Research Prizes

Christophe C.J. Van Eecke
PhD dissertation:
Pandaemonium: Ken Russell’s Artist Biographies as Baroque Performance.

Supervisor: Professor M. Meijer, professor Karel Vanhaesebrouck
Co-supervisor: Dr. J. Post
Nomination: Maastricht University, Faculty of Social Sciences

Report by the Selection Committee
This dissertation analyzes in striking fashion the autobiographical approach of biographer Ken Russell from the perspective of the filmic genre. The author unravels the tangles in which Russell writes his own life through the lives of others. In terms of strategy and approach, the subject is decidedly unconventional. Van Eecke’s analysis of Russell’s work evokes a Jeroen Bosch-like quirky and kaleidoscopic world. This concerns ‘life writing’ – coincidentally also the theme of the 2016 Erasmus Prize – based on audio-visual interpretations. Moreover, the jury was particularly struck by Van Eecke’s ability to translate film into writing, using a clear and authoritative style. The unconventional character of the artist Russell, the subject of this study, keeps pace with the extremely original and innovative argument of the dissertation’s author.

Christophe Van Eecke (1977) studied philosophy and art history at the University of Leuven and obtained a PhD from Maastricht University with ‘Pandaemonium: Ken Russell’s Artist Biographies as Baroque Performance’ (2015, double doctorate with Université Libre de Bruxelles). Prior to that, he was a critic and essayist, and a philosopher in residence at Lokaal 01 in Breda. He also published Only Connect: Five Exercises in Aesthetics (2011). He currently teaches at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Maastricht University, where he is a Fellow at the Centre for Gender and Diversity. His research focuses on life writing and the performance of the self in art, with a special interest in the articulation of homosexual identity in the circles around Oscar Wilde in Victorian England.