Category : Arts Education

25 posts

Visit an exhibition, experience contemporary art by well-known artists and newcomers and purchase your favorite pieces immediately afterwards. This is made possible by the largest exhibition organized by artists in Germany. The show under the title “THE GREAT ART EXHIBITION NRW Düsseldorf” opened on June 29th in the Düsseldorf Art Palace and Ehrenhof and can be seen for five weeks (until August 4th). Due to the enormous interest last year with 15,000 visitors in four weeks, the show was extended by a week and will take place for the first time in the summer months and also on the outdoor area.

This year, works by 121 artists , selected by a jury from 700 applications, can be seen. Including the well-known photographer Boris Becker, who was awarded this year’s Art Prize for Artists for his impressive photographic work. The young sculptor Philipp Röcker receives the sponsorship award 2019. The exhibition is organized and carried out by the Association for the Organization of Art Exhibitions.

Works from the fields of painting, photography, graphics, sculpture, installation and video will be presented. In addition to the selected artists, students from the Düsseldorf Art Academy, class Gostner, also show. The very young artists are also involved: Pupils from cooperating schools in Düsseldorf take part (vocational college Lore-Lorentz-Schule and Matthias-Claudius-Grundschule).

the big pictures

DIE GROSSE is considered a unique platform for the exchange of artists, art lovers and buyers. It is not only organized by artists, there are also artist tours offered and the works of art can be purchased directly without the mediation of a gallery. Under the title “The Small Format”, works are presented that are priced up to max. 450 euros can be purchased and taken directly home. As a special edition for DIE BIG, four different motifs by Boris Becker from the series “Fakes”, “Constructions”, “Lawrence of Arabia” and “Artefacts” are offered as art prints.

In addition to the exhibition, the DONNERHALL events take place on Thursdays in cooperation with tanzhaus nrw. The kick-off is Reut Semesh with the Tanzgarde Düsseldorf (4 July, 7 p.m.). In the following weeks the collective Zoo shows the “Scutum Studies” a performance (July 11th, July 18th, 7pm). On Sundays at 11.55 a.m., matinee events with sound and dance performances enrich the visit to the exhibition (July 7th, Zo-On Slows; July 14th, MYEYE WHITE; July 21st, Sisterloops; July 28th, heirloom).

You have learned the basics and techniques of glass blowing for three years. When did you decide to break with traditional glass blowing and become an artist?

The trigger was a change in my school. I had completed my 3 years at the Kosta School of Glass, where I only focused on technology, and switched to a design school on Bornholm, where the focus was on the result. I had resolved to be very open to the other approach to the craft that the school in Bornholm would offer me. In the beginning it was difficult for me to let go of my perfectionism and my fascination for classic glass blowing. But when I got there, when I understood what it meant to rediscover a material, there was no going back. I’ve always been curious about what’s possible with glass, and I think it was a very natural development for me. I always want to go one step further and I love to discover new things. That is probably also the reason

“Glass is a material that is still partially undiscovered”

Maria Bang Espersen

 

Why is glass such a fascinating material for you?

First, it is fascinating and challenging to work with glass in the molten state. I love the challenges that constant technical progress enables.

Second, it is a material that is still partially undiscovered. In contrast to clay, for example, glass has only been part of a studio movement since the 1960s. Before that it was only relevant in factory production. That means there is still so much to learn. Glass can still surprise us and reveal new aspects of itself. One example is my 2012 project called Craftformation. Here I use compressed air to explode glass, which turns it into superfine glass threads.

Thirdly, it is a material that, due to its transparency, offers space for many metaphors and thus differs from any other material. Glass has great artistic potential.

I found a very inspiring quote on your website: “Transparency is such a mess – it means both; that you look right through it and that something is clear. Please don’t look through it. Welcome to the present. ” (2017) Do you see glass as a symbol for our modern life? If yes why?

I don’t see glass as a metaphor for modern life, but I think it has the potential. Also, I find it fascinating that transparency and clarity are words that are used metaphorically in contradicting ways. To see things clearly means to know something, but at the same time transparency means invisibility, and therefore it becomes something that cannot be seen or is not known. I use this conceptual framework in some of my work.

“For me, art has become a political tool with so much potential.”

Many of your sculptures have political messages. For example, in the “National Costume” project you address questionable political decisions by the Danish government on refugee issues. Is your art often inspired by political events? 

Yes it will. I think it is important to be culturally and politically concerned with what is happening. Danish politics has been going in the wrong direction for some time, and that’s why I just can’t help but get involved in this discourse.

maria bang espersen national costume

National Costume

The bad treatment of foreigners, including refugees, by the Danish government seems to me just cruel. It is a discourse that we should never forget and that needs to be constantly addressed. Just because I’m an artist doesn’t mean I can’t act. For me, art has become a political tool with so much potential.

