Training as an artist: the big bubble


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Still end of the 19. In the 19th century artists had a very clear job. They worked under a patron or painted for the church, the nobility, or the bourgeoisie. Today the artists are thrown unprepared to the free market without any security.

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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.

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Artist as service provider

Peter von Cornelius, the Nazarene who took office in Düsseldorf as rector of the newly founded Royal Prussian Art Academy, wrote 1819 in a letter to the Catholic publicist Joseph Gorres: “But now I finally come to what I believe to be the strongest, and I would say infallible means, to give German art a foundation for a new direction that is appropriate to the great age and the spirit of the nation: this would be nothing other than the reintroduction of fresco painting as it was in Italy at the time of the great Giotto except for the divine Raphael ”.

At that time: syllabus oriented on the labor market

The Prussian empire, which sought to promote culture and science, and to show its political power through the monumental art, also took the place of the church. Particularly in the Kunstakademie under Eduard Julius Friedrich Bendemann (1859-1867) was developed in favor of this painting.

The director of the National Gallery Rudolf Jordan, as well as the Speaker for Art Affairs at the Ministry of Culture Richard Schöne, helped to revive the monumental painting. This meant that for the artists at the Düsseldorf Academy, this form of painting was mainly on the curriculum.

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Today: diversity in teaching in the big bubble

Today, the students have access to the artistic-technical facilities in which they can practice, for example, in plaster molding, painting, modeling, photography, video and film. But you can ignore these facilities completely. The question arises whether the mere offer is sufficient, or whether craft-related mandatory events would make sense.

It seems almost unthinkable that an artist does not want to learn his craft. On the other hand, the students are held in a big bubble: They have not only no idea of ​​the previously mentioned pages of professional artists' persistence but also of the complex art market of the 21. Century. Frequently, this circumstance promotes a self-produced, one-dimensional and ergo rather disabling genius.

Not introduced into the playing rules of the art market

However, when artists leave the academy today, they have no real patron or patron. They are also not permanently employed as artists, and they have not been introduced to the rules of the art market. They lose their student status and have to deal with a series of questions:

  • Where can I find a suitable studio?
  • How does this work with the artist's social insurance fund and health insurance?
  • How do I find a gallery, how do I market myself, how do I build a network?
  • How much will my work cost and how much will I get from the selling price?
  • How are my work insured?
  • Should I accept commissioned work?
  • How do I write an invoice and how do I calculate VAT?
  • How do auctions work and what is this resale right?

Does freedom have to be absolute?

A graduate of the Kunstakademie judges as follows: “You are not prepared for life as a freelance artist, on the contrary, you are raised in a crystal ball and have to jump into the cold water later on and often it is too late for a new career for many who have imagined it differently to start. I wouldn't send my child to the academy. ” Does freedom have to be absolute during the art studies? Would the knowledge of what happens after graduation motivate students to become artisanal trained so that they can master techniques for an emergency to earn money?

More preparation for the labor market does not hurt

Basically, I believe that craftsmanship as well as a few art historical knowledge belong to the basic education of an artist. In addition, a few seminars to prepare for the art market could not hurt. Well-to-be: both distributed in moderation and over the years, in order to ensure artistic freedom. For this freedom is indispensable to our society.

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What does the new Rector McBride say to all this? What are their convictions and how does they plan to implement them? With whom will she occupy the soon vacant professorship of Lucie McKenzie? Unfortunately, these questions remain in the room, because McBride is currently not ready for any interview.


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