10.04.16 – Features of “labour” practice of contemporary artist

10.04.2016 – 15:30

Lecture by Antonina Seryakova and Anna Karpenko

Features of “labour” practice of a contemporary artist, curator, curator-artist and artist-curator

A modernistic artist, as a figure of a loner-creator, appears to us as an archaeologic fossil. Contemporary art resembles rather a well-organised business-process with its own staff of curators, art-critics, researchers, journalists, craftsmen, helpers and labourmen, where the figure of an artist is a figure of a manager. Such big artists as Ai Weiwei, Marina Abramović are already rather well-organised corporations, brands, which shield the whole industry. How the labour of an artist is transforming today? And thereafter, how the very art is transforming as an activity and an institute? Those are the central questions of creative industries today.
In the process, we can screen short excerpts from films by Ai Weiwei, Marina Abramović, “Exit through the gift shop”, which demonstrate how the labour of an artist was transforming from an artist-creator and a loner-artist into an artist-manager.

The second figure of contemporary art space is a curator. What is this labour like? Which metamorphoses has it been undergoing in XX-XXI centuries? The figure of an independent curator appeared in specific economic circumstances, when free labour at the junction of business (entrepreneurship) and art became possible. And if an artist has been gradually transforming from a creator to a function, then a curator has grown from a function into a sterling creator. Manifesta, Documenta, Venice Bienalle – is the triumph of curators, screening the labour of the artist.

How the labour of an independent curator is done in Belarussian realities, conditioned by the economic system, which seeks to define the outline of artistic space (the law on parasitism in relation to artists, difficulties with the opening of private galleries, the lack of tax incentives in case of implementing art transactions).

Finally, it would be interesting, taking Ruslan Vashkevich’s projects as an example, to show, how an artist, under certain circumstances, becomes a curator. Which criteria do we apply to the assessment of his labour? As the audience, as art-managers, as collectors.