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Partisans of the real (PhD)

Els Dietvorst is a professional artist, co-participant and facilitator in multiple collective art projects. Partisans of the real questions the working methods and processes used in a body of work evolving from individual into collective creation. It questions the role of the artist as an active member in society. Inspired by the ‘Social sculpture’ of Beuys, Els Dietvorst sees an urgent need to (re)create collective-based, artistic models.

She will analyze this process by retrospectively deconstructing three of her/their art projects: a multimedia project with migrant/refugees communities (Brussels-The Return of the Swallows, 1999-2004); a walking project with four artists (Brussels-N6, The Stone Road, 2007-2009); and a live ‘arthappening’ with artists/non-artists (Moscow Biennale, 2015).

She will ‘decompose’ thinking, tools and methods in these projects and research how to make these experimental processes usable as tools; how other artists can use them to set up projects like this or as a framework for their own artistic practice. That way artists can become ‘partisans of the real’ — active agents for change, who, through the collective, reflexively and critically disrupt individualism in all its facets, from auteurism to neoliberalism to marketdriven globalization.