Paradox 2013 Strands Report
STRAND A REPORT: Material Matters.
CONVENERS: Stephanie James, Maia Rosa Mancuso and Christina della
The A3 sub-strand focused on materials as the real ‘stuff’ that we make
art with. To launch the A3 sub-theme Helena Garcia Ruiz Gallego from
Granada illustrated her methods for testing and what her conclusions were.
Studying for a Masters, Helena was able to carry out an extensive laboratorybased enquiry providing ‘hard’ data on the qualities of the products after they
had been subjected to particular simulated natural and inflicted conditions that
mural painting undergoes in a city context; extreme weather conditions,
corrosion, public intervention, pollution etc.
Following on there were three material themes presented, discussed
and reflected upon in the sun-strand A3:
1. Material as £ value
We discussed material as having value in monetary terms and/or through time
investment. It takes time to develop the skills to manipulate the materials and
so the time to make ‘objects’ must also factor in the learning time and the cost
of that time.
2. Material as conflict
The sub-strand considered the materials of conflict conveying political issues
and the meanings inherent in the materials that have been discarded in war
3. Material as agent
In this theme we debated the role the material has as major conveyor in the
delivery of meaning and that it was integral to and a signifier in audience
engagement and understanding.
Material as Value
James L Hayes, Crawford College of Art & Design, Ireland
The Materiality of Austerity: An exploration of the international sculptural iron
casting movement & its associated relationship to materiality, performance,
ritual and conference.
James presented an account of The Sculpture Factory; a major project
he set up in Cork in Ireland that was funded by Irish Arts Council & Culture
Ireland. One of its key aims is to preserve the art of iron casting and it holds
workshops in which participants make casts of objects and then gather
together to watch and assist in the melting and pouring of iron. The discussion
focused on the ‘performativity’ of iron casting and cited Matthew Barney and
Jonathan Belper’s KHU performance piece as an example. The gathering
together of participants in the iron pouring is a significant aspect in the work of
the Sculpture Factory. We discussed whether it was more important than the
success of objects that are made and whether the object then becomes a
signifier to the experience.
The discussion focused on the Sculpture Factory and its role in
archiving the process and the conference participants questioned whether
The Sculpture Factory could now be understood as a museum or monument
to iron casting.
Material as Conflict
Fernando Perez Martin, University of Granada, Spain
Various materials, the same cause. Art for Freedom in the Sahara Occidental
In this presentation Fernado recounted the long and enduring project
ARTifariti taking place in western Sahara. An annual event is held in the
desert and the main objective is to use the art to break the wall of silence that
covers a forgotten conflict from 37 years ago. There is a wall of sand over two
thousand kilometers long that seperates the Sahrawi territories occupied by
Morrocco from the liberated zone of Poliario. The Morocan government have
laid extensive landmines along this strip and as a consequence the Sahrawi
people are trapped as refugees in a no-man’s land. Fernando descibed the
conditions and how international artists and artists from the Sahrawi people
working together promote global awarenes of the situation there.
The artists use materials as diverse as armaments debris, sand, stones,
clothing, barrels of diesel, tent fabric, tiles, candles, old shoes ... using
disciplines such as painting, sculpture, installation, drawing, photography,
video, and performance.
Discussion focused on the important metaphorical power of
communication and the materials used in these projects. The choice of art
materials, the discipline and the processes are fundamental instruments of
Material as agent
Inmaculada Rodriguez Cunil, University of Seville, Spain
Wastes and Miseries of the Territory
In this presentation Immaculada focused on the impact of the recession
on the housing situation in Spain. She presented her practice in which
installation and sculpture work utilised the discarded boxes of property
brochures found near half constructed new apartment buildings and bankrupt
agents. Immaculada had exploited the material and presented it through a
range of approaches to object-making. The political and financial agenda
clearly made visible through art practice.
Interesting discussion and questions followed; understanding material
culture through material meaning.
STRAND B REPORT: Viewing Time Based Practice Through Time
CONVENERS: Kevin Atherton, Corinne Peuchet and Andrzej Syska
In the last ten years a lot of meetings have pointed out the importance
of the document (as a very large notion) in the artistic strategies, with the
images playing the main role in that notion.
Quantification of time itself has often been denied by the artists
themselves, therefore its registration (production of an archive) too. Web and
digital or dematerialized practices have pushed forward very temporary fine
art practices and raised as a necessity the question of duration.
