This research project focusses on artistic practices in which artistic creation interacts or coincides with critical interventions in a verbal form or manner. Even since early modernity (e.g. Vasari), there have always been artists in all kinds of artistic disciplines to whom writing and speaking critically on art and artists has been mostly productive for the innovation and reinvention of their own artistic practice, even up to the extent that one could easily speak of a (critical-artistic) continuum of artistic criticality. Words matter to these artists, their verbal articulations lead to a sharpening of their artistic intuition. Jean-Luc Godard, John Cage, Maurice Blanchot are by now classical 20-century examples, yet their artistic model lives on in the likes (and works) of Jeff Wall, David Hockney, Wim Cuyvers, David Foster Wallace and many others. In Flanders and its cultural sphere, it seems as if a regressive split between the mind and the body has been put into place over the last decades, turning head and hand, or viscerality and verbality, into incompatible entities for most artists. Yet, the academic, i.e. research based and research-oriented paradigm of today’s art education points into a new and other direction. This research project therefore wants to act as a stimulus for anchoring the interaction between artistic and verbal realisations that is nowadays explicitly asked for in the master thesis and the PhD in Arts into the fore-mentioned tradition of innovative artists who engage in verbal articulations of criticality. With this aim, I will undertake two specific actions during the research project. Firstly, I want to build and develop an international network in which I will try to assemble contemporary artistic practices with a critical and/or reflective verbal component, together with general expertise regarding this topic. In doing this, my focus will be on variation and diversity (multiple disciplines, multiple verbal forms, artists working both inside and outside the context of art education). In terms of output my goal will be an international conference on verbal articulations within artistic practice, with an accompanying exposition of master theses. Secondly, I want to write and develop a mission statement in which I will join my research outcomes regarding the fore-mentioned artistic tradition to a critical reflection on today’s artistic practice, so as to explore what their significance is regarding the integration of research into today’s art education, especially with regard to its verbal articulation in master theses and PhD’s. In terms of output my aim is a book publication, in which some of the contributions to the conference will be included, next to one or two of the artist talks that I will undertake in preparing the conference.

Researcher: Tom Van Imschoot (KU Leuven/LUCA)

Research unit: Image

Duration: 2014 -