Changing artist’s practices

April 6th, 2011 – , .
Published in BAM.

There he stands, the artist. Alone in his studio, in front of an easel, paintbrush at the ready. Sometimes a model is present, or a sleeping dog. The light is divine, the silence and concentration tangible. That is where it happens, in that studio, in that peace and solitude masterworks are conceived. We are all familiar with this classic and romanticised image of the artist. It has been immortalised in paintings such as The artist in his studio (1629) by Rembrandt van Rijn or The art of painting/The artist in his studio (1664) by Johannes Vermeer. Opposite of this image is that of the contemporary artist. Just as much a construction, often not averse to romanticising either. In this update, the easel is replaced by a laptop, the artist (who can now also be a woman!) is seated at a large table covered with books and papers. There is no longer a model, sometimes there is an assistant, a studio companion, or a sleeping cat. If the romance in the first image consisted of the divine silence in which the genius had ample space, the second image focuses on the independent flex worker who, with the laptop under his/her arm, can work everywhere at any time.

There are few occupations about which there exist so many misunderstandings as about that of the artist. Artists are envied because they “just do whatever they like” or they are taunted because they “don’t have a job”. There are also few occupations of which the outside image contrasts so starkly with the experience of the artist himself. Seen by outsiders as merrymakers, or as people who turned their hobby into their job (sadly, still an often heard prejudice), on the inside artists are often dominated by tiredness, always working, never enough money. This misunderstanding is partly connected to the fact that working has become synonymous with an employment, a contract under which a predetermined number of working hours is cashed in by means of an agreed-upon monthly transfer. Artists work, have work but are by definition not paid or underpaid for this (numbers of the NICC1 from 2008 show that only 15% of Flemish artists can make a living out of their art). Artists do not work under employment, are not hired, do not receive temporary contracts and can therefore not be legally unemployed. No matter how awkward the old image of the genius artist in the studio might seem, a lot of people still take it to be the essence of the true artist’s practice. This only increases the confusion and the misunderstandings. For, does this mean that the studioless artists of our digital era are no artists? Does tangible material (paint, clay, marble, …) have to be used to be taken seriously as an artist?

Both stereotypical images of the artist, let us jokingly call them the easel artist and the laptop artist, are evidently fictional in the sense that they are representing archetypes or caricatures. Both then and now, there have been endless variations on the artist’s practice. Still, it helps to use these images as mental supports to chart the changing art practices. This charting will be done by means of the core aspects of the artist’s practice and with the aid of a number of recent publications on this subject. The core aspects are treated as an onion that does not have to be unpeeled but re-peeled. In other words, we start close to the artist himself with the place in which he creates his work, then the material with which he creates it, and, finally, the organisation within which this creation is happening. Additionally, through all these layers run the aspects of our current economy, market and the (international) context in which artists are working.

1.) Place

We did not start with the artist in the studio for nothing. The studio as a working space is emotionally charged, it was declared dead, it was resurrected and often it was the subject of discussion. There are artists who cannot work without a studio, there are others who experience it as a kind of straightjacket. One of the most often cited texts about the studio is that of Daniel Buren: The Function of the Studio. He starts his text with an enumeration of the three most important functions of the studio:

What is the function of the studio?
1. It is the place where the work originates.
2. It is generally a private place, an ivory tower perhaps.
3. It is a stationary place where portable objects are produced.
(Daniel Buren, 1971, p. 51).

Much has changed since that time, as a result of the work by Buren and contemporaries. The studio has had to partly give up this central place in the artistic calling, the studio is often not a private space but a shared one, and even more often this space is mobile and portable. Buren himself distrusted the studio because it worked simultaneously idealising and petrifying (p. 55). In the recently published The Fall of the Studio (2009) the editors of the book, Wouter Davidts and Kim Paice, write “that the studio has had to endure a number of tragic hits and has become the target of harsh criticism because it represented an artistic practice, material production and creative identity which the artists wanted to surpass or avoid, because it was a romantic straightjacket” (p. 2). Buren was part of the beginning of the so-called post-studio era in which artists left the studio and created work that did not originate in the studio but on location, in gallery, museum or outside world. The body could function as ‘studio’ or the working space was literally taken along.

