“contemporary art”

Where are our art schools going?

At a time when European tertiary education is undergoing reform, French art schools make a claim to certain specificities. Between standardisation and identity, they need to evolve today while affirming their differences… So what’s the future of our public art schools?   Should public art schools be a place to train artists and citizens to experiment on their reflections? Or should they, above all, seek competitiveness on an international level? It all depends on your point of view… The standardisation of higher-education establishments in Europe, imposed by European ministers ever since the 1999 Bologna Process, using the university system as a basis, meets two major objectives: facilitating the mobility of students and promoting Europe’s renown internationally. But any harmonisation process requires adjustments that need to take into account the specificities of each player. This investigation aims to give a voice to those who contribute to reflection on French art schools: artists, teachers and directors of schools. What are the unique features of these art schools? How can the reform be tweaked so that it can be incorporated into these schools?   Learning to look at the world The first specificity of art schools resides in the content of their teaching. They teach students to take a different approach, to unlearn. “We teach a way of approaching the world, of creating an imaginary world, rather than technical knowledge,” explains artist Bruno Peinado. He describes his role as a teacher at the École Européenne Supérieure d’Art de Bretagne as the following: “Teaching students to look at the world and to create an imaginary realm from this impression. Teaching them to get rid of automatic responses and savoir-faire, in order to enrich their vocabulary. It’s a school for unlearning before recommitting to something else which would be based on the singularity of...

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Rens Lipsius’ Ideal Artist Houses

New York, Paris, Amsterdam… Rens Lipsius laid down the foundations of his Ideal Artist Houses concept by meeting up with artists like John Coplans and Dennis Oppenheim, collectors, or else simple art lovers. Lipsius, or the art of seeing art differently.   Since the 1980s, he’s come up with his Ideal Artist Houses, spread out over the United States, the Netherlands and France, each conceived as a “complete work” in itself. A one-time artistic director of the Fondation Icar in Paris, Rens Lipsius has a global vision of the art world, the market, and his influences. We retrace the story of this globetrotting painter who has followed an original itinerary.   How was your Ideal Artist Houses concept born? Rembrandt once said about the act of painting: “All it takes is to pick up a brush and to paint.” I partly agree with this idea, but there’s nothing straightforward about starting a painting! You have to get hold of the tools to stimulate yourself. And for me, this is about creating an environment, a context that promotes the creative act. Setting up a space that is physiologically adapted to one’s needs acts as encouragement to the eyes. And of course, the Ideal Artist Houses didn’t suddenly pop up.   Before devoting yourself to painting, you started out as a photographer. How did you make the transition from one form to the other? I embarked on a photography career at the age of 20, but painting was always present. Very early on, I felt that the subject that interested me most of all was light. Because both in photography and in painting, everything is about light. In photography, this is translated fairly directly by chemical sensitivity, whereas in painting, it’s a matter of interpreting this light. As a teenager, I already...

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Carine Fol, inspired curator

Artistic Director of La Centrale, Carine Fol presents “Private Choices”, a selection of eleven collections of contemporary art from Brussels. Conceptual objects, political pieces and even sensual images… Eleven intimate adventures running until 27 May. Interview.   La Centrale is Belgium’s hotspot for contemporary creativity. The art center is sponsored by the city of Brussels and is located in a former power station on Place Sainte-Catherine. Carine Fol, artistic director of this extraordinary place, has brought the programming here to life since 2012.  An art historian and specialist in “outsider” art, for the past ten years this supercharged woman has directed Art & Marges, a singular space dedicated to the creation of asylum and to self-taught artists. Today, at La Centrale, she’s receiving an ambitious exhibition; “Private Choices”. Eleven collections of contemporary art from within Brussels… with just as many varying perspectives on the world.   ‘Private Choices’, is the story of eleven adventures – sometimes intimate, sometimes intellectual, often sensitive… What’s the thinking behind the exhibition? I wanted to show the decisive, and increasingly important role that collectors play in the field of contemporary art. I also wanted to explore their freedom with regard to public collections, with intuition being an important factor in many of the collections. I think that this exhibition, with 250 works of art, breaks down the preconceived idea of a collector – the image of a player in the art market who invests in contemporary art for speculative purposes. Collectors actually take a lot of risks, and are often very close to the artists.  In Frédéric de Goldschmidt’s collection, we have Cy Twombly alongside the work of a student just out of art school, demonstrating that often gut feeling is really what informs a decision. Those decisions, as part of a museum institution,...

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One hour with swiss kinetic artist Ralfonso

Since the early 20th century, kinetic artists have been exploring the possibilities of movement, introducing the element of time, the nature of vision, reflecting the importance of the machine… AMA has had an interview with Ralfonso who extend this artistic lineage and incorporate motion into his art.   What is your background? My educational background is very much on the business side. I studied Entrepreneurship at the University of Southern California, where I received my Bachelor’s Degree and then went onto an MBA from Wharton at University of Pennsylvania. So I have no formal art training, which might have been a blessing, as I was able to discover the magic of “art in motion” at my own pace and in my own way. How did you start to make kinetic art? My passion for this particular niche of sculptural art started very early. Even as a very young boy, I was always fascinated by mechanics and design. From this fascination, I started to design objects and sculptures that have a motion component, that then became art in motion, or kinetic art. I try to push the boundaries of kinetic art at the intersection of art, mechanics and design. Mostly I am inspired by nature, by the shape and natural interaction of all the elements. Therefore, my sculptures gently move with the wind, water, motors, or when pushed by hand, and range in size from 50cm to 15m.   What are the major difficulties of making kinetic art? Aside from all the aspects involved in designing a static sculpture, you add the dimension of movement to the art piece. This adds the 4th dimension of time and “change over time” to my designs. So now I have a much bigger tool box to work with, which include interactivity via internet, smartphone...

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Doing away with “the art of the insane”

Dr Anne-Marie Dubois is a psychiatrist in charge of the Art Therapy unit at the Parisian institution, Hôpital Sainte-Anne. She is also scientific director of the hospital’s museum for asylum creation. When psychiatry meets art history… Workshops are multiplying, patient demand is rising… From the treatment of anxiety to schizophrenia, art therapy has met with growing enthusiasm in mental healthcare institutions for the last thirty years or so. Used for psychiatric purposes, art-therapy techniques may well also change the way we see otherness, and transform our fears about insanity… To find out more about this art whose contours are still hazy, we went to meet the psychiatrist Dr Anne-Marie Dubois, in charge of the Art Therapy unit at the Encephalon Mental Illness Clinic. At the heart of the Parisian hospital Hôpital Sainte-Anne, this doctor is also scientific director of the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire, whose creation dates back to the end of the 19th century. She has curated numerous exhibitions, including “Les Unes et les Autres”, “Psilocybine”, or “Elle était une fois” devoted to the Collection Sainte-Anne (until 28 February2018). From therapeutic issues to aesthetic commitment, Anne-Marie Dubois presents this “psychopathological art”: a singular practice crossing over mental health and art history. An interview.   The exhibition “Elle était une fois” goes over the history of the Hôpital Sainte-Anne’s collection. What are the milestones of this history? The oldest works date back to 1858. Already in the 19th century, a certain number of psychiatrists and artists paid interest to these spontaneous works produced by hospital patients. Some of these patients discovered, by chance, that they enjoyed this activity while others already practised art before being hospitalised. At a time when hospitalisation periods were long, this art could be described as “asylum” art – which is no longer the case...

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