ABOUT WEBSITE: The Green Lights is an annual exhibition hosted by the graduating fine art students of Minerva Art Academy. It serves not only as an assessment during which the students aim to get their ‘green light’ to graduate, but as an opportunity to independently create a public exhibition. Faced with the challenge of bringing together 55 unique practices, we’ve based this year’s Green Lights around the Art Spectrum, a compass navigating different positions, approaches and cultures within the fine arts. Where do we stand? What does it stand for? These are the questions we raise rather than answer as we try to materialise the complex and diverse ecosystem of the art culture.
ABOUT THE ART COMPASS: The Art Compass is based on the well know political compass, as it provides four extreme artistic positions as the boarders of the fluid space in between. On the horizontal axis the attitude of the artist toward their practice is defined as between craft and concept. These two well known and often scrutinised labels have in this case a more suggestive nature, indicating whether the concept, idea, message is prioritised over the technique, medium, skill or vice versa. The vertical axis defines the position of the artist towards the art world. From the white cube, gallery culture and the art market making up the inside, to alternative non-art spaces and practices challenging the boarders of art from the outside, the artists occupy positions based on how much they conform to or rebel towards the established art institution.
The interaction of the axis creates four areas - inside concept, outside concept, outside craft and inside craft - each representing an artistic subculture in which specific values, opinions, movements and artworks exist.
Although seemingly opposite, the two directions of each axis are more often than not intertwined, and so the artist might assume different positions along the axis at different times, in relation to different works, or they might assume a wide area of the spectrum within which their practice exists.
LEAH KILIAN, MELANIE STINIGUTĂ, THAO DO - COVER PAGE
The modernists are known for reacting off of events that we now know made history. We study it in schools. History was happening right in front of their eyes and their reactions released new movements of culture and art. Now, history is happening again in the face of a health crisis. What new movements have sprouted from this? We find ourselves being inspired by themes that have plagued humanity for centuries: loneliness, frustration, and darkness. A routine of no-routine. It is interesting, now, to discover what can disrupt this paradox: familiarity to what we’ve always done, or the contradiction of frequent yet inconsistent spontaneity? However, like the modernists, we are paving our own way. We seek to find the joy in the everyday, with the current pandemic helping us to redefine what the ‘everyday’ now is. Ultimately, we hope that there is something to be found in speaking our truth.
The issue with expressing the personal in a way that’s objective enough to be able to be relatable, is that we cannot expect this consequence. Relatability will never have a tried and true formula – ultimately, it us up to chance whether the viewer sees something in the work that touches them. The best we can do, as individuals and a collective, is relay our emotions with the utmost of honesty. We are honest in this work. What we need not do, however, is provide first-person accounts of the human condition. Why is this the ungated pathway to understanding? If we have found our truth to be among us, we relay this from a birds-eye view. We were inspired by humanity, and this is for humanity. Artists take a step back for the true focal point of this work to shine: people.
In the last year, no medium has become more fascinating than people’s movements. At the drop of a hat, routine movements were rattled into broken steps. This has fascinated us. Within this fascination, there were the minute details of seemingly “dull” habits we put under a microscope. We found it was these that were the turning gears in the continuation of people’s lives. Such little habits like the warmth of a tea cup against the palms, the words and tone we use when we argue, or the feel of the spring wind against our face. These are things cementing us in the present, proving our existence. So, within this paradox of significant dreariness we are arguing 3 types of routines: the subconscious habit, the conscious, and the subconscious with a disruption.
These 3 types address the degree of human presence. Subconscious habits would typically include turning door handles, pressing snooze on your alarm, or passing by fields on your way to work, paying them attention with your eyes, but not your mind and soul altogether. There is very little to no mental presence in the subconscious routine. The conscious routine, however, embodies this. You’re mindful of how to use your senses; for example, feeling enlivened by the touch of rubber handlebars against your fingers, or the gaps of silence in-between the words of verbal conversation. The subconscious routine with a disruption embodies both of these characteristics. Perhaps you’re a busybody and you feel like your life works best with an order, a familiarity you’re used to. Subconscious. But what happens when a foreign force suddenly upends the world you built? Sickness, loss, change, love? What are the stages you go through before finding a heightened presence in the things that you do? Conscious.
We bring our experiences with these repetitions by a presentation that exercises your senses: listen to us, read us, feel us. See the book as a composition of the routines; a visual experience. Take your time. Your degree of presence is up to you.