Art as Commitment
Photo made by Tom Janssen during Propositions #3: Art as Commitment on Saturday 10 February 2018
Propositions #3: Art as Commitment takes De Bruijne’s exhibition title as its starting point. The Spanish compromiso político translates not to a “political compromise” as one might assume, but rather a “political commitment” or even a “political obligation.” For De Bruijne, this playful translation gap opens space for inquiring into true political commitment in and through art. Building on his practice of working simultaneously within social movements and the context of art, De Bruijne puts the term “socially engaged art” under pressure. This genre is, he believes, structurally flawed by its compromise: it tends to bend to art by circulating the aesthetics of the struggle within the art canon rather than committing to the day-to-day reality of the social and political movement. How can we, instead, think and enact an artistic practice committed to both political movement and art? What are the relations between the positions of artist, audience, and visual language in a political movement? How to avoid appropriation while working with/in social movements? Is it possible to call an artwork within art institutions “political” when it uses a language that is illegible outside these institutions?
Propositions #3: Art as Commitment is the third convening platform in BAK’s long-term research series Propositions for Non-Fascist Living (2017–2020), prompted by the dramatic resurfacing and normalization of historical and contemporary fascisms in our present. The gathering and exhibition take place in a makeshift environment amid the renovation of BAK’s new venue and bring together diverse publics to take on the pressing concerns of our time.
Propositions #3: Art as Commitment is developed in a collaboration between BAK and artist Matthijs de Bruijne in the framework of the BAK 2017–2018 Fellowship Program, with contributions by the artist and De Bruijne’s co-researcher Cecilia Vallejos.