Artoll, Bedburg-Hau, Germany
Residency: 4-18 March 2012
Viewing: 17 March 2012 1pm – 5pm
Martin Barrett (UK), Cedric Christie (UK), Garry Doherty (UK), Paul Helliwell (UK), Sally Labern (UK), Ivan Lam (Malaysia), Lesley Logue (UK), Sian Mooney (UK), Mark Sowden (UK), Nerys Mathias (UK), Lewis Paul (UK), Dean Todd (UK), Hedley Roberts (UK), Chin Wu (Taiwan)
“Directional Forces 2012” brings together 16 artists from Malaysia, Taiwan, Europe and the UK to work in residency at Artoll, a specialist arts studio complex situated in a rural psychiatric clinic town near to Kleve in Germany.
“Directional Forces 2012” takes its title from of one Joseph Beuys most significant works. Made between 1974 and 1977, Richtkräfte (Directional forces, 1974–77) is an installation of 100 chalked blackboards featuring the wide range of subjects that Beuys covered in his lecture presentations. The work was begun during Art and Society at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (Nov. 1974). It was subsequently shown at the René Block Gallery, New York (April 1975) and the Venice Biennale (July 1976) before Beuys installed it in Berlin in its final form.
Beuys developed the role of the artist as pedagogue throughout the 1970s, including discussion and teaching in his expanded definition of art, delivering lectures in galleries and art colleges using complex annotated chalk drawings on blackboards. Beuys thinking was highly influenced by the work of the educationalist thinker, Rudolph Steiner. Beuys theories of ‘Social Sculpture’ and the ‘Social organism as work of art’ emerge from Steiner’s theories of the ‘Social Three-folding” of ‘economy, politics and culture’. Beuys believed that art and creativity had the power to transform, and key to this was the belief that ongoing, active debate is necessary to stimulate this.
The aim of the “Directional Forces 2012” is for the artists to interrogate the pedagogy of their practice within a social situation within a series of interconnected studios, leading towards a new body of work by each artist. None of the studio spaces have separating doors, and artists are free to observe and comment on the practices of each other, without privacy. The artists live, eat and work together, sharing knowledge, ideas and creative experiences through social interaction and engagement. This is an unfamiliar situation for the majority of artists, who typically work in isolated studio spaces in cities.
The works will contribute to an exhibition on the 17/3/12 at Artoll and will be extended into a catalogue publication featuring images and text by the artists and associated writers. The project will be documented in an online blog http://directionalforces2012.tumblr.com, which will aim to capture the ‘social organism’ that transformed the practices of these artists during this period of intense working activity.
Directional Forces has been made possible through the support of Artoll and the University of East London’s Teaching Fellowship Programme and the Going Global Bursary. The project is also supported by the Professional Doctorate Degree programme in Fine Art (DFA), the longest running wholly practice-based doctorate level fine art study programme in the UK.