The dissociation of the studio and the practices connected to this indicated, briefly, that what was considered traditional studio art – painting and sculpture – was renounced (the resultant post-material condition, the onion’s second peel, will be explored hereafter). But it also meant that the whole idea of an artwork, as a work, as a physical object made with the right combination of knowledge and talent, became unsettled. For how do you work when you’re not painting, moulding, sculpting in a studio? What defines this work and how does it look? One of the big misunderstandings of contemporary artistic practice, grafted onto the romanticised ideal with which we started, relates to the physical place of labour and physical material with which is worked. Merel Van Tilburg writes in her article De doorstart van het atelier (The new start of the studio) that “if the production process involved with the art work lets itself be compared to the contemporary working conditions, then it seems obvious to test the changes in the concept of art to the model of immaterial labour, rather than to the obsolete concept of industrial labour” (2010, p. 21). The fact that the contemporary artist’s practice emulates post-industrial or post-Fordist working conditions has also been convincingly argued by Pascal Gielen and Paul De Bruyne (more about this later).

Contemporary studio practices

The 21st century studio is often nomadic, temporary, shared and might just as well be virtual (in the sense of digital) as physical. The possibility to work on the move and to be in touch with colleagues, museums and galleries via Internet has strongly influenced the artist’s practice. For many artists their computer or laptop has become the studio space. They work at home at the dinner table or in an office-like setting shared by others. Often there no longer is the physical connection with one place of production. This idea of the flex worker is often romanticised as the ultimate liberation. Now, we can sit all day at our favourite coffee chain drinking lattés and working via laptop and Wi-Fi. But the downside hereof is that you are never not working. You can always be made an appeal to, the pressure to reply swiftly to e-mails is exceptionally high (the argument that you are working in your studio no longer counts, does not every studio have Internet? How can you not be online?) and your computer-as-studio is quickly reopened or turned on.

Temporary residencies and the many post-graduate and master degrees have also altered the nature and possibilities of the production of work. The artist as a modern nomad who hops from international residence to biennial does not have the time and space to collect stuff, to develop a stationary studio practice or to make large physical works (because where should they go after that residence?). Furthermore, artists are often expected to work with the local context when they participate in a residency, or the context is so obtrusive that as an artist you cannot help but relate to it. One effect of residencies and higher educations is therefore the focus on research, the formulation of theory, the deepening of the own practice, and on socially and politically engaged work. Just like many other countries, Flanders has contracts with a number of international residency places such as ISCP (New York), Künstlerhaus Bethaniën (Berlijn), Rijksakademie (Amsterdam), Jan Van Eyck Academie (Maastricht) en Platform Garanti (Istanbul)2.

The criticism of the studio as a straightjacket of practices, ideals, ideas and materials from past centuries led to a rift in the classic or traditional studio practice and opened a door for other ways to make work and for other definitions of what constitutes a work. However, this comprised a far less radical distancing from the studio than one would think. As a mental working space the studio continued to exist. Davidts and Paice write that the “studio, until today, continues to rise like a fabulous, many-headed monster that survives every attack” (p. 19). Van Tilburg as well states that “the studio, as a place where art is made, meanwhile has made multiple new starts” (p. 21). There is even talk of a return to the studio. The current revival or re-valuation of the personal studio as a physical and constant private space has to be read in light of an era dominated by globalisation, hypermobility and an excess of information.

2.) Material

As referred to earlier, the changing relation with the studio affected the use of material (and the diversity thereof) and, therefore, also the idea of the artist as someone with a distinct set of skills related to these materials. With the rise of conceptual art in the 1960s the concept, the idea of the artwork was preferred to the medium. Marcel Broodthaers, for instance, worked with the most diverse materials, placed the idea above the material execution, and often used objects from everyday life, like the famous mussel pot. In Why Are Conceptual Artists Painting Again? (2005) Jan Verwoert explains in great detail the consequences of this post-material condition. Other than with medium-immanent work, in which the medium is both the start and the end of the work, the different mediums in conceptual art such as that of Broodthaers are interchangeable (p. 3). It is not about that kind of marble or this kind of paint. It is about an idea and whether or not this or that mussel pot is used is incidental.

One of the consequences of the post-material condition is what Rosalind Krauss calls “de-skilling”. Artists no longer need specific skills connected to the knowledge of material to become an artist, they have become generalists in a post-disciplinary era (of course they do need a wide array of other, no less complex skills). In their research proposal about the hybrid artist, Camiel van Winkel and Pascal Gielen write that “contemporary art is generic. It is not determined nor defined by the use of specific mediums, materials or skills. Since the 1960s artists are not in the first place painter or sculptor, but visual artists” (unpublished research proposal). The platitude “my nephew can do this as well” originates in this loss of traditional craftsmanship. This credo is cringeworthy for several reasons, but is perhaps most offensive because it goes back to a reactionary image of the artist who just has to excel in one trade and who should not experiment too much.

