Artist: employee of the year

With the crisis expanding to more European countries, even to the most “stable” ones, the issue of the status of artists and the positioning of their practice in society is coming up over and over, drawing several lines of thinking. Words like visionary or technocrat, as opposites, are heard about the politicians who may (not) find a solution to our problems, but for the arts the main worry is the cut of state subsidies or the ways for marketing art products. It is true that artists are forced to live in poverty either by being accepted solely as craftsmen either by being confused about what they are “allowed” to do for earning money. The confusion is mainly based on excluding any other activity except of the practicing itself on the pretext of professionalism. In that way, the artists become employees of the same political status that threw education to the gutter of professional training, declared humanities studies as irrelevant to our era’s demands and exclaimed profit as only measure of success. Not to think in this frame is nowadays called utopian leftism; accompanied by a little grin. As I see it, the only utopia remains the call of other more revolutionary times for being realists. Maybe the biggest challenge for the artists at this moment is to break the tag (with definition and instructions) that any authority has put on them and redefine their position. Otherwise, those who once carried the light will soon be applying for employee of the year.

Detail from the work in progress "Arcadia letters", embroidery on felt
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