I wrote a book inspired by artists Gustav Klimt and Emilie Flöge.
Mechanics of a Gaze (published by Mansfield Press) can be found online.
The Back cover:
Branka Petrovic’s sophisticated debut collection delves into the life and work of Austrian painter Gustav Klimt, exploring his muses, the male gaze, and the eroticized female body.
The poems take as their starting point various objects from Klimt’s estate (photographs, paintings, sketches) and the 400 or so postcards he wrote to his friend and confidant, Emilie Flöge.
The book fashions an original narrative while imagining the day-to-day life of one of the most important painters of the 20th century.
The collection stunningly captures the Vienna Secession as it celebrates a critical period in art history.
“Branka Petrovic’s debut collection reinvigorates Gustav Klimt and Secessionists’ art. You will never look at the stale gold and mosaic looking greeting cards of Klimt the same. I find Mechanics of a Gaze as invigorating as was the poetry of Sylvia Plath in the 1960s. My guess is that we’ll be hearing more from Branka Petrovic.”
- Kathryn (Kate) MacDonald, July 2019
“Attentive and questioning, Petrovic moves slowly, like the artist himself, stepping back and forth, toward and away from the canvas, considering at once the details and the wider view. Mechanics of a Gaze is an extended meditation on visual representation and how a gaze is an expression of a self.”
- Abby Paige, mRb, Summer 2018
“Branka encourages us to see past the nude form as Klimt saw her. Her critique of his perspective is sharp and profound. Mechanics of a Gaze demands that we collectively revisit our favourite artists and question the power dynamics at play. Who is being watched? Who is doing the watching? And what does it mean to be a viewer or a subject?”
- Jean Mathew, broken pencil, July 2018
“Branka Petrovic gets Klimt—she gets inside the gorgeous horror, the lavish violence of his paintings. That she embodies his work and his era in a poetry as ornate, as startling, as boldly sexual, as his art, impresses. That she does so through interrogation, even judgement—particularly of the male gaze—makes this a remarkable, and remarkably mature, first book. Provocative, elegant, and unsettling, Mechanics of a Gaze will leave no reader untouched.”
- Stephanie Bolster, author of A Page from the Wonders of Life on Earth
“Rich in imagery and sound, Branka Petrovic’s Mechanics of a Gaze is a lush, layered, and carefully-curated collection of poems about Gustav Klimt. Animating found material and showing careful attention to the material culture of the Secessionist period in Vienna, Petrovic has written a collection steeped in history and aesthetics, one sharpened by a contemporary, deliciously-ambivalent gaze. Intertwining threads of art, sex, fashion, scandal, and looted works, Branka Petrovic’s Mechanics of a Gaze “blooms / bravura.””
- Susan Elmslie, author of Museum of Kindness
Order it here: