Seminar with artist Ulay and curator Maria Hlavajova

Free School for Art Theory and Practice

Focus of the Free School for Art Theory and Practic in 2007: cooperation and dialogue

Why in Art?
Negotiating Social and Political Urgencies in the Field of Artistic Practice

20 April 2007: Closed Seminar with artist Ulay (Uwe Laysiepen) and Maria Hlavajova

21–22 April 2007: Closed Seminar with Maria Hlavajova

Place: Erick van Egeraat Associated Architects Office
Budapest, XIV. Dózsa György út 54/c 5th floor

The three-day seminar Why in Art? by Maria Hlavajova is divided in three parts:

1. (artist)
In a seminar and a public conversation with artist Ulay (Uwe Laysiepen), Maria Hlavajova engages with the question of why to discuss issues of major social and political consequence in art. Examples of works by Ulay (including works from the period of his collaboration with artist Marina Abramovic) are shown and analyzed in this respect.

2. (art project)
In a closed seminar on 21 April, Hlavajova introduces a number of concrete projects that assume the place of art to be part of the world filled with social and political urgencies, and argues that art is a space where new social and political imaginaries can emerge. Projects such as Citizens and Subjects (52nd Venice Biennale, upcoming June 2007), Concerning War (BAK, 2005), and Now What? Dreaming a better world in six parts (BAK, 2003) are discussed as “case studies.”

3. (art institution)
The part of the seminar held on 22 April is dedicated to the notion of “institutional creativity,” focusing on the place of the art institution as a public site for criticality and non-violent conflict. The theoretical foundations of BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, which Hlavajova founded and runs as its artistic director, serve as a “basis” for articulating ideals for an art institution striving to respond to the challenges articulated by the flux of artistic practices in a hospitable and confident way.

Maria Hlavajova (born 1971) is artistic director of BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht since 2000. She is currently preparing a three-part project, Citizens and Subjects, for the Dutch Pavilion at the 52nd Venice Biennale. Hlavajova has organized numerous exhibitions and projects at BAK including (selection): Roman Ondák: The Day After Yesterday, 2007; Concerning ‘Knowledge Production’: Practices in Contemporary Art, 2006; Adrian Paci, 2006; Concerning War, 2005; Gerrit Dekker: About no below, no above, no sides, 2005; Cordially Invited, episode 3, Who if not we...?, 2004; and Now What? Dreaming a better world in six parts, 2003. In 2004, Hlavajova curated Who if not we...?, an international collaborative project across Europe. She is co-director of the tranzit network, a foundation that supports exchange and contemporary art practices in Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia. Hlavajova was a faculty member at the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, New York from 1998–2002, co-curator of Manifesta 3, Ljubljana (2000), and director of the Soros Center for Contemporary Arts in Bratislava from 1994–1999. Hlavajova lives and works in Amsterdam and Utrecht.

Ulay (Uwe Laysiepen, born 1943) is an internationally renowned artist. He has been working as an artist since the 1970s and his work consists of photographs, performances, films, and videos. He is also known for his performances with Marina Abramovic with whom he worked from 1976 until 1988. In addition, Ulay has taught in numerous institutions, such as DAI, Dutch Art Institute, ArtEZ, Enschede; HISK, Higher Institute for Fine Arts, Antwerp and Staatliche Hochschule für Gestaltung, Karlsruhe, Germany. Recent exhibitions include (selection): I am making Art – Chapitre 1 – Rituel, Transgression, Endurance, Risque, Centre d’Art Contemporain Geneve, Geneva, 2007; SNAFU – Medien, Mythen, Mind Control, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg, 2006; 40 Years Video Art in Germany (From 1963 to the Present), travelling exhibition, 2006; Power-Plays, Para/Site ArtSpace, Hong Kong, 2005; and Interstate, Nicole Klagbrun Gallery, New York, 2005. In 2007 a complete catalog of Ulay’s works and archive will be released on DVD, titled File on Ulay – Oeuvre and Archive 1970–1979. Ulay lives and works in Amsterdam.