INTUITION IS A MUSCLE / part 3. Exercises to move to a more holistic and organic practice
research class by Els Dietvorst (and guests)
Schiller wrote his 'Letters on the Aesthetic Education of Man' in response to his deep worries about the politics of his time. His answer was that the most urgent task wasn’t to build stronger armies to defeat our enemies, but to strengthen our appreciation of art and beauty in order to learn to live together in peace. Art, according to Schiller, isn’t mere ornament to the more serious parts of life, but its highest expression. Through beauty and play we can unite spirit and matter, thought and feeling, and become more complete, and harmonious beings. In this research class we invite you to befriend the thin line between art and life where art becomes a place for communication, desire, exchange and engagement.
During the five active days of working and thinking together in the 'Lange Zaal’ of the research class, you are challenged to broaden your artistic boundaries towards a more holistic practice. Open to all disciplines, you discover how organic elements, rituals and connection to the universe can enrich your work, how processes can open up your practice, how experiments and failure can be used as a key.
A creative move, an unexplored proposition, demands resilience. Just like an ‘act de révolte’. Resilience is something that artists who stand in the world need. It takes courage. It requires elasticity. Fluidity. Working with nature, but also in nature – whether land or sea – asks for precisely this kind of flexibility. You never know what lies ahead, whether the wind will change or the clouds darken, or if the river might flood. You are never prepared enough (or else you forget to prepare at all). “You must face eternity, or the lack of it, each day.”
INTUITION-IMAGINATION-TRANSFORMATION are the guiding concepts we will use to broaden your practice. We will use organic materials to stimulate this. We will make our own ink with organic matter, use wood and foundlings in nature as a base. The ancient elements Air, Fire, Earth, Water will be used as our guide.
So which tools do we need? Where do we find connection with the universe and our roots? How can we use it as a tool to create change? What are the skills you need? How do I, as an artist connect to the cosmos and create more holistic? How can we use archaic elements to stimulate our organs of intuition? How can art bring us in relationship with the spirit in all things?
“I’d like to attain greater comprehension, so that I can express things that give access to deeper domains. It’s this expansion of language that interests me. Here logic goes further, and organs of intuition, inspiration and imagination are necessary for it, otherwise you can’t experience such things.”(Beuys)
Following Beuys we will find it in the social realm where were connect with primal social gestures and collective desires, needs and values. Following Steiner Body, mind and spirit have to be in line. We will experiment with exercises that stimulate our intuition muscle. You will learn the tools how to create freely, unattached to form, and connected to your artistic soul. By creating small rituals we come closer to express the inner nature of things.
“The credo of Els Dietvorst: art is an inseparable exchange of life. The artist endorses Robert Filliou's assertion: Art is what makes life more interesting than art. Artistic creation based on humanist values is a work in progress. Like a cairn, the additional pebble brings its stone to the building and the stack builds a fragile balance that threatens to collapse, but the artist, like Sisyphus, pursues a work that is never finished.”
The research class is open to students from all disciplines and will focus on experiment, serendipity and necessity. Participants combine ideas through rituals and the use of drawing, in situ, movement, sculpture and video.
Core tutors: Els Dietvorst and Dirk Braeckman (participating when available)
(photo: research class Els Dietvorst 2021, photo by Wannes Cré)
Els Dietvorst (b. 1964, Kapellen, lives and works in Duncormick, Ireland and Antwerp, Belgium) has been developing a singular artistic practice since the 1990s. Her work shows appreciation for what we usually consider to be different, undesirable or inferior. What we prefer to condemn or treat disrespectfully is given a voice and visibility by means of a variety of artistic media in her search for truth and depth in everyone and everything around her. For Dietvorst, creating is a way of making connections and embracing diversity. Her practice involves much more than the material or visible result. It is about the process, making together, experiencing, inspiring each other and forging bonds. She investigates the human condition, which in her oeuvre results in themes such as life and death, fear, alienation and desire.