Do you see yourself as a political artist?

I do. I even consider the less obvious glasswork to be political. They are political in a different way than “National Costume”, for example, but I don’t think any act is entirely outside of politics. All we do is exchange with the world in which it exists. My abstract glass sculptures are gently political; they question conventions and traditional ideas about what glass is and can be, simply by offering an alternative. They try to push our limits and open our eyes to the possibility that things can always be different. My work seems to say, “There is always another way” and that fits very well into a larger political discussion of norms and traditions.

Maria Bang Espersen

Soon your work will be exhibited in the Victoria and Albert Museum London, one of the world’s leading art museums. How does that feel to you?

According to a friend of mine who was there recently, my art is already on display at the V&A. This recording makes me overly happy and honored that the museum decided to purchase two pieces from the Soft Series. It’s exciting to know that they will continue to be part of this collection and will be available for generations to come. The recognition at this level is breathtaking to me and I really appreciate it.

From November 14th to 17th, 2019, your work will be shown at the Affordable Art Fair in Hamburg. How important are art fairs for you as an artist?

Art fairs are important because of the large number of visitors and because of “unexpected” visitors. Individual galleries often have audiences of their own, but an art fair expands the group of people you reach. I always enjoy sharing my work with a new audience and making new buyers and admirers.

“Never think that your work is not good enough.”

What do you think is the most important skill to become a famous artist other than creating wonderful and inspiring works of art? 

I don’t know if I’m the right person to answer this question, but I’ll make a few notes on what has been important to me over the years of making glass sculptures.

An artist has to be really good at a lot of things, not just design. That is often difficult. In the beginning I applied for everything I could find. This often takes a long time, but it seems to be necessary in order to make one’s art known in the beginning. In addition, it is important to have good photos of the artwork, and it is often useful to be able to write and network well. The most important piece of advice I can give to others is to keep believing in yourself and not get discouraged by anything. Never think that your work is not good enough, just apply for anything. You never know when you will suddenly get an opportunity or a prize that you never thought would have been possible.

Maria Bang Espersen

In your works of art you work with found objects and materials from all over the world. According to a newspaper report, they have already used sand from 169 countries in their pictures. How did this passion start?

As a child, I spent a lot of time in nature. Leaves, water, stones or small finds … have always been something magical for me. The sea and the sand were my constant companions in the years that followed. In my first exhibition in 2003 I chose the theme “Sea and more”. I found the idea of ​​throwing real sand from my vacation onto the fresh paint where the beach was painted, very exciting. The beach therefore had something very lively and reminded me of my last vacation.

World clock

How important is travel to your art and inspiration? Are travel and wanderlust also subjects of your pictures?

Yes, traveling for me includes “being on the move”, like the Rhine, the river where I was born. For me, making new people or discovering involves an adventurous tension. In these trips I always find special materials such as stone dust from an old Parlazzo in Venice from the 13th century or lava sand from Italy. I find them, collect them, and they inspire me when I start a blank canvas. And, I love the subject of “time”. In my pictures you will find small pieces of old clocks almost everywhere in them. The time seems precious to me, especially to fill it with important people, wonderful countries or new discoveries. I found out through family research that my grandfathers also loved traveling.

“The materials of the earth are colorful”

Can you tell the difference between sand from the Caribbean and sand from the Mediterranean? Is there a country with – from an artistic point of view – particularly interesting earth, or interesting sand or stones?

I created a picture with the title “Sand of this Earth”. I spread the map of the world with texture flour. Then I let 69 types of sand “trickle” into the land where it belongs. Before I poured pigment water in white over it, my card was colored! There is red, black, gray, brown or almost white sand. It is the small particles of granite, brick, coral or shells in the sand types that make this sand unique. The sea has crushed all the materials at the site and made sand out of them. Even within a country there are different colors, grains or additional materials. This also applies to the earth. Rolandseck is a former volcanic crater. The earth is very dark. In Gran Canaria you can see at least 5 different colors of earth: deep red, clay red, almost black, brown, curry-colored.

Where did your last trip lead you and what did you take with you?

My last trip was a trip to different regions of Italy. My favorite place remains Venice and there a craftsman gave me an old brick from a palace that was being renovated. In the research it was a house from the 13th century. One finds rust finds, one does not look for them. I always have a few small bags with me and when I find something I wrap it up and label it. I was with my daughter in the Arena di Verona, where I was able to take a piece of stone from the old wall with me.

In addition to my travels, I know a couple who are friends and who travel all over the world in the pension. For years they have also left me small, labeled bags on my doorstep.annette

Do you already have an idea how to process the found objects in a picture?

