scientific assistant, Institute for
History of Art
(interview in the frame of Art & Education virtual conference,
authors recommended for study in art-specialized educational institutions. Could
you specify the range of theory that should in your opinion be included into
educational program on Art academies?
Classical aesthetics & art theory
(from Plato to Hegel, Baumgarten, Winckelmann, Nietzsche, Heidegger etc.).
Main concepts in 20th century philosophy
& theory (Marxism, structuralism (incl. linguistics), semiotics,
deconstruction, psychoanalysis, feminism, queer theory, postcolonial theory, etc.
expected from graduates of art-specialized educational institutions. Could the
term Ďuncompetent artistí proposed in draft of this project imply an artist
with lack of theoretical education?
The basic/general theoretical knowledge contribute to artistís
competence but doesnít† guarantee it.
If so, can one
likewise draw an analogous concept of Ďuncompetent theoreticianí who lacks a
practical experience in art?
No, I donít think that theoretician needs
experience in art-practice to produce competent art-theory.† Of course, he/she should be informed, have
passive knowledge about art (if he/sheís occupied with art-theory).
example for illustration: What is the competence expected from an Art Academy
graduate in the case when s/he applies for a theoretical post-graduation study?
It should be preferable that graduate already have some knowledge
in aesthetics and art-theory, but I donít think that art-practice and
theory-practice are mutually interchangeable Ė one doesnít function as a
metalanguage for the other, theory and art are not reducible as base and
superstructure, their relation is the world of cultural production is far more
How can one
define the competence of the artist or the theoretician in contemporary art?
Of course that both theoretician and artist should be informed
about the field of interest of the other one, but their perspective as well
their agencies are different.
preoccupation with theory necessarily carried out at the expense of an
engagement with works of art themselves?
I donít believe that art experience have ever been theoretically
unmediated,† spontaneous etc. but that
doesnít mean that social performance of art-practice can be reduced to itís
preoccupation with theory manifest itself on the production of works by: artists
Overtly generalized, uninventive
application of theoretical concept in both art and theory production are above
all boring,† but theoretical
naiveté or innocence is not something that could be count on.†
Is there a basis
to speak of theory as a legitimate medium for itself?
How would you
comment on treatment that artworks generally receive from theory as yet
appropriate illustrations of writerís thesis?
From the end of the í60-ies theoretical knowledge organized itself
as the relatively autonomous field of cultural production known as a Theory,
disintegrating traditional humanistic disciplines. During past 30 years it
attained hegemonic position in the filed of cultural production (discursive at
least), but it canít claim an authority for its totalization Ė in the end it is
just another particular discursive practice. And, of course, theory is by
definition referential practice Ė it produces its object of interest, it is at
least theory about theory itself. I donít think that theory is art and vcvs.
Can one speak of
the question of superiority of theory over visual art, in the context of the
tradition of power of language in western culture?
No. I think we are living in the age of images. We can be only
nostalgic on the culture of word.
The question of
closeness and inaccessibility of knowledge:
How do you
relate to the question of hermetic scientific / art / expert communities in
which the development of artistic / theoretical production and knowledge is
authentic and of high coefficient and where the question of its closeness does
not necessarily equal the question of inaccessibility?
Iím not sure I understand question. I think that authentic theory
production is basically academic, socially exclusive practice. Iím afraid it
can hardly become popular discourse without being commercialized.
Is it possible
to speak of Ďmythí when speaking about the inaccessibility of theoretical
knowledge within the art-specialized educational institutions?
If it is a part of regular educational program, than it is by
definition accessible for those who are interested to engage with.
What is the
importance of non-institutional publishing projects and lectures in relation to
the academic educational programs?
Iím not sure I understood what was meant under ďnon-institutionalĒ.
I believe that knowledge should be democratic. Every project weather
institutional (academic) weather non-institutional might contribute to the
democracy of knowledge, and Iím not sure that any antagonism between the two is
pursuing that goal.†
How do you
comment on trend of production of educational projects focused on and carried
out within the framework of contemporary art?
educational projects indicate authentic educational crisis in contemporary art
or is it merely another marketable cultural form?
I donít think that art-education is in a crisis more than
education in general Ė† on the one side,
traditional academic concepts should be adapted to the new norms of
competence.† On the other, anything in
the world of capitalistic societies is marketable, including education -
knowledge production ceased to be reproductive force of national societies, and
all recent transformations of the ed. system are ultimately in the function of
accumulation of capital (global, not national).††
Can one draw a
releation between current educational projects on contemporary art (Manifesta
6, Documenta XII, Interaktiv by A.
Kulunčić and S. Kalčić), which are currently popular amidst
artist and curators, on the one side, and the conceptual art practices of the
1970ís on the other side, which were likewise focusing on the questioning of
the art system itself, yet only to be canonized and implemented as legitimate
art form within the Academy in the decades that followed?
Ultimate canonization or commodification is the future perspective
of any once avant-garde, alternative etc. phenomena, but not their final telos
- that doesnít discredit their subversive, progressive, transformative
potential neither their historical performance.
Can one speak of
educational issues in contemporary art as yet another appropriately generated
content for western contemporary art discourse?
The field of interests are always too complex to put such a claim.
Isnít the lack
of competence of the artists and curators of which Alexander Sokolov speaks
actually a rather anticipated pattern of western contemporary art development
in which one generates paradigms whenever the art structures recognize the need
I donít think that artists and curators are not competent. Who is
the big Other /Brother weíre talking about?
In your opinion
and experience, what are the practical obstacles in teaching the theory to art
or art history students?
If it is part of the educational program, I do not see any
What are the
models in education which can help students in independent and qualitative
selection of theoretical production and in overcoming the time-consuming aspect
of reading theoretical works?
Authentic theoretical knowledge is time consuming and demand
intellectual engagement.† Otherwise it
would be some other kind of knowledge or experience. All other paths lead to
the commodification of theoretical knowledge.
By reading Mr.
Sokolovís draft for this project, one might get the impression that the
recipient is called to accept the proposal for truly low self-esteem of, in
this case, Eastern European position, accompanied by abandonement of its own
inherited authentic theoretical tradition, in order to make room for receiving
the western theoretical industry as sort of a Ďparadigmí for a solution
(whatever the problem might be) in local contemporary art scene. Although this
proposal is rather unconvincing and not applicable, none the less - what
political and cultural indications can one deduce from it?
The production and distribution of knowledge is global, not
exclusively national anymore. The knowledge is marketable as anything else.
But, that production and exchange of knowledge is still something genuinely
social and not exclusively commercial is something I want to believe in. The
question is not weather we import or produce on our own, but what is the social
meaning of our consumption and production and how the knowledge is articulated
in the specific context.††