(as explained with the paper from Marie José Baquier titled « Photografic
heritage and collective authorship through social networks »).
As the 60’s were probably the turning point of reflexion and creation of
documents in the fine art practices, the invitation of Kevin Atherton to open a
discussion with a young generation has been the opportunity to be joined in
STRAND B Paradox Conference by artists and searchers from Tcheque
Republic, Spain, United Kingdom, Poland, Holland and Ireland.
Inside of Fine arts projects themselves, a new generation is aware of the
duration of their art pieces. The document on the one hand and the art work
including a timed-based strategy on the other hand constitute an important
category in the confusion of categories and of semantic movements created
since the years 2000 in the contemporary art practices.
Miguel Angel Melgares, artist based in Holland for the project « Das
Art » has given a performative paper called « Durational performance in the
time 2.0 ».
Marta Negre and Joaquin Cantarello from Barcelona, members of the team
« observatory of the didactic of the arts » , by using the revival of the
« creative conference » and books editions examples have pointed out how
the impact of such practices can be as deep as targeting the way history of art
is going to be written down.
Some searchers in history and geography use the image of « the
narrow door » for describing how the trace of an activity is stopped at a
precise moment to be settled down in secured frames. This has been
illustrated by the moving-images conference 16 mm movie contribution of
Jenny Baines, from London with « repeat frame - the camera as protagonist,
the document as art work ».
These practiced-based studies delete the traditional opposition
between art work and documentation. It’s then mainly by the new generation
of art practice based searchers that history is going to be written down even
as a post-production or an –after image as mentioned by Ewa Wojtowicz,
a new media art researcher at Poznan University of arts , Poland (« Played
again, artistic re-practices in a process of creating temporary entities »).
We have then been interpellated as viewers by Margaret O’Brien, teacher and
artists at the NCAD, Dublin : explaining her installation works she has
reminded us that an action or a creation is art when it belongs to the
community of people for « time » is just the human process itself.
During the time of the 2 days contributions, it has been decided to turn
the Strand into a Workshop supervised by kevin Atherton. The Workshop has
produced a slow and repetitive documentary about the Strand itself.
Artistic Director, interdisciplinary art work including performance
Researchs groups associated member : HUM 425 Andalucia, Spain
DasARTS : Laboratory for advanced studies in Performing Art, Amsterdam
School of the Arts, Holland
PhD Student, at Manchester School of Art , England, movie-maker, England.
Professor-lecturer in the Painting department, faculty of fine arts, university of
Member of the team « observatory for the didactic of the arts (ODAS)
and Dr. Joaquim Cantalozella Planas
Painter and professor in the Painting department, faculty of fine arts,
university of Barcelona, Spain
Academic based at the University of Arts, Poznan, Poland as assistant
professor. New media arts researcher and art critic, Master in fine art at the
University of Arts, Poznan. PhD at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan.
Installation art practice
Teacher at the National College of Art and design, Dublin, Irland. 3d year PhD
at Trinity College, Dublin.
Maria Antonietta Malleo
Professor of History of Contemporary Art at the Accademy of Fine Arts of
Paper : Strategies of Time and Memory in Paris and Cairo’s Street Art
Maria José Barquier Perez y Rafael Marfil Carmona
Doctorate students, Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Granada, Spain
Were present and taking part of the discussion group as paper writers or not :
Richard Fajnor, Vice-rector, historian of arts,
Janacek Academy of Music and Performing arts, Brno, Czech Republic
Ana Vinoda, PhD Student University of Zadar, Croatia ,
Paper : the process of graphic trace
Eugenia Agusti Cami,,
Vice Dean for international relations and equipment, Faculty of Fine Arts,
University of Barcelona, Spain
Teacher, Painting department, Doctoral program for advanced studies in art
production. Research Group: Fine art in digital time (Arte en la Era digital)
Arts and Sciences Researcher. The Planetary Collegium. Faculty of fine arts,
University of Plymouth, England.
Paper :The temporal dimension of new technologies in contemporary art
Juan Bernardo Pineda Perez,
Choregraph and movie-maker, teacher history of cinema and dance
Erasmus coordinator for the Fine Arts Faculty of Social Sciences and
Humanities, Teruel-Zaragoza , Spain.