Not always. When I find and collect it, the material that I find appeals to me at that moment. When I start with a picture, a specific topic or memory is often the beginning. Then I fetch the “box” with the collected item from this special place. For example, in Faro near Ilha Diserta I met an old fisherman who is the only one living on the island. 3 small fishermen’s houses make up his entire house. I spent a whole day there with my daughter, he cooked for us and talked about his life. I carried the small souvenirs home and in memory of this extraordinary fisherman with his 3 houses I structured the canvas with 3 square papers and in blue. This is exactly where the finds belonged and made sense and the right place for me.

The finds are archived with me and are waiting to be determined. When I immerse myself in a picture, I combine my passion for Venice with the old plaster stone dust or brick dust in a filler. But a rust bar from Grado also fits in and when I incorporate a piece of poetry from my grandfather I suddenly find the old leather strap from my grandfather’s ancient suitcase exciting. Often, materials come together in a picture that I have not planned beforehand, but rather put into it intuitively and passionately. You can compare it to the art of cooking. The ingredients of a great sauce are often not the same but experimentally passionate.

 

Casa Verde

Since 2014 she has also been working as a sculptor. How difficult was it to learn this craft again and where did the motivation come from?

Stones were exciting for me as a child. Pebbles that are collected like hand flatterers and disappear into the jacket pocket were always there. During a painting course on the Wildkogel in Austria at an altitude of 2500 meters, I watched the stone cutters and spontaneously booked a course in the same year. Carving my first stone was difficult at first because I didn’t know what to shape. The sculptor told me to trust my feelings and use a chisel and hammer to knock away what I think had to go. Then an exciting day began, on which I hardly spoke but chopped off this stone for hours. At the end of the course, I noticed that I structure my pictures. Sculpture is just the opposite. Here I tend to mine the material. But in the end the water connects them both. The final touches are when sculpting underwater and pigmented water flows over my canvases. But to get closer to the material stone and to work a stone from all sides was incredibly exciting.

In the end I collected my stone dust and thought… .this comes full circle. What I cut down there, I can collect and build on a picture again. I knew then that sculpting was also part of my art.

 

Search for clues

“For me, traveling includes being on the move”

What kind of tips would you give newcomers to sculpture?

Everyone in my class did something different. I think above all you should trust your feelings. No matter what you want to do, you should try that. If you love the representational, working on structure, form and proportion is just as important as it is with the abstract artist who relies on his feelings or his imagination. One should also try different types of stones. Some very hard stones such as marble are knocked off with other tools and very soft, almost soapy stones such as soapstone offer easy access.

Do you already have an idea where your next trip is going?

Yes. Every year for my birthday in January I try to celebrate it in Venice. I don’t need big parties or celebrations, I just love the color of the sky in Venice in January, the water buses “vaporettis” and the Italian food. This ancient city has stood still in time and has to be rediscovered for me again and again. You can find many places without many tourists and you can fully indulge yourself in the magic and magic of this exceptional city … and of course, as always, I have small bags in my handbag.

Many artists know many artists. And that’s a good thing – for the common network. In the case of artists who are not yet well established on the market, this often means that in addition to personal friends and relatives, only or at least predominantly other artists visit the vernissage. But how do you actually get to other target groups? And which target groups could that be?

What is a target audience?

Any kind of art automatically attracts a certain kind of people because of a certain common characteristic. For example, all new grandparents could be a target group for portrait artists. Because these grandparents might want to have a portrait of their new grandchild. Of course, that doesn’t mean that your own art is only aimed at a single target group. Nor does it mean that all members of this target group actually like your kind of art. After all, it doesn’t mean that completely different people outside of the targeted target groups don’t feel addressed by your art – or a certain work of art. In general, however, it is definitely worth looking outside the box.

Why are target groups important?

Once you have identified target groups for your art, you can also target your advertising. First, consider where you can find your target group and how you can reach them with your appropriately targeted advertising. You can then align your advertising both in terms of content and style. You can even consider which exhibition locations are suitable for addressing this target group personally.

How do I find my target groups?

This is not a trivial question, because many different factors play a role. The art you make may attract a lot of attention, but due to the format sizes it is not suitable for the living room. Or maybe you already had a small fan base who liked to buy from you, but now that you are establishing yourself more and more and the prices continue to rise, your previous fan base can no longer keep up financially. When you have found a gallery, it becomes a little easier, because the gallery itself already has specific target groups in mind or already has a fixed circle of buyers and thinks that you fit in quite well. If you are not represented by any gallery, you have no choice but to simply try out different approaches with possible target groups.

How do I do this?

