Cultural Diplomacy and the Temporary Studio

  • Abstract:
    Artists play a significant role in re-conceptualizing relationships between Europeans formerly kept asunder by the Iron Curtain. Many artists’ residency programs started up since 1989 and provide temporary studio space upon application and acceptance. The article discusses the purposes, scope, and outreach of such programs. The creative environment within the studio is fertile ground for the interchange of artistic practices, and a place where social and political ideas may be diffused. Artists explore various approaches and media, and absorb cues from one another. Travel to the studio location and time spent in the new cultural context are important. The direct experience of local life, social and geographical knowledge creates a platform for ease in cooperation. The artwork produced in shared studios often reflects reciprocal influences. Boris Groys observes that art today is created by the masses. Large numbers of contemporary European artists participate in residencies and contribute to the mass artistic production project. As they practice aesthetic equality among all visual forms, they bind the democratic dimensions of art and politics together into a powerful instrument of cultural diplomacy.