belas-artes ulisboa graduate students – painting 15’16
29TH JULY > 25TH AUGUST I SOCIEDADE NACIONAL DE BELAS-ARTES
GRADUATE STUDENTS EXHIBITION — PAINTING
(2015/2016 academic year)
We can start the presentation text so disparate (as disparate as the artistic production of this and other moments or times, the result of several authorship singularities) reaffirming that this exhibition is a selection (participated by students-artists) of their works in the graduate class of last year (2015/2016). Therefore, we return to this room, Faculdade de Belas-Artes da Universidade de Lisboa and its students from Painting V and Painting VI, artists to discover or rediscover, with a collective which ended its activities in the summer of 2016.
The question of the collective is key: not living or working at the isolation of the atelier, the finalist artist-author (while still a student, therefore) discovers his uniqueness in the collective class and in constant dialogues with colleagues, friends and teachers. The experimental and free nature of this work relates more with the rules of the discipline (or Curricular Unit), where there is still the figure of the numeric “classification, this experimentation will connect as much or more to those particularities, said, with regard to the market, known that here we find authors integrated into the rules or places of the art market.
The collective selection criteria is, in our view, the right thing: all finalists participate without exception, because everyone enjoyed free and annual work discussions, solid work, committed and interested in which school breaks were not felt (the two semesters of academic activities pass a continuous permanently fluid): sometimes because the need of working/creating is incessant, sometimes because a work is always “incomplete”.
It is here, in these annual balance sheets, that “teaching” art is cooperating (in the finalists case, above all, cooperation between teachers and students), work within a tradition that is transmitted (a “context” that is transmitted, not a recipe), knowing that there’s something that’s unconditional (Derrida) transmissibility. The Particular to the University and artistic education. Or artistic education, very much in particular.
In a way, the art school (s) represents better than other cases the figure of the “University”, as it is exposed by Derrida: the University is “without condition” because here everything can be said (even calling into question “art” or “University”), so the University has its strength and weakness, because in this unconditionality advances, but also in this self-criticism can be absorbed by “foreign forces” to the knowledge. And, as De Duve would say, art is a knowledge that is transmitted and is passed from generation to generation, building a “tradition”, a modern and current tradition.
Unconditionality, criticism and tradition, therefore, here they are. But, as Jacques Rancière shows us, another factor here joins: in Le Maître Ignorant, tell us the title, the “master” is never above the “disciple”, there is a critique of the logic of explanation (there’s no “right recipes” in art) and both are in dialogue with its not-knowing and amazing dialogue: the teacher can’t predict what is going to come across – talk about rupture or continuity, but the surprise predominates (almost blindly, says Rancière).
Also Ortega y Gasset, in his known Misión de la Universidad, tells us about “transmission”, that being the basis of the work which, in the unconditionality of Derrida, could be called into question, obviously.
The curatorship of these exhibitions is “open” and “democratic”: every student, here proposed as an artist (in fact it is always said to the finalist that he is an artist who as such has to think when performs evaluative work: final assessment? Yes, imagine it as being a solo exhibition), each student/author chooses (with themselves) a set of works that best represents, in exchange of teachers/students opinions. It was always like this and will continue to be.
It is assumed that this interaction is the privileged tool because, as it was said a few decades in the mythical Black Mountain College, first comes the student, their ideas, practices and idiosyncrasies, then is the resume of the discipline, specifically its program that, at this level, there is none simply. It is the student who, at the beginning of the year, proposes one.
If we wanted to use another figure known from thought, we would say, returning to Rancière, the master is a kind of “ignorant master” at the beginning, because he has to find himself, in these early days of work, with and in the territory of the student. And he has all the freedom to evolve: here we find works linked or explained by traditional genres such as landscape or portrait (which the authors recreate to their skill), photographic works or video, objects with sculptural characteristics or installation. But always within the context of painting, even if this context is not defined. And that’s what this exhibition seeks: to contribute to this definition.