A good tip on my part is always: Do research with other artists(who might do something similar to you). Take a look at their websites & social media accounts, talk to them personally and ask them how they do it. The artist network mentioned above is good for this! Also, listen carefully when you talk to others about your art. This can be exhibition visitors, but also friends and relatives. Their feedback can give you valuable information about how your art works, or also about what it does. You should also have at least a basic basic knowledge of successful marketing. Because the best tips are of no use to you if you don’t implement them in such a way that others become curious. You can find some helpful information about self-marketing here in the Sommer arts Blog, when you click on “Marketing & Organization” in the category menu on the homepage

Which art in which workplace?

Art not only has to hang in museums, galleries and living rooms, it can also play a role in the workplace. But there is no job. If we want to find out how art and everyday working life are related in the , we have to differentiate. Certainly, for example, no nude photographs should hang in doctors’ treatment rooms. Or in a hectic office corridor, it doesn’t make sense to exhibit highly sensitive paper works. It is therefore worth taking a closer look at the respective work environment.

How do I choose the right workplace for an exhibition?

The following criteria can play a role: Is the art seen primarily by employees or also by the company’s customers? Should the art rather enrich the everyday life of the employees or does the company create a higher attractiveness for existing and new customers through the exhibited art? In the first case it is important how big the company is, in the second case the composition of the company’s target group.

These simple preliminary considerations will help you decide whether or not to offer an exhibition of your paintings or sculptures to a company. (Yes, exactly, you read that right: YOU offer it to the company and not the other way around!) In any case, I strongly advise against applying wherever you see art in the workplace or you can see it. In countless doctor’s offices and cafes there are pictures of artists who wish to be noticed – but unfortunately the opposite is often the case. When visiting a doctor’s office, for example, most patients primarily have their illness in mind and they often do not notice the art on the wall more or less than the selection of magazines in the waiting room.

Study of art in German offices

Interesting information on the subject of art and the workplace provides a recently published study carried out on behalf of OnePoll for the office equipment company Viking. The aim here was to find out how much art objects are already represented in the workplace and what people might hope for from art in the workplace. A small area of ​​more or less general art knowledge was also asked to see to what extent these people had already dealt with art. In principle, the survey took place across all sectors, with a large proportion assigned to the education system or trade.

In summary, it can be said that most of the respondents do not find any art at work, but that the majority would definitely rate the presence of art there positively. In the opinion of the respondents, this could increase creativity and productivity and have a calming effect. A total of 72.9% explicitly want art in the workplace. The interviewers were “shocked” when they found that the majority of those questioned (especially the younger generations) could not assign a number of famous paintings to the respective creator (unfortunately no creator) despite their great interest in art. (As communicated to me in an email dated January 24th, 2019) Perhaps this also explains the fact that the majority of those questioned would prefer to see photo art or landscape paintings, because as a “non-art connoisseur” one is most likely to feel an emotional connection.

How can you use this knowledge for yourself?

Even where you don’t expect art experts to be, art unfolds its pleasant effect on people. So there are always new areas that you can tap into if you align your marketing to (d) a, perhaps new, target group. Do not hope for the passing customers of “just any” café, but rather exhibit on the walls of a larger company, where your works of art are seen every day by the same employees and superiors and maybe warm one or the other heart over the course of a few weeks. Of course, a café can also be a great exhibition space – if you don’t save time and money there, do proper advertising for yourself and organize a vernissage for you with a lot of regular customers.

Anyone who makes art must also be able to present themselves in writing. And if you write, you also have to think about language.In some cases, this can go far beyond simple questions of spelling and grammar. So today’s article is a little less about art itself than about linguistic questions. More precisely about inclusive language. Coincidentally, many years ago I completed a linguistic degree with a focus on linguistics. Even then, I was very interested in feminist linguistics and how women appear in language. I could never describe myself as a student, artist, resident, etc. It seems strange to me to use a masculine form for myself. I do not want to present the whole topic in detail at this point, nor do I want to discuss it in detail. Who is interested in I am happy to have a private exchange with me. Today I would just like to introduce you to a few possibilities how you can practice inclusive language – and I will partly evaluate these presented possibilities personally.

headlines

“For the sake of better readability, the use of male and female forms of speech is not used. All personal names apply to both genders. “

In this way or similar, I often read a note in front of longer texts in which the masculine form is used almost exclusively. Strangely enough, this option is also mostly used by male scribes. Personally, I consider this possibility to be the worst – if I want to accept it as such at all … It feels like a carelessly thrown note that resembles a legal disclaimer. To put it quickly, you don’t have to worry about it afterwards and you are fine. For me, this variant does not change anything in the subjective perception that I am missing feminine forms in the following and that I do not feel addressed.

Headings (1)

“I was very happy about the large number of visitors to my vernissage.”

