Tina Gverović works with installation, drawing, painting, sound, text and video. Her work – often in the form of immersive, disorientating installations – explores the economy and history of materials. One of the key questions in her work is where lies the potential of the political vision and re-invention? She finished MA at Jan van Eyck Academy in Maastricht and holds a doctorate from Middlesex University in London. Her work was recently shown as part of the 57thVenice Biennial, WKV Stuttgart, Museum of Arts and Crafts Hamburg,Trigon – Post Environment in KünstlerhausHalle für Kunst & Medien Graz, Suzhou Documents – Biennial, Tate Modern, and Busan Biennial.
Her public art commission conceived in collaboration with Ben Cain will be installed in Reading University campus in Spring 2020. She held teaching posts at Camberwell College of Arts, Slade School of Arts, Dutch Art Institute Roaming Academy, and WHW Akademija in Zagreb.
Ben Cain lives and works in London and Zagreb. Ben completed his MA at Jan van Eyck Akademie, Maastricht in 2000, and a BA in Interactive Art in Manchester in 1997. He works across various media and disciplines. Ben’s practice deals with themes of work, labour, and artistic action. He has recurrently explored art’s ambiguous relationship to industry, commodification and immaterial labour, and is interested in how artworks might pose questions about what we think they are doing and, by implication, our role as viewers in their social and cultural production. His work has been exhibited internationally including Manifesta 9; Busan Biennale, South Korea; Croatian Pavilion at 56thVenice Biennale (with Tina Gverović), Wiels, Brussels; Supplement, New York/London; Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool; Turner Contemporary, Margate; Blue Coat Gallery, Liverpool; South London Gallery, London; The Tetley, Leeds. He is a tutor in Fine Art at Central Saint Martins, and he runs a residency programme at CASS School of Art, both in London; he also teaches regularly at ISIA Urbino in Italy, and was recently a professor at WHW Academy in Zagreb.
What can be thought of as alternative education? Perhaps one that doesn’t necessarily always follow already established models, but rather attempts to create them, and keeps on questioning their very nature; one that starts with questions about why and how we learn, and how it might be otherwise.
Major questions in our own practice, and the ones that we think are really pertinent to art schools are - How can we exchange ideas in a generous, supportive manner, and what sort of conditions do we need for this? Who holds knowledge, what sort of knowledge is it, how might it be shared, and why should it be shared?
We are interested in thinking about what sort of actions and behaviors art school spaces might allow. Our focus is on setting up spaces where things may be said, thought, sensed, experienced in ways that might be different elsewhere. We are thinking about what sort of actions and behaviors certain types of public and private spaces might allow, and we are thinking about how to connect these to the experience of the academy.
We are interested in a hands-on approach to theory and critical analysis that’s directly connected to ‘work’. Both methods being informed by questions on the artists’ social and political role, addressing history and geopolitics in a poetic and sometimes oblique manner. Talking about the effect of that work, sometimes regardless of its intention. The process of ‘talking about effect’, or ‘feedback’, has sometimes been non-verbal, sometimes body-based, and has sometimes taken the form of making things, or performing, or writing, or remaining silent.
We have concentrated concurrently on the long-term development of a ‘practice’ alongside very short-term workshops and seminars that might both destabilize and elaborate upon ideas of what might constitute one’s ‘own practice’. We have focused on restaging works in different contexts – thinking about both recognizing existing frameworks and devising new frameworks for certain objects and actions according to their location. We have focused on the circulation of histories.
We are supporting and instigating collaborative practice – not necessarily manifested as outcomes (collaborative works) but thinking about the importance of supporting participants to respond to each other’s work, to create platforms to self-evaluate and evaluate others - focusing on taking responsibility for themselves and for the group as a whole. The definition of collectivity has been constantly present. Collectivity as a desired form, as an elusive space, as inevitable, as automatic, as absolutely not automatic, and as something that demands much ethical consideration, and physical and emotional labor.
We are encouraging student-run projects (staging of work, framing/creating environments, creating self-determined contexts beyond the academy), regular presentation and display, and the development of working concepts that enable the potential impact of a historical perspective on one’s own shifting, even chameleon practice.
We are thinking about providing conditions that are conducive to risk, failure, thinking and acting in utopian ways, mishap, happy accidents, reflexivity, but also conditions that might allow absence of self-awareness (getting lost), loosing inhibition, and the creation of safe and permissive space. This is not always easy, especially when such spaces collide with spaces that are of quite a different character – but of course this is a part of what this process has been about.
Ben Cain and Tina Gverović