Peter Greenaway

A Demonstration of Research-Based Art

Published in
Issue #01

With an image essay by Amir Avraham

“Everything I do is self-reflexive in this sense,

filled with signs which emphasise the artificiality of the action,

like the curtains in The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, & Her Lover,

which are drawn apart at the beginning of the film

and closed again at film’s end.”

–––Peter Greenaway[1]

Abstract

Does artistic research differ from scientific research? And if so, how? In an attempt to answer these questions, my starting position is that when it comes to artistic research, we should use ‘research’ to achieve a specific goal—i.e., making better art. But at the same time, when we use ‘art’ in ‘scientific research,’ the goal will always be science. By that I mean science defined as the search for truth, and art as the search for the aesthetical. I am, of course, aware that this is an extremely binary categorisation, but I do hope it gives us some didactic clues to work in the domain of art research. By introducing research-based art as a concept, I even hope to narrow the gap. In examining research-based art as a method that uses research for the purpose of making art, I use Peter Greenaway’s film The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989) as a case study. Here, we see both the artist as a researcher and art research as research-based art—an artist-researcher who creates an independent artistic composition by using at his own discretion the accepted results of research.


Introduction

The main objective of this article is to defend the unique tradition of art academies by identifying research-based art as a different form of inquiry that fits with the tradition of art academies. This is especially important for the protection of the arts against the tendency of universities to overemphasise the methodological, logical, and disciplinary element of research. This paper also aims to help us stay focussed on what really matters in art: the magical act of creation to support the argument that research methods in the arts are important but should not become a burden. The value of the arts or the independent artist should not be measured by research.[2]

This critical analysis is dedicated to the art student who feels more and more trapped in a system of formal research indicators. It is a celebration of the (upcoming) artist who wants to use research as a free form of inquiry, the non-conformist who has a clear disgust towards noisy research methods and practices and prefers to see research as a silent method fully integrated in the work of art. It speaks to the artist as an autonomous eclectic who uses research outcomes, as well as the outcomes of every other factual or fictional experience, completely on their own terms. It refers to the artist as a practitioner of the ‘scientia creativa,’[3] which has very little to do with the prevailing scientific practice of today.[4]

Art and Science

Let’s start with some questions: What is art? In what ways does it resemble science?

Or, even more importantly at the moment, how do they differ from one another? According to Henk Borgdorff, Professor of Theory of Research in the Arts at Leiden University, art is similar to science, and it is, therefore, a justifiable means to do research. Theoretically, I completely agree with his claim. However, on a more practical basis, I feel there is still much more to discuss. I would like to use this article to shift the focus from identifying the similarities between art and science—in which my interest often lies—to highlighting the differences between the two domains in an attempt to defend the position of the art academies as an important, independent third area in higher education.

I want to start by asking myself: What is the unique quality of the approach, methods and results in research in art academies? Nowadays, research is mainly considered as formal, systematic practice, in which methods and sources are dominant.[5] Art, on the other hand, is a rather imaginative practice in which both methods and sources remain silent.[6] Although I wish I could have come to a different conclusion, my experiences over the last few years have led me more and more to thinking that, particularly in the Dutch academic field, art and science differ so much from each other that it is almost impossible to accommodate them under the same umbrella without losing the very identity of the arts. The more I strived to analyse the phenomenon, the more I came to the conclusion that my initial plea for a scientia creativa is actually an illusion, at least in the institutional academic landscape we inhabit.

Which brings me to my next questions: What does this mean for the future direction of artistic educational practices? Certainly, there are many opportunities for cooperation in the academic world, especially in the field of humanities.[7] But, in the end, when it comes to the actual measurement of the validity of either the artistic or scientific outcomes, all that seems to really matter is the debate around the difference between what belongs to the domain of truth (science) and the domain of aesthetics (art). In the case of the scientific academic practice, what is actually important is the argument of truth. But in artistic academic practice, it is the argument of beauty. A complete educational system is built on this.[8]

