Mastering the Art of Contemporary Art
Participatory project in collaboration with Sean Naftel
Mastering the Art of Contemporary Art (MACA) brings together the universe of cooking and visual art in a shared metaphor that investigates the artistic process of creation - from the idea to its materialization and its public exhibition. Programs like The French Chef and Jamie at Home have often transformed our relationship with food thru their direct didactic function but also thru their informal invitation for personal experimentation. Within a TV-kitchen setting, an instructional website and an art salon, the exhibition challenges collective productions and situations. MACA invites the audience into a similar mental and physical journey thru the artistic creation process aiming at demystifying the act of creation, unleashing personal creativity and opening a wider conversation on empowerment, authorship and ownership. The project consists of three open-spaces: a culinary TV set, an tutorials website and a dining room. When broken down, each of the spaces has a very basic goal: learn, create and reflect.
STEP 1: LEARN.
During the exhibition, one part of the space is transformed into a smaller version of a commercial cooking television program with a TV-set where twice a week, a new artist comes to share visitors the “How-to” to recreate one of his/ her existing artworks, inviting everyone and anyone to reappropriate the artwork and make it their own at home.
STEP 2: MAKE.
The “art-recipes” performances are livestream on M-A-C-A.tv and a final edited video is made available online.The goal of each video is to give the audience and any person that visits the website all the information they need to follow the recipe at home; learn, create, reflect, redistribute, re-consume, remix or deconstruct some or all components of the artworks and ideas presented in the videos; generate new meanings and continue a global conversation. MACA gives the audience the means to breakdown both the conceptual intent and the materiality of the artist’s process and empowering viewers to become the architects of their own creative pursuits, regardless of age, race, or ethnicity.
STEP 3: REFLECT.
Each and everyone is invited to continue the conversation thru their own creative experiments and then bring the new artwork they created back to the exhibition space to be displayed in the second part of the space along with the artworks presented by the invited artist. Inspired by Gertrude Stein’s art salons, this second space will be a conversational gathering where people of all horizons will share their personal views on the art on view. Starting empty, it will progressively fill throughout the weeks as new pieces are produced by visitors that came to contribute to the creative conversation.
MACA is built upon a network of meaningful collaborations: from the project curator that will invite artists to present one of their works in the culinary show to the artists themselves that will work with EK+SN to formalize their “art-recipes”. This also includes the participating visitors to the project that will learn, experiment and share their projects with each other and the institution as a whole. All parties will be engaged in a critical conversation based on our notions of ownership and authorship.
The project itself is the fruit of a collaboration between Esmeralda Kosmatopoulos (EK) and Sean Naftel (SN) that have a shared interest in the way we self identify as cultural participants - author, viewer, and owner of art. At a time where our understanding of authorship and ownership is blurred by the amplified dissemination of information, EK+SN bring their personal artistic sensibilities and cultural background into this conversation on the process of creation: EK, coming from the European model that is deeply entrenched with a focus on philosophical understanding of culture and history; SN approaching it from a US educational model, a system not too unlike a How-To guide.
MACA fuses these two ways of learning together, by giving the audience the means to breakdown both the conceptual intent and the materiality of the artist’s process and empowering viewers to become the architects of their own creative pursuits. MACA is an open invitation for everyone to learn, create, reflect, redistribute, re-consume existing artworks and ideas, generate new meanings and continue a global conversation. The project itself is a never-ending work in progress, an open book with no last page.
2016 MASTERING THE ART OF CONTEMPORARY ART IN COLLABORATION WITH SEAN NAFTEL | KUNSTHAL AARHUS | AARHUS, DENMARK
2016 “Mastering the Art of Contemporary Art”, Participatory exhibition in collaboration with Sean Naftel, Kunsthal Aarhus, Aarhus, Denmark