“The students have to be a aware that a work of art is an argument, a proposition, a proposal to the world..”
This is a really interesting and even handed documentary following a graduating year of Goldsmith’s students. Amongst the often cringeworthy navel gazing, and the very telling statement by one of the student that ‘it’s all about confidence’, there is also the genuine desire to investigate, uncover, challenge and provoke.
This is basically the same course that I did (but in Glasgow) and the documentary perfectly illustrates all the reasons I have such a love/hate relationship with conceptual art and the sometimes surprising narrowness that infinite possibility can bring. I find it fascinating how an area of the art world that professes to be boundary-less still manages to corral it’s artists into such similar visual patterns.
It’s impossible for me to dismiss the purity of art for arts sake and the thought process involved in conceptual art but the sheer lack of interest in the visual component of this branch of ‘visual art’ often leaves me cold.
The most difficult parts for me though were watching the group crits - a process I always found excruciating both as artist and critic. The struggle on both sides to say something profound and the futile emphasis on being able to talk the talk. As much as I would love the opportunity to engage with art again more fully as an adult I don’t envy the less articulate students making their way through that particular process. A process which, as one tutor admits, the success of often ultimately hinges on the social skills of the artist rather than the work itself.