I'm in Z33, House for Contemporary Art in Hasselt in Belgium. A group exhibit "The Artist Studio" with quite an interesting premise has recently opened. Here the studios of 14 artists (among which yours truly) have been re-imagined and built inside the existing exhibit spaces of Z33, offering a unique insight into how an artist works and thinks and relates to his/her space. In my case, I'll also be working there for one or two days a week for as long as the exhibit remains open (more details here), so my reimagined artist studio is also going to be a space to work. From the Z33 website:
"'The Artist’s Studio' navigates through various typologies of the artist's studio. Starting from the different artistic practices of the artists of Vonk (an organisation that provides studio spaces to professional artists in the cities of Hasselt and Genk), the exhibition focuses on the relationship between the artworks and their place of origin. Does the artist need a permanent studio to work in? Is the studio a place of reflection or rather a sanctuary? Does the studio function as a museum? Or is it primarily a laboratory for the production of knowledge?"
One of the key aspects is that curators Sofie Dederen (Frans Masereel Centrum) and Dirk Engelen (B-bis architecten) created a concept where I could take time and reflect about the works that I'm now making; something I feel is crucially important. For example, I would have the physical space to work on all 1078 blue sky images from The Blue Skies Project together.
The particular goal for me is over the course of 3 months to reflect upon the correct constellation of blue sky images. Will I organise them by their historical opening or closing date? Will I organise them by hue/color? By number? By gps location? These are all profound questions that I need to investigate.
The result of this reflection I will then be able to use when at a later stage this year, I can hopefully start work on the actual museum installation with the original instant film photographs (insert excited finger crossing here).
I'm now slowly adding about 200 1:1 reproductions every week, and hope that in a couple of weeks I can start my first tests.
And I'm wearing a brace now on my left wrist, as it seems I've been stressing the tendons in my thumb cutting a thousand images out of these large printed sheets, and banging a thousand nails into a wall.
The really funny thing is that this exhibit freakishly coincides with what I've been writing online here with Classroom Diaries: thinking about the impact of my new atelier on my artist practice and vice versa, my way of approaching, research, my process, creating my work. And due to this particular set of circumstances, I'm now able to show a part of this process in public in yet another space. So I work in my atelier, and talk about how it changes me, and now in an exhibit they create a new atelier where I can then talk about how I talk about the other atelier changing the way I work. Quite meta, don't you think? I love it.
Which reminds me. I think there's an important distinction between the English word "studio" and the French word "atelier". My studio is the professional place where I output my already created work and bring it to the world. It's more like a creative office, my place of business. And if I had any, my assistants and interns and studio manager would work there ( - crickets chirping). On the other hand, my atelier would be the absolute private place where I retreat to, to continually confront my artistic practice and expression, and learn and grow and study. In this space, limited dialogue with the outside world is crucial, and experimentation, failure and critical reflection is key.