To the best of my understanding, to claim “artist as theorist” is to try to discover how artist theorize their art works both for the notion and the working process.
I think Sullivan’s work Artist as Theorist gives us a clear direction to analyze artists’ work as well as how could an artist become a theorist.
As it’s shown in the graph above, theoretical artists mainly meet the features of Transformation, Reflection, Relational and Site-based. Meanwhile, they are in a essential position among Communities, Systems and Cultures, which influence the art work by Ideas & Agency, Forms & Structures or Situations & Action.
Sullivan’s interpretation gives me a clear way to theories my own work. To be “Making in system”, artists need to “move beyond discipline boundaries”. In my project of the flash-mob, I reply on the form of performance art to carry on my concept by body language. In order to pass the information to mass audiences, I also need to turn to video sphere. To call in participants and work with them to put a conceptual idea in to reality is obvious a process for “Making in Community”. As for “Making in Culture”, I’d love to say the whole theme based on the Chinese “Family Planning Policy” (which is mostly known as “One-child Policy”) is a connection of the Western and Eastern culture. These are just example of how I can theories my art work, and I believe the other sections mentioned in the graph can be referred to.
However, I still doubt that can all artists be theorists? I mean, if all the art works or art working procedure can be theorized in a scientific way? For some of the artist, the art work comes from their brain storm which may be just a spark when they are in a daze. As Brian said in seminar, “…after watching tons and tons of films, someone may come up with a good idea and make a great film but fail to express it in words by article or theory”. In my opinion, to theorize, to a certain extent, indicates to make things logical and rational. If it’s a crazy, innovative, occasional idea, how can artists theorize it? So maybe the analytical system is something to be used afterward when we have to put the art work into an understandable or academic environment.
Do I understand it properly? What’s others’ opinion?