Training as an artist: teaching art?

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

Training as an artist: teaching art? art

Here writes for you:

Anke Ernst 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.


Training in theory

How is the education at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf today? How it should look in principle, is anchored in the Art University Act § 50 paragraph 6: "The Academy of Fine Arts advises its students and prospective students, applicants for study in all matters of study and works towards a suitable individual study planning; this is in particular the task of Professorinside and Professors. "

Ultimately, the education of an art student stands and falls with his Professor - a system for which the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf is internationally known. And no one teaches here, but teach internationally recognized artists, each of which represents a different teaching concept.

Big names - good teaching?

The Academy may be adorned with big names, including newcomers Andreas Gursky, Katharina Fritsch, Katharina Grosse, Tomma Abts, Marcel Odenbach, Johannes Schütz and Eberhard Havekost, who have been appointed by Tony Cragg's 2010. She has looked back on a long line of directors since her founding in 1773. Each of them, from Wilhelm Lambert Krahe (1773 - 1789) to Tony Cragg (2009 - 2013), has shaped them in his own way.

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From the beginning, the latter wanted to hold the post only for a term, other applicants did not exist and therefore may since the 1. August, the American sculptor and installation artist Rita McBride decorate with the honorable address "Magnificence" - that's what determines the basic order of the Academy.

What do students learn?

The only question is - does a big name automatically stand for a good education? Indisputable teach at the academy Professoren who work for their students and help them to develop their own artistic career. The students appreciate this and express themselves accordingly positively: "To mine ProfessorI found it good that they gave me the opportunity to freely develop artistically and to do my art, without any precepts, without setting standards. "

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

Professorwho are never there

That students have to build their theses a second time months later, so that you Professor it is not uncommon to examine them. And what influence does a teacher paid by the state, incidentally, pay if he is not there? Probably not, because you have to look at fine art, as you know.

As Joseph Beuys 1972 by the then Minister of Science Johannes Rau from his position as Professor The Art Academy was the culmination of a long series of fundamental discussions on this artistically and politically relevant topic. Convinced that every human being is an artist, because 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" concerns all areas of life. The concept of art must therefore be made as large as possible "so that it can embrace every human activity," as long as man takes responsibility for it.

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Can people be taught art?

This novel perspective led to Beuys taking students who had been rejected by the academy into his class - which eventually included up to 400 students. Beuys' release was not long in coming. Rector of the Academy of Fine Arts Eduard Trier (1965 - 1972), who had been appointed for life, announced that Norbert Kricke (1972 - 1981) took over and became Beuys' antagonist as someone who valued the artistic aptitude and training of the students.

Markus Lüpertz, Director at the Academy from 1988 to 2009, certainly sees it very differently. He argues that there is only a microcosm to be created at the university that gives art space to thrive. He answers the question of whether one could teach art to man, with no. One can not teach art, 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 subjectivity in relation to the definition of art. Even Hans Schippert, Rector of the Academy from 1959 to 1965, was of the opinion that art could not be taught. Tony Cragg emphasizes the advantages of this system in the K20 Sculptor Exhibition Catalog: "The now almost self-evident notion of artistic freedom held high in Düsseldorf has led to a greater contentual and formal diversity, rather than an academization of art."

But what can undeniably be taught is the craft. A musician can not just improvise or deliberately break the musical rules without knowing them. Paragraph 1 of §50 of the Kunsthochschulgesetz therefore requires, among other things, the university to guarantee the student "preparation for artistic and art education professions". However, "ensuring" is very vague in this context.

Was everything better before?

The offer is undoubtedly at the Dusseldorf Academy, only it is, unlike in their past, no obligation. When Wilhelm von Schadow 1826 from Berlin was called to the academy as rector, he had already thought about the painter's consistent training: he built on methodical art didactics and introduced a three-class system inspired by Peter von Cornelius (1819 - 1824).

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Beginning with 1831, the students went through these three stages, and as the teacher's influence waned, the individuality of his students continued to come to the fore: "Education begins with elementary education, continuing in the classroom that turns the student into independent compositions prepared, and concludes with the advice and warnings that the teacher from his experience can still forgive those youths who have come to the point where their own free composition begins. "

The need to learn the craft was out of the question

For example, the students first learned to copy paintings and to understand and represent objects and people; In addition, they were trained in "help science" such as anatomy, architecture and perspective. Only then, in the third step, were they allowed to create their own compositions. This pioneering method ensured that the Düsseldorf School of Painting and thus also the Academy of Arts 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.

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