Just as I am addressing the “ladies AND gentlemen” in the introduction to a speech, for reasons of courtesy I consider it appropriate to address both genders specifically in other contexts if I want to reach them emotionally as an artist. Disadvantage: It can make some texts or individual formulations appear cumbersome and drawn out a lot, especially if several personal names are piling up one after the other.

Headings (2)

“I was very happy about the many visitors at my vernissage.”

In the early phase of the discussion about the inclusive naming of both sexes, this form was found quite often. Today it is no longer really up-to-date, mainly because the women look like an appendage. I can therefore not recommend this option.

Headings (3)

“I was very happy about the large number of visitors to my vernissage.”

Next came the use of the large Inner-I . First of all at universities, it already caught on in the 1990s. Today you see it less, mainly because the intellectual development and with it the practice of inclusion has taken another step forward (see next possibility).

Headings (4)

“I was very happy about the many visitors at my vernissage.”

For some time this has Gender Gap (Engl. Gender = Gender Gap = gap) spread. One takes into account here that the terms “man” and “woman” are social genders, but alongside or in between there are many other possibilities for one’s own gender identity. If you want to find out more about it here:

Headings (5)

“I was very happy about the many visitors at my vernissage.”

Another variant, which is not only very similar to the previous one, but is more or less the same, is the Gender Star or Asterisk. Since I only found out about this spelling in the last few months, I asked the blogger Sabine Küster , who uses it, if she can tell me more about it. I received the following reason: “… because the star-dusted also want to be taken.” Well, I have to say, that is the best argument for me and I will switch to starlets in the future! 🙂 (But there are probably other good reasons too … 😉)

Headings (6)

“I was very happy about the many guests at my vernissage. There was a lot of laughter . Hilda Meier gave an engaging speech. Those who make art themselves (instead of “other artists”) could get a lot of ideas here. You felt good and stayed until midnight. “

After all, the German language offers a variety of completely different possibilities: “man”, possibly “woman”, generally formulated passive sentences, naming, paraphrasing, neutral formulations.) That requires – admittedly – a very conscious use of language and it may take time a little longer until the text is finished. If you want to be even more precise, you can turn “who” into “which”. There are many opportunities…

Headings (7)

A last option is to use different variants (I personally prefer 2, 3, 6 and 7) alternately and thus ensure a good mixture. However, one should not switch back and forth between variants 3, 4, 5 and 6; it looks better here if you decide on a variant. In general, however, good text work requires that sentence structure and formulations are used in a varied manner. The desired effect is when the text creates a reading flow that does not even tempt the reader to think big about the form, but when it simply works through strong content.

A guest contribution by Achim Schmacks

The corona crisis is bringing artists to their knees

The Corona crisis has brought quite a few artists to their knees. The omission of exhibitions, sponsoring, fees and customers let some artists in the independent scene run out of steam.

Emergency aid programs do not work or are distributed with the watering can, here too the dry spell is long.

In my producer gallery BLACKOFFICE in Düsseldorf I have had to cancel three exhibitions and postpone them until next year. Postponed is not canceled, but the artists planned for the first half of 2021 will continue to be postponed. We can push, but not make up for everything. Likewise, we cannot make up for the loss of sales, discussions and contacts; many things that are missing cannot be made up for. We don’t catch up, we have to tie on, pick up and continue knitting.

Who invests in art?

The 2009 economic crisis had already had a negative impact on the art scene. Even there, the money was no longer easy, it was saved and invested in other things. Who invests in art?

People invest in art who want to use it to increase money. You buy art that promises an increase in value because we live in times of constant increase, and there seems to be no turning back.

Now there is a turning back! The corona crisis not only has Germany firmly under control, the whole planet has been covered by a pandemic, but the consequences for free artists are only known to a limited extent.

How can I help? A call to museums in cities and districts

Freelance artists are the caregivers of the cultural scene, they turn the wheel day after day – both before, during and after the crisis. Free artists are indispensable in a free, modern society.

I call on the museums of the cities and districts to exhibit their artists. Show your artists, open up your rooms and create space.

Offers artists a platform, opens museums and municipal galleries for their own artists, opens a virtual umbrella, a rescue umbrella for artists, unconditionally, but also as an alternative to the marginal and one-off cash support currently being discussed, which is distributed completely aimlessly and for purposes other than intended.

Don’t leave your cultural workers out in the rain!

How is that supposed to be possible? Quite simply, lists are requested from the cultural offices and professional associations from artists who work freelance, are members or have artist IDs. These artists are invited to present their work publicly in rooms that are usually not accessible to the majority of the artists. Museums and municipal galleries show artists from the city, district or region throughout Germany for a set period of time. This first event is financed by cities, the federal government, the state and sponsors. All exhibitions are freely accessible and with free admission.

Artists are an important part of society

Artists do not live and work for one-off payments, artists are not petitioners in offices, artists are an important part of society, an open society that, without culture and art, loses most of its education, understanding, ethics and zest for life.

Artists working to show their work need a platform to generate new ideas. Artists work in and for society.

Artists deserve more credit

If the artists are to be helped, then my suggestion would be a first step. The first step can be so simple and effective. This step would be recognition of a profession and a calling. Artists, free artists, live in a constant prejudice of bohemian and work-shy. Today’s artists are far from it. Marketing tools, social media and a society that demands more and more and is less and less enthusiastic call for a complete reorientation of the artists. Today the artist deals more and more with self-marketing, time for his own art and ideas often fall by the wayside. Exhibition venues are hotly contested, own projects and work spaces are becoming too expensive.

Artists live in a hamster wheel

Very few protagonists in the independent art scene receive invitations to exhibitions and participation in presentations, usually they have to torment themselves through long application phases and often pay for them. Exhibition rooms are rented out, art agents and brokers offer themselves at top prices. Times in which artists bring their works to museums, purchases are made and the artist lives happily from patrons are long gone and rarely to be found. The artist fights for recognition, attention and exhibition opportunities, he fights for studio space, a place in society and also a place in the museum. The latter is only granted to a few, because the museums block themselves, exhibit highly endowed artists and works and want to offer spectacular,

A rescue parachute for art!

Art should stay on the carpet in our time, a time full of existential fear, uncertainty and a lack of visions for the future. Take the fear away from artists, roll out the red carpet for them, for a society that is valued and envied for its culture and artists worldwide. Open the umbrella, the reserve for art, make room in your houses, offer space for art, space for artists and space for a society that is interested in its artists again.

Art therapy: “I can no longer hear it …!”

The other day I was at a working meeting in preparation for a joint exhibition. I was greeted warmly and asked if I was well again. “Yes,” I was happy to report and then told a little more about my last year of the disaster, in which for six months I was not only unable to paint because of incredible pain, but also hardly could do anything else. And I also told about how much art gives my life a secure hold; how much I played a decisive role on the path to recovery during this long period of illness, in which I struggled with myself and my body. Everyone present was happy with me. But then something irritated me …

One in the group talked about a visit to a group exhibition where he had a conversation with one of the participating artists and then said: “I can no longer hear it! I am constantly getting to know new artists who tell me how they found art through art therapy.”

What is behind this statement?

Is it the tiredness of personal fate stories? Is it an aversion to strangers getting directly personal? Is it the claim that art has to be art and not “just” a therapy result? Is therapy art art at all?

I would like to bring some clarity to the discussion here and also dispel prejudices.

– Is it the tiredness of personal fate stories?

Most of the time, stories are particularly interesting if they are either unique and therefore special. When you experience something that you rarely come into contact with in your own life. When you have the feeling that they are taking place far away from you and then you develop a certain kind of childlike admiration for the protagonist. If there is also very special art involved, the WOW effect is even greater. Perhaps the best example here is Vincent van Gogh. We love his art, we love his story.

Or stories are particularly interesting when, on the contrary, they are very close to you. When you recognize yourself or something of yourself in it. If you can even learn something from them, if at best they give you courage.

Conversely, this means that a story is of no interest if it is not unique but arbitrary. Or if, instead of a role model, I see a chilling example in it.

– Is it an aversion to strangers becoming directly personal?

Yes. You can answer this question very quickly. Because you don’t always want to deal with personal fate when you actually “only” wanted to visit an exhibition. Or maybe it’s the artist himself who at first glance just doesn’t seem likeable enough to get personal right away. Perhaps the intention of visiting the exhibition was also to distract oneself from one’s own problems and not to come across similar life issues that one has to deal with oneself. Anyway, it might just be the wrong story in the wrong place at the wrong time.

– Is it the claim that art has to be art and not “just” a therapy result? Is therapy art art at all?

These questions are the hardest to answer because they are the least trivial. What is art Opinions differ on this. While some argue with “talent” and “proper training”, others speak of “art for everyone” and “art as a way of life”. I think these are two very different approaches. And I think that in most cases both more or less flow together and you don’t always – maybe never? – can separate from each other.

Art as medicine

Many artists describe the beneficial effects of art or the creation of art. Because, in contrast to handicraft, art is not primarily a purely mechanical action aimed at a specific and reproducible result. The creativity and the creative process have a lot to do with the unique nature of the artist. This inner being can be healthy or sick (in the pathological sense!). Art can therefore in principle also be created by a person suffering from (perhaps depression). And those who are sick may also benefit from art therapy. Whether this therapy then serves as the initial spark for a subsequent artistic career should not play a role in the subsequent assessment of the works of art, I believe.

Praise to contemporary psychotherapy

I think it is much more important to positively emphasize how extremely effective therapists are nowadays! Anyone who comes out of therapy as a strengthened person and has found something (in this case about art) that has a lasting positive effect on further life has gained a lot! How nice that there are so many and when so many talk about it that some people find it “annoying”!

Whether in the end “art” arises or just “occupational therapy”, this question is superfluous in my opinion, since it does not depend on art therapy. Art and art therapy are two different concepts that can, but do not have to, complement each other. It depends on the individual case. So I refer back to the original question that humanity has been asking itself for centuries and what it loves to argue about: Is this art or can it be eliminated?

Can art influence the future?

An exciting new arts initiative, The Banality of Evil in our Daily Lives Art Prize , has been launched by an independent art collective.

The project aims to raise awareness of thoughtlessness that has unwittingly crept into our everyday lives. A unique opportunity for artists around the world to submit works that explore the lines between good and bad, right and wrong.

The text and the invitation to tender were sent to us by the artist SaySay.love. Please send all questions about the competition to the contact address given in this text.

The philosopher Hannah Arendt as inspiration

The theme of the competition is based on the writings of Hannah Arendt, the famous philosopher and political scientist ( > Wikipedia ). Arendt reported on the trial of Adolph Eichmann, the former head of the “Central Office for Jewish Emigration”, who was involved in organizing the expulsion and deportation of Jews and who was jointly responsible for the murder of an estimated six million people. Essentially, Arendt posed the question: Can one do bad without being bad?

Her conclusion is: “As cruel, cold-hearted and in their extent monstrous as the deeds for which Eichmann was responsible, so common, so banal were the person who represented these deeds. She called this thoughtlessness the “banality of evil”.

Goal of the competition

The aim of the competition is to show how we have become victims of thoughtless behavior in our daily life and to call on all artists to participate and to express their hearts and thoughts in their works of art.

The artist call presents a challenge to communicate what has never been communicated before and to create a platform for groundbreaking ideas that are brought into our community.

The initiator of the project, SaySay Love , suggests that art can change the mind and heart and has the power to dissolve the inhumanity and destruction we create through thoughtless behavior.

Banality of Evil in our Daily Lives art competition

We can all be victims of thoughtlessness in our daily life.
The Banality of Evil in our Daily Lives art competition is an open competition that creates the opportunity for artists to express their view of the banality of evil in daily life. The artist call presents a challenge to communicate what has never been communicated before and to create a platform for groundbreaking ideas that are brought into our community.
We invite all artists worldwide to submit their work and use their art as a means and instrument of a global language to communicate hopes and thoughts and thus create a new vision for our world.
In addition to providing inspiration, the aim of the competition is to show solutions that deal with what is probably the most important and current crisis in our society: the loss of our humanity.

The public selects the best 40 works of art

The Banality of Evil in Our Daily Lives is a one-of-a-kind arts competition that puts the public at a high level.
As a public project, the audience is invited to moderate the selection of the first 40 artworks by choosing and sharing the presented messages in our Banality of Evil in our Daily Lives social media platforms.

The award

From these 40 works of art, the finalists are nominated by the elected jury members. The finalists will receive prize money of US $ 2,000 and are invited to present their work at an exhibition in Berlin in May 2020.
  • Artists whose works have been selected for the competition will receive a certificate of participation
  • All selected artists are published on our social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as part of an international campaign
  • The 10 best works in each of the 4 categories that receive the most likes by the public then go through the selection process by the jury. All 40 works chosen within this process will be part of the final exhibition in Berlin, Germany.
  • The works of the 40 best artists will be published in a book that documents the course of the project
  • Only the 4 winners of each category will be invited to Germany to be part of the final exhibition and to receive the art award.

Registration for the competition

Works of art are accepted in the following disciplines: painting & drawing, photography & digital media, sculpture and performance art.
The call for entry will take place from November 1st, 2019 to March 15th, 2020.
For more information and the registration process, visit our website:
www.boeart.org

background

The theme of the competition was initiated by the visionary artist and social activist SaySay.Love . SaySay.Love was inspired by the ideas of Hannah Arendt, the famous philosopher and political scientist, and immediately felt a deep connection to the problem she described:
The idea that the worst deeds in human history were not carried out by fanatics or sociopaths, but by ordinary people who only acted according to instructions and felt their thoughts and actions as “normal” and did not question them.
Can a person do evil without being angry? That was the essential question that Hannah Arendt asked herself when she was responsible for the New Yorker in the trial against Adolph Eichmann, the former head of the “Central Office for Jewish Emigration”, who was involved in the organization of the expulsion and deportation of Jews the killing of an estimated six million people was reported.
Hannah Arendt does not see Eichmann as a man who harbored the desire to murder or wreak destruction, but as someone who carried out his profession and the tasks associated with it thoroughly and according to instructions. His private environment described him as social and inconspicuous. He did not correspond in any way to the image of a criminal and was the opposite of any philosophical theory of evil.
In a totalitarian system, therefore, thoughtlessness is enough to nurture the greatest crimes in history – a thoughtlessness that she called the “banality of evil.”