In this post-material time, anything might be an artwork, a mussel pot or urinal, a stick or a bowl of apples, as long as it is presented by the artist as such. We just as easily outsource the difficult things – casting bronze, milling timber, processing marble. Of course there are still certain rules, the artworld (critics, curators, gallery owners, museum directors, other artists) have to accept the artist and the work. The values and qualities that are allocated to art are determined in the dialogue that takes place in the art world. These rules are less easily fathomed than being good at painting or sculpting. And of course there is talk of a certain set of skills artists need to possess. Increasingly often this includes management-like skills that enable the artists to organise their complex professional lives (more about the artist as manager later on).
Van Winkel and Gielen write that the post-material and post-studio condition entail considerable liberties (“what the material is, the conditions which the work has to meet and how the audience relates to it, can be renewed every time”), but the downside of this is that art, because it can be anything and traditional craftsmanship has mostly been lost, is difficultly recognisable. This results in artists having to continually justify themselves, because their competencies and expertise are not immediately visible or identifiable, are often not recognised because they no longer correspond with the classic image of the artist. Thus contemporary art is thoroughly discursive: art has internalised the own critical discourse and has to deliver a legitimation for each new work.

Contemporary artist’s practice

Liberating the artist’s practice from the studio has not only resulted in a pluralism of studio practices but also in very diverse artist’s practices. Remarkable is the increase, roughly since the 1990s, of projects (whether or not executed by a group), the process as work, research, relational and interdisciplinary work. Artists increasingly often state to be working on a project or to be researching something, they are attracted to methods from science, to archives, they want to produce knowledge and have a project. Every artist conducts research of course, whether it is a study of materials at a DIY store or research into historical archives, but the research as a practice in itself is a relatively new development connected to residency culture, the nature of international biennials, the loss of skills characteristic of art and studio, the unrelenting pressure to justify yourself as artist and scientific, technological and societal evolutions that propel the continuous quest of artists to express themselves in various ways in a changing world.

In Turning, Irit Rogoff writes that notions such as “production knowledge, research, education, open-ended production” flow over into each other and have started to form parameters for a new aspect in the production of art (2008, p. 1-2). This fusion is especially noticeable in post-material artist’s practices to which (semi) scientific work and knowledge production are central. These artists conduct research, sift through archives, conduct tests in labs, work as anthropologists or ethnographers, submerge themselves in a neighbourhood, district or other culture. Herein they do not focus on the final product but on the process. Interdisciplinarity is a given for these artists whose work is process-based and investigative. All tools, means, knowledge and baggage might be used to investigate a question, to tackle a problem or explore a subject in depth.
Media artists, individually or united in labs such as Lab[au], Constant, Okno, Timelab, iMAL and FoAM, have contributed to this research- and process-based tradition with an interdisciplinary, investigative practice of open-ended production. Frederik de Wilde, Eric Joris, Koen Van Mechelen or Angelo Vermeulen are excellent examples of artists working in this way in Flanders. Their practice has fused with that of scientists and researchers, they often collaborate with labs and the results of their research are embraced on both sides of the divide (art/science). A scientific touch and title have recently been added to this scientification of art production: artists can attain a PhD as artist. Additionally, there are multiple Master degrees for artists and research projects are also set up in the context of colleges.

Relational art as well is pre-eminently post-material because it focuses on the relations between people and the context in which a work is shown. It is about social processes, interaction and not at all about materials and physical final products. Rirkrit Travanija, who – as an artwork – cooks for people, for example, is typical of this movement.

One of the characteristics of these practices is that they produce work that is difficult or impossible to sell. How do you sell a process, a study or an experiment in a lab? Research- and process-based art has less opportunities on the market (at art fairs, for instance, you generally see paintings, drawing, photography and installations. Video art, internet art, process-based art or research are hardly represented in this circuit) and therefore requires more public means such as grants, residencies, or possibilities to write a doctoral thesis.

