Artist in YOUR Residence
is a project/experiment initiated by the artist Liliya Lifanova in September 2010. Lifanova's other work can be viewed at www.liliyalifanova.com
Statement from the artist:
The idea behind ARTIST IN YOUR RESIDENCE
is simple: I need a place to sleep and a meal and you want something done or an artwork. I can stay for a day or I can stay for a year - we'll coordinate around your and my needs. At the end of 12 months, I will produce a publication tracing a year's worth of work and snippets of conversations that took place surrounding our collaboration and/or other relevant topics. In the meantime, this website will serve as an archive for images and notes relating to the project. (A place to sleep and meals are non-negotiable. A donation for travel expenses or necessities is much appreciated.)
As I first ventured into the life of an artist, I was envisioning a creative life, different from the concerns and demands of some of the other, more traditional career choices. What I found instead, was a life of couch-surfing while shopping for a future I set out to avoid: a 9 to 5 in an unrelated field, and succumbing to the pressures of paying back my hefty art school loans. What is the alternative system to the existing system of the art-world?, I asked. And how do I design a varied life, a life filled with creative accomplishments, unexpected experiences and profound moments that is worth struggling for?
Despite these prevailing feelings of uncertainty, I found myself immersed in a vibrant dialogue of inspiring conversations regarding the importance of arts patronage, art community, and the potential of art in our daily lives.
One morning, while raking a friend's lawn at the house where he had offered me a couch, an answer came: I am to conduct an experiment where my couch-surfing lifestyle is to become the subject of my art.
On arts patronage:
The word patron dates back to the times of Rome when a Roman citizen was designated as a protector (the patronus
) of a foreigner who had settled in Roman territory (the cliens
). During the medieval and Renaissance times, the meaning of this word was extended to include the sponsorship and the support provided by various nobles to the artists of their society. The relationship between a patron (from the Latin word pater
, father) and his client is known to have been one that was very close and personal; patrons directly supported the lives of their artists and benefited from their successes.
In the early 1900s, in response to industrialization and alongside the institutionalization of the arts, the first official artist colonies and artist-in-residence organizations emerged. In this new kind of patronage, donors and art-loving benefactors willingly separated themselves from directly participating in the artists lives and/or the development of the artists careers, handing it off to museums, artist-in-residence organizations, and other art institutions to direct their funds.
Today, this impersonal and prepackaged system of patronage directly reflects the currents of the art world that respond to the institutional concerns and push the arts outside of the domestic. Furthermore, this type of patronage, breeds a certain kind of insecurity, not only in the emerging artists in the early stages of their careers who are often denied residencies, but also in the patrons of the arts that adhere to the tastes of institutions that make decisions regarding their donations.
On the nomadic nature of the artists path:
Artists are a known breed of chameleons. We design, we build, we install, we manage, we sell, we research, we direct, we orchestrate - putting on a number of hats, effortlessly and simultaneously. The art of Cindy Sherman or Andrea Fraser speak with magnitude about the precarious and ever-evolving nature of our profession. The issue of making art, often in solitude and in tight confines, having neither the budget nor the necessary time, have been brilliantly addressed in the early work of Bruce Nauman, Andrea Zittel, and Tehching Hsieh. Stretching back as far as the traveling artisan monks of the 12th and 13th centuries, the contemporary art world, seems to demand of the artists that they return to this nomadic lifestyle of trading skills and experience for a chance to pursue their art.
Projects initiated by Mary Jane Jacob concerning the interdependence of art and life of artists, artists that have expanded their practice into public policy (such as Francis Whitehead), and those involved in the rigorous reshaping of the notions of an artist's education and approach (J. Morgan Puett) have acted as catalysts and an inspiration for starting ARTIST IN YOUR RESIDENCE