, I also maintain, in various forms, a visual art practice. This blog comes out of enrolling on the MA Fine Art degree programme at Central Sr Martins. It is mainly a record of my reflections on the work that I have undertaken for the degree. After having written about folk horror in games and cinema as an academic, this blog will focus on folk horror as a focus for my art practice.

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