These changing art practices also stimulate (or force) arts organisations to take a different stance and to pay more attention to production and process. The translation of processes to the audience requires different skills of both the exhibition organisers and the audience. For instance, more attention has generally to be paid to contextualisation because process- and research-based works simply need more explanation. Institutions are often also involved in the project and a lot more effort will go into the possible purchase of the work. How do you preserve a biomedical experiment? How do you show it again?
Opposed to this process- and research-based art is a renewed interest in materials that are historically associated with the studio. A growing group of (young) artists paints, makes sculptures, prefers an abstract rather than a concrete visual language, moves away from project-based art and the desire to explain, to clarify. An artist like Valérie Mannaerts works, for example, with wood, bronze, ceramics, textile, paint, papier-mâché and the materiality of her objects, the fact that it is about objects!, is of great importance in this. We see this movement gain impetus internationally. In Flanders, this might be less visible than, for instance, in neighbouring country the Netherlands because the aversion to studio practices and immanent material work in the 1990s was not as intense.

Therefore, it is for a reason that Bavo in Too Active To Act (2010), a plea against the pressure of usefulness on art, in the first place addresses the Dutch art world which – whether it is relevant or not – engages artists, as a kind of flying chickens, to solve problems of a social, urban or governmental nature. This usefulness is, moreover, a many-headed theme. It is not only about social commissioned projects, but also about art in public space, artists who are asked to do a residency at companies, who receive commissions from a variety of companies who are looking for (creative) content or prestige. In Radicale autonomie (Radical autonomy) (2006), Jeroen Boomgaard puts the pressure to be useful through the mill and deplores the loss of the “necessary uselessness” of art.

The artist has to ensure the exception and the surprise, that which is not planned, but in doing this he does have to meet our expectations, take our wishes into account, go along in the mill of our economy of entertainment, without appealing to autonomy or his own programme. The task of the artist has not become any lighter. (Boomgaard, 2006, p. 3 of the online edition).
The latter is undoubtedly true. The expectations of artists are unprecedently high. The pressure to legitimise the artist’s practice not only originates in the deskilling of artists, their open and generalistic practie, but also increasingly in the demand to justify how governmental money is spent. This as well is at play more strongly in the Netherlands, where more governmental money is spent on art and culture, than in Belgium. Nevertheless, in the report 8 voorstellen voor betere werkomstandigheden en een autonome kunstenaarspraktijk (8 propositions for better working conditions and an autonomous artist’s practice) the NICC calls on the government to form a policy “to which the artist and his autonomy are central and in which they are supported” (p. 2).

3.) Organisation

How artists (are able to) work is partly shaped and determined by society and economy. The post-Fordist condition was referred to earlier. Fordism, named after car manufacturer Ford, refers to a standardised system of production, for standardised products that roll off the assembly line, for mass production facilitated by specialised machines, for uneducated but well-paid labour and labourers that are able to buy the products themselves. Post-Fordism was characterised by a service and knowledge economy, by information technology, the outsourcing of labour to low wage countries, globalisation and consumerism. We produce fewer products in the West, but more services.

Both models or systems require different skills from those who want to “join in”. Post-Fordism benefits from adaptivity, flexibility, sensitivity and communication. Gielen warns against it: the skills of artists and others working in the creative sector connect closely, perhaps too closely, to the desires of our post-Fordist era.

Increasingly artists have to possess thé skill of choice of post-Fordism: management. Management of their own work, but also of their own practice. They have to juggle a complex mixture of balls: the process of creating work, presentation of that work and the contextualisation of the work. Additionally, a lot of artists have on-going commissions (as these still earn them some money), from both the private and the public sector. As an artist you need management skills to bring all of this to a successful conclusion, to save a wage from all these cash flows and to guard at the same time the continuity of your practice. You do not want to be labelled as a “commission artist”, someone who no longer creates own, autonomous work but who only creates new work when commissioned. This shifts you from the autonomous circuit of galleries, museums and exhibition spaces to the applied- and commissioned circuit. Many artists (but also other agents in the artworld), have a complex relation with the market. Being too successful commercially is regarded with suspicion and is believed to be the result of making concessions as an artist. This means that, just like the “commission artist”, you are no longer autonomous. At the same time many artists in Flanders are dependent on the market because the governmental investments in the art sector are limited. Finding the right balance between autonomous work, commissions, and market-oriented thinking can at least be deemed complex.

