19 OCT / Session IV
New orientations in Visual Arts and Cultural Studies
Nouvelles orientations des arts visuels et de leurs formations
Round Table 1
The Role of the Critic in Artists’ Training

- Virginia MacKenny, South Africa : Inside Out : Inner Needs and Exterior Demands in the Training of Artists in a Young South Africa Democracy
- Joanna Winnicka-Gburek, Pologne : The Art Critic as Intellectual ? As Teacher ? As Artist ?
- Pavel Sedlak, Czech Republic : Curating, Criticism, and Education from the Perspective of Technological Art
- Mike Omoighe, Nigeria : Art Criticism, Cultural context, Transmission of Aesthetic Values in Africa

Victor MacKenny examines some of the conflicting demands of critical discourse affecting artists’ training in a contemporary South Africa. Twelve years have already passed since the revolution in South Africa and a secure democracy is not in practice as of yet. The problem of artistic training is it encourages students to think how to produce artworks related to social and identity issues, which directly conflict with their pressing interest of survival. Mike Omoighe reports problematic art education and critics in the southern part of Sahara in Africa. Making art school curriculum accessible only through European imports in the 30’s created an atmosphere where lack of essential equipment and ignorance of African cultural value took precedence over quality education. This situation created the gap between African art and other continents, not only in terms of technique but also in creativity. New criticism and new discussion on African art are required.

The role of art critics is not limited only as a writer. Many of them are school teachers, practicing artists, and practicing curators. Joanna Winnicka-Gburek’s paper analyzes these different personalities in art critics and seeks to define the role of art critic in the contemporary art world. With the question of "should the critic be an intellectual ?" there are two styles to consider : the optimist and the pessimist. Each critic needs to negotiate these two perspectives, as they are also people participating in artistic action. The artist makes the first action through the creation of art. The critic then creates action through choice, either accepting or rejecting. Art criticism is performance platform for a creative act.

Pavel Sedlak introduced new features that became important for evaluation of the critical and curatorial practices in contemporary visual culture. Technological art is not well tuned in contemporary art because new media art and traditional art are still viewed as separate entities. New media, progressive without exhibiting historical parallels, operates with scientific technology and inventions. This crisis in new media education is persisting. Distribution of network creativity is becoming the basis of the future creativity. The curator becomes a creator of social and political reform through this situation and scientific issues get transformed. New media art and critics are post-theorists of the present.

Julija Cistiakova
Haeju Kim


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