Mutual artist-in-residence Impulse 3

Mutual artist-in-residence Impulse 3

Convictions was the motto of the 3rd stage of the Mutual Impulse project, 21-25 September 2013.

A companionship of artist-in-residence delegates from Russia and the Netherlands visited residency centers in the Moscow region, with this question: what is the urgency of your initiative? What is your conviction?

The companionship:

  • Natalya Alexeeva, Residency at the OB sea, Novosibirsk
  • Evgeniya Nikitina, Cultural Tranzit, Yekaterinburg
  • Anastasya Patsey, Pushkinskaya-10, St. Petersburg
  • Anton Mariasov, GridchinHall, Krasnogorsk
  • Rina Kurt, Guslitsa Creative Center, Guslitsa
  • Olga Gartman, Zvizzchi residency, Zvizzchi
  • Georgi Nikich, Union of Exhibition Halls, Moscow
  • Maud Aarts, De Buitenwerkplaats, Starnmeer
  • Claudia Schouten, Motel Spatie, Arnhem
  • Jacqueline Heerema, BADGAST, Scheveningen
  • Wapke Feenstra, who was resident artist at Zvizzchi residency throughout 2013.

Public symposium "Means of Existence"

Culture Center ZIL, (DKZIL), Moscow
September 22, 2013

Artist-in-residence initiatives live from much, much more than only financial resources: hosts, guests, personel, volunteers, building, location, community, audience, etc. During the symposium we made an inventory of all kinds of  "means of existence", which the participants regarded as necessary to run their program.

From left to right:
Anastasia Patsey, Pushkinskaya-10,
St. Petersburg
Rina Kurt, Guslitsa residency
Evgeniya Nikitina, Cultural Transit, Yekaterinburg
Jacqueline Heerema, Badgast residency, Scheveningen
Claudia Schouten, Motel Spatie, Arnhem.
(standing): Asya Filippova, PROEKT_Fabrika, Moscow.


The discussion was triggered by the following questions:

  • Which means of existence are necessary for residential art centers to survive: money, organization, location, conviction, visions, artists, audiences?
  • How do different means of existence relate to each other: how does money relate to the artists, how does the location relate to the audience, how does the artistic vision relate to the location, etc.?
  • Which means of existence are most successful?

"If you want to make money, don't start an artist-in-residence program!"
With this straightforward advice director of PROEKT_Fabrika Asya Filippova ended once and for all the discussion on the question if it could be possible to earn money with artist's residencies. Hosting artists won't make you any profit, she stated. But it does generate, she also said, other value, though less calculable. At PROEKT_Fabrika in Moscow the guest artist's studio forms part of a creative industry complex. This context makes the artist-in-residence program beneficial for the artistic dynamics of PROEKT_Fabrika, Asya Filippova told, and even more: "We may bring the audience of contemporary Moscow something new, unusual and provocative. Guest artists help us to defamiliarise our conventional ideas. That is my conviction."

Mini-symposium "hosting artists - private ownership - autonomy"

GridchinHall, Krasnogorsk, Moscow Region
September 23, 2013

Does private ownership of an artist-in-residence program offer more autonomy for host and guest?
This was the main question for our encounter at Gridchin Hall, privately owned and privately intitiated by businessman Sergey Gridchin. We gathered at the guest artist's studio, at the top floor of GridchinHall, and discussed the topic of autonomy and artist-in-residence, in Russia and in the Netherlands.

Discussing artist-in-residence autonomy, at the artist's residency of GridchinHall in Krasnogorsk.









Anton Mariasov (GridchinHall): We don't owe anything to anybody.
At GridchinHall we don't owe anything to anybody. This supports our autonomy. In Russia private initiative is closer to the reality and practice of daily life because in comparison with stately owned or subsidized initiative in private initiative there is less burocracy and more direct, horizontal communication. For us our artist-in-residence program  functions as a tool for communication between artists and society. An artist's residency is more than just the encounter between host and guest. In my conviction the residency starts as soon as the guest starts to communicate with the people, with whom the host communicates. It is about this encounter of the guest with the wider audience and users of the residency. This counts especially in Russia, where people have difficulty in catching up with globalization.

Sergey Gridchin (GridchinHall): Working as a mind moulder residency
I see my residency as that of a "mind moulder" in our developing Russian society. Artists in the end always want to do what they want themselves, not what people in power want them to do. Artists are dangerous for people in power because from a good artist you never know what to expect. For this artist's autonomy I want to give an opportunity. But let's not regard artists as some kind of innocent people, who should be tampered and cared for. Artists can be very well aware of being used. They sometimes choose to be used. And they sometimes use you, and me. As residency provider I never can be totally autonomous, there are always strings with burocracy to which I'm tied, all kinds of regulations. But I strive to keep these strings as loose as possible. Private initiative in my case makes this possible.