In Exhaustion and Exuberance, Jan Verwoert writes that in this post-Fordist era we no longer just work, but perform (2008, p. 90). This “we” is an increasingly growing group of creative people who always have to be at the ready to perform, who cannot say no and are lived by the “just-in-time” production of post-Fordism (p. 98). Always tired, always prepared to do more, always ready to say yes. The decadent side of the art sector about which Anna Tilroe worries when she, for instance, looks at the gossip columns in Artforum’s Scene & Herd is most certainly not a matter of course (2010, p. 23). The largest group of artists in Flanders does not live a life framed by money and champagne. In the highest ranks, among a number of art popes, the living is no doubt good, but the reality for the largest group of artists is hard work, never earning enough money and a lack of respect for their unacknowledged labour. Working collectively can be a way to always be ready, to be able to always say “yes” and to share and divide the exhaustion.

Contemporary forms of organisation

A growing number of artists, curators, critics work in a collective form, for all or a part of their activities, on a project base, temporary or structurally. The reasons for this are varied, both practically and content wise. Working together can, for instance, facilitate negotiations with the market (commissions, galleries, collectors, museums who want to purchase), enable artists to hire people or to apply for certain grants or to undertake projects as an institution, a space or a PR employee can be jointly hired. Some artists relieve the pressure of work and the juggling with all these balls by working with assistants for commercial, production, administrative or promotional work or they become themselves the managers of their one-man-business. These artists succeed at dividing their time exceptionally well between research and creation, taking on commissions and following them, sometimes teaching a little, following up on their exhibitions and catalogs, keeping their accounts, etcetera. Attracting means from the market or via grants also requires a very specific set of skills and a large dose of entrepreneurship. This is yet another role artists have to play and for which the academies insufficiently prepare them.
Of course, galleries and assistants can take over several of these tasks, but this is only reality for a small number of artists. Several artists also experiment with employing a management bureau that follows up on a number of tasks for the artist. Others establish their own production bureau, which takes on the management tasks.

The vilely complex field in which artists anno 2011 have to operate has led to hybrid forms of organisation: artists who found a collective production bureau and who work with a gallery and who hire assistants for certain productions. This complicates matters further. All the more because as an artist you not only have to look after the management of all these projects, but you also have to wonder consistently which commission or which work will fetch how much money (what remains after production, paying the assistants and detracting the overhead costs?) and how the work fits within your practice or oeuvre.

New media make communication easy and cheap, and thanks to this working together in temporary or more structural partnerships, even when these are geographically spread, has become easier. Furthermore, we travel more than ever before and meet people with whom later on we sometimes develop projects or want to work together. Thus we are at the same time more fragmented than ever (geographically but also in the way in which we divide our attention and work on things) yet also strongly connected.

Moreover, working collectively is a proper consequence of the post-material condition. Work that is inherently material, from a purist point of view, has to be made by the same hands. For the brush stroke of the master is recognisable, unique, inimitable. Van Tilburg states that “the ideal ‘studio artwork’ is the product of unshared labour” (p. 21). Concept-driven work can, in principle, be executed by anyone, as long as the concept is clearly defined, the labour can be shared. In do it, published in 1997 by the collective Independent Curators Incorporated (the name itself an excellent example of institutionalisation), a list of artworks is summed up that can all be “done” by anyone. Famous is Felix Gonzales-Torres’s mountain of candies, which was recently carried out at Wiels in Brussels. Everybody can execute the work, you only need a specific amount of locally produced and wrapped candy.

Conclusion

It is a particularly interesting time to study the artist’s practice. The relational aesthetics, the social and political commitment, the project- and process-based works that dominated the 1990s, have to make room for the renewed interest in autonomy, inherently material work and a “return” to the studio without renouncing commitment. This shift takes place in the context of a changing societal and social position of artists, a new political climate and the re-arrangement of the balance between government and market.

But interesting is a dangerous qualification, of course. We have to stay on guard for the unbelievably complex position of artists: navigating between museums, galleries, companies, educational institutions, residencies, government and market they have to juggle a lot of balls. Artists have to be always at the ready, always be able to say “yes”, following up on projects, handing in applications, managing budgets, making sure they do not fall prostrate for commerce or the circuit of commissions and, let’s not forget, legitimise themselves again and again for their unacknowledged labour.

The platform for art and culture is crumbling in a Europe that shifts to the right and in several member states artists and art institutions are increasingly pushed into the defensive corner. The pressure to explain, to be useful, to legitimise in economic terms, to contribute to a post-Fordist economy are felt everywhere. Policy (of governments, supporting and producing institutions) should be directed towards guarding the instrumentalisation of art and artists, people should be open for and acknowledge that there is an incredible diversity in artist’s practices, support those practices and contribute actively to the societal and social status of artists. The danger exists that artists are swallowed by other fields and therefore lose their autonomous status, and that art completely disappears.

