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Training to the artist - 2 / 3: Art teach?

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In order to understand the artists' situation on the art and thus the labor market, one has to recognize how the training takes place at art academies - for example at the Düsseldorf Art Academy.


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anke-ernst_index-magazin_dusseldorfAnke Ernst is the editor-in-chief of the art magazine INDEX in Düsseldorf and a freelance journalist for travel, art and culture.


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Training in theory

How is education at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf today? 50 paragraph 6 is anchored in the X-ray XnUMX paragraph XNUMX: "The Kunsthochschule advises its students as well as those interested in their studies, study applicants on all aspects of their studies and works towards a suitable individual study planning; this is especially the task of the professors. "

In the end, the education of a student of art, with his professor - a system for which the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf is internationally known. This is not taught by anyone but by internationally renowned artists, each of whom represents a different teaching concept.

Big names - good teaching?

The academy is proud to present itself with great names, including the new additions to the 2010 by Tony Cragg, Andreas Gursky, Katharina Fritsch, Katharina Grosse, Tomma Abts, Marcel Odenbach, Johannes Schütz and Eberhard Havekost. Since its founding in 1773, it has looked back on a long series of directors. Each of them, from Wilhelm Lambert Krahe (1773-1789) to Tony Cragg (2009-2013), shaped them in his own way.

From the beginning, the latter wanted to hold the post only for one term, other applicants did not exist, and therefore, since the 1. August the US-American sculptor and installation artist Rita McBride with the honorary "Magnificence" adorn - so determines the basic order of the academy.

What do students learn?

The question is only - does a big name automatically stand for a good education? The professors of the academy are professors who advocate for their students and give them an independent artistic career. The students appreciate this and express themselves positively: "My professors have found that they have given me the opportunity to develop artistically freely and to make my art without having to set any standards without standards."

They also learn "how to show position and how to properly represent it". However, the mechanisms of the art market are anything but fair, so artistic success often is not necessarily synonymous with quality. And a great artist does not necessarily have to be a great teacher. In case of doubt, he is not even physically present.

Professors who are never there

The fact that students have to build up their dissertation a second time months later so that their professor can examine them is not a rarity. And what influence does a teacher, who is paid by the state, have, if he is not there? Probably no one, because you have to look at the art on site.

When Joseph Beuys 1972 was dismissed by the then Minister of Science, Johannes Rau, from his position as professor of the Kunstakademie, this was the culmination of a long series of fundamental discussions on this artistically and politically relevant topic. Convinced of the fact that every human being is an artist, for everyone is capable of spirituality, openness, creativity and imagination, Beuys developed his "extended concept of art", according to which the work of art as "social sculpture" is concerned with all spheres of life. The concept of art must therefore be made as large as possible "that it can embrace every human activity," as long as man assumes responsibility for it.

Can people be taught art?

This novel view led to Beuys taking students from the academy into his class - which then included up to 400 students. Beuys's dismissal was not long in coming. The rector of the Kunstakademie Eduard Trier (1965-1972), who was then appointed for life, took over, took over Norbert Kricke (1972-1981) and became Beuys' opponent as someone who put emphasis on the artistic suitability and a corresponding training of the students.

Markus Lüpertz, Director at the academy from 1988 to 2009, certainly sees this quite differently. He argues that only a microcosm has to be created at the university, which gives the space for art to thrive. He answers the question of whether art can be taught to man, by no. Art can not be taught, but it can bring the atmosphere and aesthetics that surrounds it closer. Later he adds, "I am the master and art knows no democracy!"

Teaching the craft

So much for the subject of subjectivity with regard to the definition of art. Hans Schippert, rector at the academy from 1959 to 1965, also felt that art can not be taught. Tony Cragg emphasizes the advantages of this system in the catalog of the K20 sculptor exhibition: "The almost self-evident concept of artistic freedom, which is held up in Düsseldorf, has led to a major content and formal diversity instead of an academy of art."

But what can undoubtedly be taught is the craft. A musician can not simply improvise or deliberately break the musical rules without knowing them. Paragraph 1 of §50 of the Kunsthochschulgesetz (Higher Education Law) therefore requires, amongst other things, the university to ensure the student "the preparation for artistic and artistic pedagogical professions". In this context, however, "guarantee" is formulated very vaguely.

Was everything better before?

The offer is undoubtedly at the Düsseldorf Academy, but it is not, in contrast to its past, a duty. When Wilhelm von Schadow 1826 from Berlin was appointed Rector to the Academy, he had already thought about the painter's formal training: he built on methodical art didactics and introduced a three-layered system inspired by Peter von Cornelius (1819-1824).

From 1831 the students passed through these three stages, and while the influence of the teacher diminished more and more, the individuality of his pupils became more and more prominent: "The education begins with the elementary teaching, is continued in that class which the student to independent compositions , and concludes with the advice and warnings which the teacher can still forgive from his experience to those youths who have reached the point where their own free composing begins. "

The need to learn the craft was out of the question

The students first learned, for example, to copy paintings and to understand objects and people; they were also trained in "auxiliary sciences" such as anatomy, architecture and perspective. Then, in the third step, they were allowed to create their own compositions. This pioneering method ensured that the Düsseldorf painters' school and thus also the art academy gained international renown.

Well, at the time, Düsseldorf was the Lower Rhine province and belonged to the 25.000 inhabitants. In contrast to today, however, the original understanding of authenticity lay in the motif and not in the unicum. The mastery of technology was therefore extremely important, as artists also deserved to copy works of art. If the students wanted to rebel, they refused to paint sacred works; it shows, for example, Johann Peter Hasen-Clevers' studio scene of 1836. The need for training itself was out of the question.

Crosspost of Index - The Dusseldorf Art Magazine

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