Left: Sergey Gridchin, GridchinHall
Right: Claudia Schouten, Motel Spatie






Claudia Schouten (Motel Spatie): Independent Dependency
In our area, a suburb of the city of Arnhem, there are a lot of empty buildings. We ask the owners, city or company, to give us the key, so we can use the spaces for residencies. So we are dependent on their willingness. But it is up to us what we do with the residency; we operate independently. Of course it all takes a lot of work. You have to sit down with the owners of the space you want to use. You must know which person to approach. My advice is: come with a convincing story and be convincing! And never give in to the artist's freedom. Give the owner all the arguments why the city is better off with an artist in residencie than with an empty space. In my experience they can't refuse. But there is never time to sit back: new culture programs are developed, companies change their priorities, burocrats switch jobs. New faces appear, new conditions. So there you go again. That's the challenge. Running an artist-in-residence program is anything but a garantee for comfort and security.

Anastasia Patsey (Pushkinskaya-10): Dialogue with burocracy
Pushkinskaya-10 has a long history, from a nonconformist squat in the 1990s to an established cultural center now. It is half a collective initiative, supported by a lot of artists, art spaces, galleries, small companies, and it is half a city initiative. The city eventually tolerated the art center and allowed us to stay with a longterm contract. This is the outcome of a long dialogue with burocracy, but with a workable result in the end.

Wapke Feenstra (Zvizzchi resident artist & initiator of Dealing with Context

For my artistic practice autonomy is not so interesting. Autonomy is an illusion. To me it's a silly idea to divide people into those who would be free and others who would be under commerce or government. You're never outside commerce, burocracy, or politics. There is always context. There you have to operate. You must act within a given situation. That's what my work always is about. If I'm asked to work somewhere, I first explore if the situation there gives me enough challenges and also enough space to deal with the situation.
That's my way.

Mini-symposium "Developmental artist-in-residence"

Guslitsa Creative Center, Moscow Region, Orekhovo-Zuyevo District
September 24, 2013

Since two years Irina Nikolaeva and her brother Mikhail Khudorozhkov develop Guslitsa into a site for artistic creation and education. The location is a huge former factory, of which a big part is still under construction, 2,5 hours driving from Moscow, amidst forests and near to a village.

For Russia, Guslitsa is unique in its developmental and communal approach of the residency concept. Guests are invited to commit themselves to the development of the center, they are given a voice to mould Guslitsa. Guests contribute not only physically to the construction of the building, they also help to develop the concept, while building and using the space. Except for some individual studios most spaces are for collective use: kitchen, dinner room, sauna, concert-theater-exhibition spaces, so that everybody is stimulated to meet, to encounter, to mingle, and work together.

Fresh painting at one of the big exhibition spaces of Guslitsa

As evidence of this communal approach some 15 guest artists joined the mini-symposium. Some warned against the risk of the open, developmental approach of Guslitsa: the priority to process might turn into a situation of undecidability. Others warned against the risk of sticking to a fixed concept or guideline. For them the open approach makes Guslitsa attractive to work and stay.

Here is the answer of Guslitsa's initiator Irina Nikolaeva:

All that has been said passes my mind every day. Of course I'm aware that an open, developmental approach is risky. It makes it difficult to pinpoint Guslitsa. There is not one big masterplan, that functions as a guideline for all our activities. But that does not mean that there is no conviction.

I believe that this can be a place for creative people from different communities to meet and to work right on the spot. Guslitsa is dedicated to mingling communities. Artists and non-artists; city-people and village-people; artists from different disciplines.

I see art and art-residency as wide concepts. Creativity is an integrating and spiritual force. My vision is communication and creative exchange on the basic questions of our existence: how do you live, how do you live together, how can you share your experiences through creative means? 

Right: Irina Nikolaeva


Expert session Moscow artist-in-residences: goals, resources, models.

Exhibition Hall ‘Peresvetov Gallery’, Moscow
September 25, 2013

At Peresvetov Gallery, one of the Moscow Union of Exhibition Halls, 22 representatives of the Moscow Union of Exhibition Halls gathered for a workshop on artist-in-residence. The goal of the workshop was to find out which exhibition hall could or would like to initiate an artist-in-residence. The workshop was organized by Georgi NIkich, artist-in-residence expert, curator, and director of the Moscow Union of Exhibition Halls.

Many questions, mostly focused on practical matters, were discussed:

  • Which other culture institutions could be alliances for an artist-in-residence program? Educational institutions? Companies? City authorities?
  • Which other spaces could be interested in artist-in-residence programs: libraries, museums, theatres, centers of city events?
  • Which possible legal and financial and administrative models of artist-in-residences could function in Moscow?

For most participants the concept of artist-in-residence was new. Each exhibition hall has its own history, context, and specific conditions. To think of a way to invite an international artist certainly stimulated the participants to take a new look to the potential of their cultural activities.

Mutual artist-in-residence Impulse 2010-2013
was a collaborative project of

  • TransArtists (2010-2012)
  • DutchCulture Center for International Cooperation|TransArtists desk (2013)
  • Association of Culture Managers (AMC), Russia
  • Association ‘Exhibition Halls of Moscow’
  • ArtResideRus

Mutual artist-in-residence Impulse 2012-2013 has been generously supported by

  • the Dutch Embassy in Moscow,
  • Wilhelmina E. Jansen Foundation,
  • Mondriaan Foundation,
  • NLRF2013,
  • Prince Bernhard Culture Fund.