Maria del Carmen Bellido Marquez , department restauration UGR ,
Diálogo de Narelle Jubelli entre el tiempo la materia y los conceptos
STRAND C REPORT: Challenging Fine Art Pedagogies
CONVENERS: Rebecca Fortnum, Helen Baker and Christine Pybus
During the first ay of this strand we heard seventeen papers from
twenty-two colleagues hailing from sixteen institutions in four different
European countries (UK, Spain, Poland and Norway). These contributions
were split into four sessions. The first set the scene and established the
history and context of the teaching of fine art within the academy. The
second looked at the current challenges; the first half of this session outlined
the pertinent issues for contemporary arts education and the second half
looked more specifically at the fields of exhibition and drawing where these
issues can be seen playing out. The third session included seven specific
case studies of current innovation in contemporary art pedagogy within the
academy. The fourth and last session used performance and other forms of
enactment to demonstrate new ways of configuring teaching/learning. The
plenary on the second day gathered responses from smaller groups in relation
to the issues brought up from the sessions and are gathered below.
All present seemed to agree that there had been a paradigm shift
within the teaching of contemporary art practice in recent years and that
the methodology of teaching this subject needed to change.
The following points were also made:
We felt suspicious of the term ‘teaching’.
Many speakers spoke of ‘facilitating’ and ‘guiding’ the students rather
than ‘teaching’. The comment, ‘teachers are no longer the experts’
resonated with many. As tutors of fine art we agreed that we aimed to respect
the individuality and the diversity of students and tried to help them ‘try out
different voices’ and view points. There was a belief expressed that we have
a useful job to do in creating face to face situations for students within a
plethora of virtual communication.
We discussed the ‘full’ curriculum
We noted that the curriculum keeps expanding as we accommodate
different shifts within contemporary art theory and practice.
approaches and attitudes leave a legacy and this has led to a ‘full’ curriculum
of a whole range of activities, attitudes and practices. However we were
slightly skeptical about whether this led to diversity and we examined the
possible benefits of ‘remaining the same’ (both in teaching and making). We
decided we wanted to create flexible frameworks rather than an endlessly
expanding a la carte menu of teaching. We want this framework to be
continually re-made and shaped by those that use it. We agreed the
importance of difference and suggested that institutions should allow for
asymmetry, rather than stifling homogeneity.
We acknowledged the ‘undercover curriculum’, the official and the
unofficial within our teaching delivery.
We agreed that what we do is not always what we say we do and that
very often we were brokering the demands of the students and the demands
of the institution. Acknowledging this was important to us as teachers who
delivered straight to students. We felt that recent moves to standardise
education had led to an ‘official’ homogeneity and so had often brought about
the emergence of a ‘hidden curriculum’. This hidden curriculum is what we,
as teachers, were most interested in as it was where exciting teaching and
learning activities take place. This innovative undercover curriculum was a
way that those from very traditional or managerial institutions dealt with their
creatively stifling regimes.
We realized that how we organized ourselves within a space is
We heard how the places/spaces of production within the academy
have been expanded and extended. We discussed the classroom, workshop,
studio, library and canteen as productive sites. We also saw how the use of
external residencies and projects was vital to our work. The exhibition was
also recognized as crucial pedagogic strategy within fine art. We noted that,
given the shifts within practice and teaching, many of the spaces we work in
are no longer fit for purpose.
We thought about how to equip students for their futures.
We explored ideas around how we help students to articulate their art
works and practices. We examined how often this articulation revolved
around notions of ‘justification’ and ‘explanation’ and looked at strategies that
disrupted that. We questioned the aims, content and delivery of ‘professional
practice’ in art schools.
We debated the changing role of ‘skills’.
We asked what the place of skills was – in particular making skills – in
relation to ideas and technology. We examined how contemporary artists
often positioned themselves in relation to a split between the hand-made and
the conceptual? We concluded that viewing them as divergent may not be
We agreed that collaboration is important
We discussed the role of collaboration, between students, between
staff, between staff and students within the changing social dynamic. We
were mindful that the tutor-student relationship is affected by ‘external’ factors
such as the social and political climate, the fluctuations in economic priorities
as well as different attitudes to class, race and gender. We agreed it was
important to acknowledge these sub texts to the teaching/learning dynamic.
Granada, December 2013.