Thinking and teaching art: between practice and theoretical speculation

Over the last decade, use of the concept of "artistic research" has gained cohesion for referring not only to the nature of the artistic process but also to a new discipline between artistic practice and theoretical speculation. In the concept of "artistic research" is perceived, on one hand, the desire to associate the value of art with that of knowledge, which in the end is one of the primary currencies of our economic system. On the other hand, artistic research obeys the need to adapt artistic education to more and more homogeneous structures, also on the global level of the system of higher education, where scientific research reigns as an uncontested model. Thirdly, the idea of artistic practice as research is intimately tied to the evolution of contemporary art itself towards dematerialisation, which brings the artists work closer to theoretical speculation.

But what kind of research are we referring to when we speak of "artistic research"? What does it consist of? What is its method, and where does it take its models from? What faculties does it mobilise? In the face of those who defend the validity of artistic research that is subject to set guidelines, capable of being taught, others precisely celebrate art's ability to confuse and defy established truths. This seminar aims to generate a productive dialogue in connection with these issues, with the objective of determining the validity of the concept of artistic research and also to explore new ways of speaking – and thinking, of course – about the complexity of artistic work.

Participants: Tony Brown, Guadalupe Echevarría, Dora García, Dieter Lesage, Natascha Sadr and Jan Verwoert

On Artistic Research


Friday April 8, from 5 to 9 pm; Saturday April 10, from 10 am to 2 pm

Friday 9 April, 5 to 9 pm
Guadalupe Echevarría, Jan Verwoert and Natascha Sadr

Saturday 10 April, 10 am to 2 pm
Dora García, Tony Brown and Dieter Lesage


Tony Brown
Artist, director of the research program La Seine at ENSBA, Paris; Academic director of Parson Paris School of Art and Design; Academic advisor for the Central Academy of Fine Art Beijing
As an artist, Tony Brown has developed projects based on technological resources (optics, electronics, computers and robotics) to build complex mechanisms that include visual, sound, volumetric and spatial elements in relation to architectural spaces. He has exhibited in France and abroad, with work in public collections in France and Canada. Since 1992, he has been director of the research program at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-arts (ENSBA) in Paris.

Guadalupe Echevarría
Director of ENSBA, Bordeaux, and curator
Guadalupe Echevarría has worked as a curator at the MNCARS, Madrid, and the ICA, Boston. She has curated many exhibitions and written numerous articles and catalogue essays. In 1982 she created the Festival de Vídeo (1982–84) within the San Sebastian International Film Festival, where she showed works by pioneer audiovisual creators, including video clips. In 1983 she created the Festival de Vídeo Musical, Vitoria. At present she is director of the École Nationale des Beaux-arts, Bordeaux.

Dora García
Dora García’s work revolves round the idea of audience participation. Viewers are urged to take sides on controversial ethical questions, analyse these questions closely and reflect on the institutional nature of the surroundings where they come into contact with works of art. García’s work was included in Münster Sculpture Projects 2007, the Spanish Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale , 2011, and at documenta 13, Kassel 2012.
Dieter Lesage
Philosopher and critic
Dieter Lesage studied philosophy at the Université Catholique de Louvain and at the EHESS, Paris. He is Research Coordinator at the Department of Audiovisual and Performing Arts of the RITS Erasmushogeschool, Brussels. He is a member of the editorial board of the magazines Afterall (London-Seville-Antwerp) and Art & Research (Glasgow), and a founder member of the Society of Artistic Research (Bern). Together with Kathrin Busch, he has edited the book A Portrait of the Artist as a Researcher. The Academy and the Bologna Process (MuHKA, Antwerp, 2007), and he is co-author with Ina Wudtke of Black Sound White Cube (Vienna, 2010, in print). He lives in Berlin.

Natascha Sadr Haghighian
Natascha Sadr Haghighian worked with different formats such as video, performance, computer art and sound, both in her solo works and group projects, always based around sociopolitical concerns. She lives in Berlin. Rather than providing more biographical information, the artist prefers to direct people to, an online platform that she has created, in which artists and cultural administrators can lend and swap elements from their curricula.

Jan Verwoert
Critic and art historian
Jan Verwoert lectures at the Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam, and at the Royal College of Art, London. He is a contributing editor of frieze, and he also writes for other magazines such as Afterall and Metropolis M. In 2006, he published the book Bas Jan Ader – In Search of the Miraculous (Afterall Books/MIT Press). He lives in Berlin.

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Beyond knowledge production: Tapping into the zone of sentience
Undoing the researched
Más mística que racionalista, alcanza verdades que la lógica no puede alcanzar
El pozo sin fondo
"Portfolio + Supplement. Artistic Research and the Doctorate in the Arts", read by Marta García
Inferior form of knowledge
"Portfolio + Supplement. Artistic Research and the Doctorate in the Arts", read by Marta García
Inferior form of knowledge
Undoing the researched
Beyond knowledge production: Tapping into the zone of sentience
El pozo sin fondo
Inferior form of knowledge
"Portfolio + Supplement. Artistic Research and the Doctorate in the Arts", read by Marta García
Son[i]a #103. Natascha Sadr Haghighian