Artists reduce their ecological footprint

As a freelance artist and therefore self-employed, you have the advantage of not having to follow the instructions from above. But you also have the disadvantage that you always have to reinvent the wheel on your own. So I always like to research with others when I’m interested in a new topic. As “Artist 4 Future” looking for ideas for the good of our planet, the search is arduous, as there is hardly any material to date. But artists also leave an ecological footprint.

So I’m all the more pleased to have met Tom Albrecht from Berlin . On November 22nd, 2019 the workshop “How can artists reduce their ecological footprint?” Took place in the project room of the Group Global 300 – Gallery for Sustainable Art in Berlin . The topic is their everyday practice, the choice of their materials, their travel and transport. Moderation: Tom Albrecht ” . I couldn’t travel myself, but Tom kindly made the results available to me.

Recommendations for working in the studio

When looking through the handwritten notes I realize: Wow! So many ideas already! And completely inspired, I can think of a lot more! The task now is to formulate a few solid recommendations from the initially disordered ideas, all with the intention of generating less waste and working more sustainably.

The following lists & recommendations of what you as an artist can do to reduce your ecological footprint are based on Tom’s notes from the workshop (see above):

Generate less rubbish

  • In general, nothing to be thrown away is an ecological quality that must be achieved and maintained.
  • If you work with paints from tubes: only press as much on the palette as you really need.
  • Think carefully about where in your art you can save material or do without it. Or maybe you can replace certain material with common everyday objects or found objects 
  • This also applies to tools such as old T-shirts as rags.

If your art doesn’t allow you to do without certain material so much, then you can discover other strategies for saving:

  • A good cleaning and care of the used material comes first. For example, you don’t have to buy a new pallet every six months.
  • Also take care of your screw collection and don’t buy a new pack of 10 every time you visit Boesner. Do you even need 10 right away? Or maybe 2 or 3 are enough, which you can get individually at the hardware store?
  • Do you have material or equipment that you no longer need? Offer it to your artist colleagues!
  • Do you need devices that you don’t have yourself? From which colleagues can you borrow them?
  • You could even build up a network and a real stock of materials / equipment for visual artists to swap and borrow.
  • Also keep older works: maybe you can still sell them? Or exhibit again? Or recycle it for a new work of art?
  • If you offer workshops: Give people a well thought-out list of materials in advance. Is everything really necessary? Can you perhaps differentiate between “important” and “unimportant”?

An association with a model character in terms of sustainability

A really great example of the sustainable (re) use of artist material is the work of KUNST-STOFFE Central Office for Reusable Materials eV The Berlin association collects surplus art and culture that is no longer needed in a large warehouse and then sells them cheap to artists. A look at the website shows the great ideas of the initiative and a well thought-out concept. Hopefully there will be imitators in other cities soon!

protect the environment

  • Avoid using solvents when cleaning the brushes if possible. Alternatively, you can clean them first with sunflower oil and then with gall or curd soap. It is also best to pre-clean them before they come into contact with waste water, as the pigments can contain harmful substances such as heavy metals.
  • For your sewage drain, get a settling device at the hardware store that catches coarse dirt particles.
  • If possible, don’t use pigments that contain lead or cadmium at all.
  • Dispose of your garbage properly: Empty containers or packaging go in the yellow bin.
  • But be careful: Solvents and paint residues with harmful ingredients belong in the residual waste or, if necessary, in the special waste. Check with your local waste disposal company.
  • If you have a choice: buy the product without plastic. For example, choose a wood fiber board (MDF) instead of a lightweight foam board (KAPA).

Protect your own health

  • When painting with oils and acrylics, it is advisable to wear latex gloves. If your skin is sensitive to latex, you can still wear cotton gloves underneath.
  • Egg tempera and gouache paints are generally more compatible with the environment and nature.

What’s next?

Tom intends to hold more workshops on the topic. Perhaps you also have good ideas that you have already successfully implemented? Then we would be happy about it here in the comments! More extensive guest contributions are also welcome here in the Sommer arts Blog. Or maybe you just have a good tip on where we can do more research.

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