The Artist As Educator, 2021 – Boijmans Education
The practices of making, studying, and teaching art have inextricably intertwined histories. Art schools and art education programmes have always heavily relied on the practical knowledge of artists. Historically, a system of apprenticeships, guilds, and writings, such as Giorgio Vasari ‘Vite’ (1550) and the ‘Schilder-boeck’ by Karel Van Mander (1604), precedes our contemporary art educational programmes in Europe. But outside of the European context, too, the influence of artists studying with various people in various places is undeniable when looking at any historic or contemporary art collection. It is therefore not surprising that the idea of education—and more abstractly, the tenets of learning—has in turn inspired artistic (and often critical) practices itself.
An iconic example of this concept is the work of Joseph Beuys. In his oeuvre, the line between where his work as a teacher ends and his practice as an artist begins is often hard to define. His famous quote from 1969 illustrates this perfectly: “To be a teacher is my greatest work of art”. For Beuys, the focus is not necessarily the transference of knowledge or skills, but the simultaneous exploration of the boundaries and possibilities of art and education. The subject of critical, artist-led pedagogy has been discussed at length in many texts and publications.
Here, the goal is not to further this theoretical discourse as such, but to explore the practice of collaboration in three projects set up by artists. The core proposition of ‘The Artist as Educator’ is to contextualise the educational process as an art practice. What implications do we face when an art practice is in and of itself educational? This project includes three artists: British filmmaker Seecum Cheung, Rotterdam based collective Creave Studio (Roberto Romello and Romy Zhang) and Portuguese artist Priscila Fernandes.
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