Airdate: Hannah Gadsby’s Nakedy Nudes

Hannah Gadsby applies her brand of humour to artworks which recreate the human form.

In this two-part ABC Arts documentary, Hannah Gadsby’s Nakedy Nudes, Hannah Gadsby applies her brand of humour to works which recreate the human form.

She will also interview artists including Ben Quilty, Deborah Kelly, Ramesh Nithiyendran and Brook Andrew.

“The Nude” is one of the most enduring subjects in western art history. It has survived the crumbling of ancient civilizations and the shaming of well-placed medieval fig foliage. Art galleries today are full of nude bodies.

Meanwhile, advertisers plunder the nude tradition to activate hidden triggers that convince us that in these undies we will look as fabulous as any Greek God. How did that happen?

But how nude can a nude really be? Every nude wears multiple veils woven from the threads of context and history. Nudes are dressed in the assumptions of the artists that create them and the cultural periods that shaped them.

In this two-part arts documentary, Hannah Gadsby unravels the apparently simple practice of recreating our own nude human form.

Hannah wields her wit and insight like a detective in a TV crime drama with a UV torchlight. Doing so, she disturbs unspoken layers of gender power play and unconscious messaging.

The series walks boldly between artful humour and accessible art analysis. It’s an entertaining show, and full of surprises. In true Gadsby style, it gets you thinking even if you only tune in for a laugh. And for those art fans who tune in for their artsy hit, they’ll get that through a heavy measure of chuckle.

Hannah’s tour through the history of the nude in art starts in Ancient Greece, where the male body was considered the only body worthy of representation, revealing that the glorification of masculine strength, invulnerability and rock hard abs all started back in the toga era. The depiction of the vulnerable, passive or coy female subject evolved a little later, and Hannah follows the evolution of the nude, right up until the end of the nineteenth century.

Even today, we have constant visual reminders of the distorted gender dynamics that were put in place thousands of years ago where men were gods and women seemed to do a lot of lying around in the nuddy. Hannah interrogates these foundational images of the nude and converses with contemporary artists including Ben Quilty, Deborah Kelly, Ramesh Nithiyendran and Brook Andrew whose work speaks to that art history, and sometimes flat-out challenges it.

Begins 9:30pm Tuesday February 27 on ABC.

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