Expectation and reality
a workshop and publication
with contributions by Henrike Altes, Charlotte Caroux, Gabriel Guevara, Lars Den Hertog, Kalkidan Hoex, Sam Janssen, Alicja Melzacka, Martijn Oerlemans, Elli Ott, Eylem Polat, Luisa Suigapov, Clara Sophia Uerlichs
designed by Sam Janssen
collectively edited by the participants of the workshop
limited edition published by Maastricht Academy of Fine Arts and Design
The publication was produced in conjunction with the workshop 'art (and) writing' that took place in May-June 2019, at the Maastricht Academy of Fine Arts and Design. The participants were the students of the Master Artistic Matters. The workshop was developed and moderated by Alicja Melzacka.
Over the last few weeks, I have been moderating a workshop on art (and) writing – a subject as broad and vague as it sounds. In the end, there are as many approaches to it as there are artists (and) writers. The workshop was addressing the first-year Master’s students at the Maastricht Academy of Fine Arts and Design.
When we started off, I noticed words painted in black on the studio door, reading “expectation and reality”. Every time the workshop was about to start, these words reminded me that the space between us, participants, and between our words is holed with many ‘expectation-reality gaps’ that we were going to try to ‘jump’ in the next few hours. Yesterday, I learnt that someone painted the door white.
At the beginning, the participants were asked to deliver a text about their own artistic practice. The idea was to then exchange the texts and respond to one another’s writing (by editing, rewriting, commenting). During each session, we gathered to observe and discuss the changes in attitudes, the shifting of registers and positions: from formal to informal, from quasi-objective to, at times, outright personal (or at least appearing so). In other words, we were trying to access the treacherous format of an ‘artist’s statement’ in order to ‘explode it’ from within.
One of the goals of the workshop was to identify and re-imagine potential relationships between artist’s text and artistic practice (from ‘marriage of convenience’, to correspondence, to even synthesis; the repertoire goes way beyond ‘interpretation’). At the same time, the workshop aimed to help participants develop critical, analytical, and writing skills that might come useful in their future endeavours, within and outside of the academy. Those two ambitions – let’s call them ‘reflective-experimental’ and ‘pragmatic’ – often interfered with one another, creating productive tensions. What started as a question of writing about (one’s own) work has, in some cases, turned into the question of writing as work.
The aim of this publication can best be summarised in the words of Josef Strau when he said “I am attempting the difficult task of describing the change of an attitude and its consequences.” The publication, put together in just one week, features contributions by the workshop participants – the students of the Master Artistic Matters, including three profiles: Art-Polis, Design-Jewellery, and Media-Intercultural Media and Innovation. I think when viewing it, in many instances, you won’t be able to tell their works and words apart, which testifies to the remarkable interdisciplinarity or rather hybridity of some of the practices. Through the format and content of the publication, we want to emphasise the open-ended character of the project and grant the reader an insight into the process. The publication contains not only the texts developed during the workshop and images of works, but also the documentation of work-in-progress and snippets of different materials generated in the messy process of editing and rewriting.