I Am An Unhappy Male Painter by Arielle Burgdorf


When the gender code is “missing,” everyone freezes, at a loss. The machine starts to break down. And that’s when things get interesting.

I Am An Unhappy Male Painter is an essay about gender, art, and language, told through the story of the Czech surrealist painter, Toyen. A born rebel and anarchist, Toyen was known for using masculine endings in speech, dating men and women alike, and painting orgy scenes. Toyen’s gender remains an open question for historians and linguists, reflecting what scholar Luise von Flotow called “translation hijacking.” Using games, personal narrative, and critical discussions of Toyen’s art, Burgdorf pieces together a queer archive of possibility. I Am An Unhappy Male Painter is a daring intervention into Toyen scholarship, rejecting easy answers and the supposed stability of language.

8x6 chapbook with stapled binding. Printed on high quality 24# natural copier paper and 100# cement gray French cardstock. Printed in an initial run of 75 hand-numbered copies.