In the following interviews, young artists give an insight into various critical positions they take in their work. What connects these artists, apart from their status as so called millennials living across Western Europe, is the fact that their work shows an ambivalent position regarding their political engagement: a clear involvement with what is going on in current society, is at the same time accompanied by a strong commitment to self-contained form.

In a wandering Q&A, many aspects related to the tension between
artistic and political practice are discussed: How do these artists experience their role in society and how does this influence their works? Is there an unnecessary taboo regarding political convictions in art nowadays? How easily can concrete or unambiguous statements be translated into form through an artistic process? And how do these millennials, growing up and becoming artists in a global economy, relate to conflict, suppression and freedom in the seemingly safezones of Western Europe?

The examples these artist offer through their own practice sketch a picture of how they operate, equipped with materials and media on the one hand and their involvement with the world on the other. Provocative, humorous, spontaneous or finely honed; forms are given to critical strategies, positions are taken, while others are simultaneously given up.

 

Beatrijs Dikker

                     Lorelinde Verhees, Untitled, object, photograph (NASA), beeswax, 2016

 

Practice vs Politics

artists perspectives on political engagement


Anika Schwarzlose, from the series: Artefacts, 2015, wax print on tyvek

Anika Schwarzlose

1982, DE

The technical processes behind the production of images is a central element in the oeuvre of Anika Schwarzlose. Her work touches on the many aspects relating to the powerful role that images play in the construction of historical narratives, ideologies and identity. Schwarzlose shows how perception and imaging can be manipulated both within the art world, as well as in other disciplines, such as the military.
In 2015 Schwarzlose did an extensive collaboration project with the department of the German military which develops camouflage techniques. This resulted in a publication and a solo exhibition at FOAM (Photography Museum Amsterdam), where artistic and military images where shown simultaneously and the relation between aesthetics and ideology was explored. In other projects Schwarzlose also addresses the manipulative potentials of digital media.
 

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Robbert & Frank, TO BREAK – The Window of Opportunity, 2015, photo: Tom Callemin 

 

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