Tate Britain talks_lectures

What Makes Us Human: The Gaze

Main View © Paula Rego

Join an artist, a historian and a philosopher to explore the concept of the gaze within the visual arts​

In the first of a three-part series responding to the All Too Human exhibition, an artist, historian and philosopher explore the concept of the gaze within the visual arts, its power to objectify or be objective, create intimacy or distance. Speakers include visual artist Amalia Ulman, art historian Katharina Guenther and philosopher Timothy Secret.

The panel discussion will be chaired by Dr. Sacha Golob from The Centre for Philosophy and the Visual Arts, King's College London.


Sacha Golob

Sacha Golob is a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at King’s College London and the Director of the Centre for Philosophy and the Visual Arts; before joining King’s, he was a Fellow at Peterhouse, Cambridge. He has published extensively on French and German Philosophy, and the Philosophy of Art. His current research explores contemporary conceptions of virtue and degeneration.

Katharina Guenther

Katharina Guenther is an art historian. Her work focuses on post-war and contemporary painting and photography. She graduated from the University of Cologne in 2009 and has since researched and published for the Estate of Francis Bacon at Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane and Tate Britain, the Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation Monaco and the John Deakin Archive, and is currently working as project manager of the official website of the Estate of Francis Bacon, francis-bacon.com. She is in the final stage of a Ph.D. thesis exploring Francis Bacon's relationship to photography at the University of Cologne.

Timothy Secret

Timothy Secret is a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Winchester. His recent work focuses on death, mourning and madness in contemporary French thought. His book The Politics and Pedagogy of Mourning was recently published in paperback by Bloomsbury. Since being awarded the title BBC & AHRC New Generation Thinker, he has made numerous media appearances and worked with a selection of contemporary artists.

Amalia Ulman

Amalia Ulman (b. 1989) is an artist based in Los Angeles. Born in Argentina but raised in Spain, she studied Fine Arts at Central Saint Martins in London. Her works, which are primarily voiced in the first person, blur the distinction between the artist and object of study, often creating humorous, gentle deceptions, while exploring class imitation and the relationship between consumerism and identity. In addition to video, sculpture and installation work, her multidisciplinary practice has involved the use of social media, magazine photoshoots, interviews, self-promotion and brand endorsements as tools for the fabrication of fictional narratives. Ulman’s performance Excellences & Perfections was archived by Rhizome and the New Museum (New York) and exhibited at the Tate Modern and Whitechapel Gallery (London). Her most recent works are the video essay Annals of Private History (Frieze Live, 2015), and Privilege (online performance, 2016) and its subsequent solo shows: Labour Dance at Arcadia Missa (London), Reputation at New Galerie (Paris), Dignity at James Fuentes (New York), Intolerance at BARRO (Buenos Aires), Monday Cartoons at Deborah Schamoni (Munich), Atchoum! at Galerie Sympa (Figeac) and NEW WORLD 1717 at Rockbund Art Museum (Shanghai).

The Gaze Seminar

Following the panel discussion there will be a seminar from 15.30–17.30 in the Duffield Room. This two hour seminar explores some of the key philosophical issues raised by the notion of the gaze.

The first half opens with Jean-Paul Sartre's classic discussion: Sartre uses the story of a voyeur caught in the act to explore objectification and shame through the lens of the gaze. We'll examine how the gaze relates to gender and subjectivity, and we'll consider to what degree it might be a positive, as well as a negative, phenomenon. The second half broadens the discussion to look at the gaze across different formats – how should we understand it in the context of painting, photography, social media or even writing?

The session will provide a concise introduction to the core theme and its significance for philosophy and the arts. We’ll then break into smaller groups for a guided discussion in which participants can explore the ideas and develop their own take on them in relation to the exhibition and to contemporary events.

The seminar will be led by Dr. Sacha Golob, Dr. Emma Syea and Vanessa Brassey from the King's College London, Centre for Philosophy and the Visual Arts. Participants will have the opportunity to contribute to a research article on the relationship between philosophy and their experience of the All Too Human exhibition.

No prior knowledge of the subject or background in philosophy is required. The maximum capacity of this seminar is 28 people.

This event is part of the three-part series: What Makes Us Human: Conversation on Art and Philosophy.

‘Philosophy in the Gallery’ is a collaboration between The Centre for Philosophy and the Visual Arts at King's College London and Tate, supported by the Cultural Institute at King's

Tate Britain

13.00 talk is in the Clore Auditorium

15.30 seminar is in the Duffield Room

London SW1P 4RG
Plan your visit


12 May 2018 at 14.00–16.00

12 May 2018 at 16.30–18.30