Problematising the pressure for usefulness does not mean that art has nothing to contribute. Even from a radically autonomous position it is possible to contribute, even when art is not instrumentalised. On this subject Boomgaard writes that “the autonomous action of an artist draws the world as we do not yet know her” (p. 6 of the online edition). Art tilts our view, shows new perspectives, opens debates, asks new and relevant questions and contributes in this way fundamentally to how we develop ourselves as a civilization. Anna Tilroe states that precisely because of these intrinsic qualities of art, it is of capital importance to make sure that the “serious questions posed by art can also, and especially, be found on editorial pages and public forums” and not just in art journals (2010, p. 27). Autonomy without isolation, societal, political and economic commitment without instrumentalisation, courage without incorporation. Another very complex task for art and artists. A task to which a good policy that takes the complex reality in which artists work into account en which does not force them (and the institutions they work with) to justify themselves according to the neo-liberal logic of economic profit, touristic attractions and increasingly growing visitor numbers, can contribute.

Bibliography

– Jeroen Boomgaard, Radicale autonomie. Kunst ten tijde van procesmanagement, Open, 2006.
– Daniel Buren, The Function of the Studio, October, 1971.
– Wouter Davidts & Kim Paice (eds.), The Fall of the Studio – Artists at Work, Valiz 2009.
– Bavo, Too Active To Act, Valiz, Amsterdam, 2010.
– Brian O’Doherty, Studio and Cube: On The Relationship Between Where Art is Made and Where Art is Displayed, Princeton Architectural Press, 2008.
– Pascal Gielen, The Murmuring of the Artistic Multitude, Valiz, 2009.
– Pascal Gielen en Paul de Bruynem, Being an Artist in Post-Fordist Time, NAi Publisher, 2009.
– Independent Curators Incorporated, do it, 1997.
– Joris Janssens, Mobility Matters research report, 2008. Online: http://www.mobility-matters.eu/web/files/37/en/Belgium.pdf
– David Joselit, Painting Beside Itself, October Magazine, 2009.
– Rosalind Krauss, A Voyage on the North Sea. Art in the Age of the Post-Medium Condition, London: Thames Hudson, 1999.
– NICC, Onderzoeksrapport naar de rechtstreekse subsidiëring, werkomstandigheden van professionele beeldende kunstenaars, 2008. Online: http://nicc.be/File/Onderzoeksrapport.pdf
– NICC, 8 voorstellen voor betere werkomstandigheden en een autonome kunstenaarspraktijk, 2009. Online: http://nicc.be/41/Downloads
– Anna Tilroe, Wie trekt er aan de bel, Metropolis M, 2010.
– Richard Polacek, Artists Moving & Learning research report, 2010. Online: http://www.encatc.org/moving-and-learning/files/Belgium%20National%20Report.pdf
– Irit Rogoff, Turning, e-flux journal, 2008.
– Merel Van Tilburg, De doorstart van het atelier, De Witte Raaf, 2010.
– Jan Verwoert, Why Are Conceptual Artists Painting Again? Because They Think It’s a Good Idea, Afterall, 2005.
– Jan Verwoert, Exhaustion and Exuberance. Ways to Defy the Pressure to Perform, Art Sheffield Catalogue, 2008.
– Camiel van Winkel en Pascal Gielen, The Hybridization of Artistic Practice, unpublished research proposal, 2010.

The essay “Changing artist’s practices” was commissioned by BAM, the Flemish institute for professional contemporary visual, audio-visual and media art, and was published in the BAM cahier Frisse lucht, lange adem (http://www.bamart.be/pages/detail/nl/6036). With thanks to Dirk De Wit.

Translation by Jacoba Bruneel

  1. NICC is the autonomous association by and for professional visual artists in Belgium that defines and defends the role of the artist through the initiation, the support and the opening up of the art practice. 
  2. The European Commisions held a number of comparing studies in various European countries of the mobility in the cultural sector. For the Belgian sections of the reports, see the Mobility Matters report by Joris Janssens from 2008 and Artists Moving & Learning by Richard Polacek from 2010. Those reports mostly enumerate the situation (how many residencies, how much money) but do not draw any notable conclusions about the way in which artists work, the effects thereof on their life and practice, or the connection of the increasing mobility to phenomena such as globalisation and internationalisation in the art world.