Artist research: Artists and their intentions

Updated on 25 March 2017 (Harvard referencing and some content).

This is an add-on post!

25 November 2016. Since the incentives of past artists have been filtered by countless art historians into public belief, I thought it safer to concentrate in this research on contemporary artists, who are still able to speak for themselves. I guess that there as many incentives as there are artists in the world and from personal talks with many of the artists I have met (including both my parents) I know that many do not define or question incentives for themselves or if they do they allow them to drift with the changes in the world the live in. Many of them say that they gain pleasure from what they do with no added social or philosophical context.

30 November 2016. But now for those whose intentions are more structured, starting with a link providing videos produced by the Tate gallery suggested by my tutor (Tate, n.d.).

1. Grayson Perry (*1960, UK): “Think Like an Artist” (Tate, 2016a) – this was a short animated collection of disconnected basic thoughts, which I did not find too helpful. His main meassage is that “nobody can teach creativity” and that every artist is alone to “do his thing”. I do not fully agree, because I believe that there is the possibility to awaken creativity in people who were taught to believe otherwise and there is creativity in most of us. Every artist is free to choose their areas of interest and whoever feels the need will follow their inner voice anyway.

2. “Art and Language” talking about conceptual art (Tate, 2016b) – talking about the problems of grasping and defining an emerging new art development. This problem, I think, has of course a profound influence on the transporting and understanding of an artist’s intentions. If nobody has ever heard of what an artist has thought up for the first time ever, how can he or she make themselves understood? Is a misunderstood intention of an artist, who decides to want a public voice, one that failed or a beginning of a necessary discussion preceding communal understanding? I think that there is a real danger that some conceptual art may go unnoticed or underrated, however, because the intentions are not made known clearly enough to a receiving public whose members were taught that you cannot teach creativity.

3. Mary Kelly (*1941, USA) (Tate, 2015) – the conceptual artist talking about feminism informing her work after a pioneering anti-war demonstration in London in the 1960s. She explains how a whole new world of thinking was made possible by the radical questioning of what had been. Her intentions as an artist were so new at the time that she had to go and look for appropriate media and techniques to visualize her thoughts. Kelly thinks that, due to the pioneering work done by people of her generation, women are much better placed to fulfill their potentials now than in the past. So, of course, there is a much greater chance for them to make their intentions known and contribute to developments important for them. This as a consequence shifts the stakes in the art world.

2 December 2016

4. Jakob Gasteiger (*1953, Austria) – in an interview given for the Viennese newspaper “Die Presse” (Weismann, 2016) Gasteiger explains his very personal view on the nature of painting. He is absolutely convinced that there will never be an all-encompassing, universally valid answer to that question. While studying in Vienna in the 1980s he came into contact with the “Neue Wilde” group (Ketterer Kunst, n.d.), but he know then that for his own intentions (in the tradition of Josef Albers or Mark Rothko) their neo-expressionist approach aiming at strengthening the figurative was unsuitable: “If you want to be a serious artist, you listen to your inner voice and do not follow trends.” He has not changed his techniques and subjects in 30 years, which he interprets as an advantage – the self-chosen limits allow the development of a great confidence in his work inside the boundaries. He does not want to give answers in his paintings, he sees his task in providing an area of discussion.

References:

Ketterer Kunst (n.d.) Dictionary: New Wild Artists [online]. Ketterer Kunst, Munich. http://www.kettererkunst.com/dict/neue-wilde.php [Accessed 30 November 2016]

Tate (2015) Mary Kelly | TateShots [online]. Tate, London, 18 March. Available at: http://www.tate.org.uk/context-comment/video/mary-kelly-tateshots [Accessed 30 November 2016]

Tate (2016a) Grayson Perry | Think Like an Artist | TateShots  [online]. Tate, London, 18 March. Available at: http://www.tate.org.uk/context-comment/video/grayson-perry-think-artist-tateshots [Accessed 30 November 2016]

Tate (2016b) Art & Language | Studio Visit | TateShots [online]. Tate, London, 28 April. Available at: http://www.tate.org.uk/context-comment/video/art-language-studio-visit-tateshots [Accessed 30 November 2016]

Weismann, R. (2016) Jakob Gasteiger: Malen als Prozess [online]. Die Presse, Wien, 23 November. Available at: http://diepresse.com/home/kultur/kunst/5123003/Jakob-Gasteiger_Malen-als-Prozess [Accessed 30 November 2016]
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