Phyllida What ambitions do you have for your work, now that you’re about to leave the Schools?
Brian I imagine some people here will be so focused on developing their art at the moment that they haven’t thought about showing at galleries afterwards.
Marisa In the past 10 years people in art schools have begun to feel that being represented by a gallery is a reasonable expectation. But that’s where everyone gets into trouble, when they expect that to be waiting out there – that sets you up for disappointment.
Aimee I wouldn’t have thought that’s the focus of most people at this point. You’re thinking about the show and how you’re going to operate outside of this group that you’ve been with for three years: if you’re going to have a studio, who your
new peers are going to be, who you are going to stay in touch with, and how all that is going to change your work.
Julie And how to survive – getting enough money but not doing too many jobs so that you can still have time for your own practice.
Natalie Being here for three years eliminates the financial pressures – it takes away all of those worries and lets you get on with making work.
Alex I think there will be a process of learning about what our aspirations are outside the RA. We’re in a situation now where it feels good to be making work, and talking and learning about art, and when that changes I wonder how our aspirations will change.
Marisa What concerns me about leaving is not just how to sustain a practice in terms of financial resources, but how to sustain some kind of momentum. When you’re in the Schools environment you have the interaction with peers but also with staff and visiting tutors – that intensity of conversation with many different voices moves your practice along much more quickly than when you’re on your own in a studio.
Brian So what are the questions you are setting yourselves for the final-year show? Your second year show, ‘Premiums’, was a group show, but the final-year show is made up of solo presentations. That must entail a different way of thinking?
Daniel ‘Premiums’ is a proper testing ground. You have time and a big space in the galleries in Burlington Gardens to test things out, and you see how certain things fall flat.
Marisa What’s nice about ‘Premiums’ is that you have another year-and-a-half at the Schools to hone your work while you digest that experience.
Natalie This show is making me do the things I’ve wanted to do that I know are difficult to achieve, things that I’ve put off. The fact there’s a show makes me feel it’s worth going through the hard work because someone’s going to see it.
Alex For the past three years I’ve been able to make propositions rather than works. Now, for the final-year show, I have to think about someone else’s encounter with the work.
Phyllida I’m interested in this shift from your private encounter with your work to how the work interfaces with the world beyond yourself. Who are ‘the audience’? I’ve always had this huge ambivalence about the audience, where I’m meant to place them, and who are they anyway?
Brian An artist’s audience is often their community.
Murray I think it is possible to think about your community too much and take on too many opinions. There is a danger that you end up in too comfortable a situation, where you already know how people will respond to what you are about to do.
Phyllida This is where the notion of the community starts to crumble slightly.
Brian So what audience or community, if any, do you have in mind in your final-year shows?
Gabriel Everyone will approach the show slightly differently. Some people’s presentations could feel like a solo show, which could easily be transposed to a commercial gallery space. Others won’t necessarily have that feel at all, and looking
around their work, you wouldn’t necessarily know how that person would fit into the art world. I don’t want to present myself as ready to slip straight into the art world as it exists.
Phyllida What is the ‘art world’? Could you describe it?
Natalie It’s not beyond us. I’d say we’re part of it.
Phyllida I would as well. I’m just curious about where it is, and whether there is a way after art school to work outside the art world. The work would be unprotected by institutions and in a different world, a feral state.
Ariane Where is the border between the two worlds?
Phyllida I’m not sure. Some people make things after art school but do not call themselves artists. Is their art outside the art world? Their artwork often becomes very attractive to the art world that it’s antagonistic to.
Brian Isn’t that just capitalism just doing what it always does?
Marisa For me,the most direct relationship we have with capitalism at this point is rents. What’s really worrying is the way that artists are being driven out of London because of rising prices. People are getting pushed further out of the city.
I do wonder how many of us will be able to stay here over the next couple of years.
Natalie London will still accommodate artists.
Julie Not if they can’t afford the rent.
Natalie Aren’t we capable of creating an income for ourselves?