So, I wonder: How can researchers and professors still be part of a university of the arts in which the main occupation and responsibility should actually be art? I think it is the task of researchers and professors in art academies to formulate a deviant and sustainable narrative concerning inquiry for their students. Therefore, I want to propose a new way of phrasing what I believe to be a more adequate approach: no longer art-based research, but, instead, research-based art. Besides emphasising that the final outcome is—and should always be—art, this label also better matches with the artistic tradition in art academies. In this way, it would be possible to refer to a concept, an approach, that does not instrumentalise art to science, but gives it instead the unique, free space it always had, and that we should still defend. Art is the focal point of this concept. By using the word ‘art,’ I do not mean only the traditional artistic craftsmanship; I consider art as an act of independent imaginative creation.[9]

All in all, my current position in the ongoing debate could be summarised as follows: art should always be the centre of gravity in art academies, and students in these institutions should clearly focus on their own process of inquiry. Looking at the academic tradition of the arts, the teachers as artist-educators therefore need a narrative of research-based art, a story in which art does not become an instrument of research, but that rather makes research one of the stages of the art process. Whereas the most commonly used word combination ‘art-based research’ indicates that art is an adjective to academic research, ‘research-based art,’ a new combination I propose, makes clear that we work the other way around in art, thus fully incorporating research in the arts and the artistic process.[10]

Research-Based Art in Art Academies

Now that I have introduced the notion of research-based art as a specific mode of inquiry in art academies, let’s look for examples that can clarify this on a more practical level because a theory without examples is like an idea without proof. I have glanced at the contemporary arts and cultural history to find an example of what can be classified as research-based art. The more I searched, the more I became convinced that the work of Peter Greenaway is an exemplary one. Besides being a renowned cinema director, painter, writer and curator, he is professor at The European Graduate School. I remember his work from the time I studied history and dramatology in the 1980s, and he’s already been famous for a long time for doing research without losing the idea of art. In Peter Greenaway: Interviews (2000), he states that he is doing art as a kind of research, particularly concerning images and symbols, for example in The Draughtsman’s Contract (1982), Drowning by Numbers (1988), The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989), Prospero’s Books (1991) and Nightwatching (2007) just to name some of the important examples. In Greenway’s work, research is closely connected to what we call ‘close reading,’ a way of studying the world as a complex narrative.

The camera is Greenaway’s most important tool that serves the purpose of research-based art. Walter Benjamin’s The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (1935) made clear that the eye of the camera functions as a microscope that gives us the possibility to see what we did not see before. This is exactly what Greenaway does in all his movies. Research-based art begins with a process of research by intense close-reading. In the beginning, the world seems very fragmented and complex, but along the creative process, the fragments become a narrative, thus becoming more and more understandable.

Greenaway seems to see this process of inquiry as a stage in his own process of creation.

Just like the historical and philosophical concepts that he uses, the optic eye is a kind of guideline to point out the direction that makes the work of art in the end. As such, art is not the fragmented list of facts, or the laboratory of plays of thoughts, nor a list of research data or data analysis, but is the fully integrated aesthetic composition. It is a non-repeatable action making the rough material into a unique creation, an exciting adventure of a ‘searcher,’ rather than a well-argued system of a ‘re-searcher.’

Greenaway’s movies reflect this process of creation in which research is only the (circular) phase of preparation that shapeshifts in a final composition. This prioritisation of the final aesthetic composition seems so strong that every part still pointing at the phase of research disappears during the act of creation. As such, research-based art can be called a silent method, a notion I owe to the pragmatist philosophical tradition. The traces of the former re-search belief-system transform into the belief-system of the art. Art (just like science) does not need a legitimation outside itself.

Blue (Peter Greenaway, The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover, 1989). Greenaway builds his story around a central image of the “man as a beast” as the image of the male psyche.

The Mise en Place as the Stage of Preparation

As a good example of research-based art, I now want to focus on one of Greenway’s major films, The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover. By using this as a case study, I hope to inspire my students in seeing how research can be a function of art, without taking over its identity. For didactic reasons, I have divided the process into stages, although they are of course less separated in reality. Although some of my conclusions are based on guessing rather than concrete proofs—what Pierce calls the abductive stage of inquiry—the main direction of the argument is, I suppose, conclusive.

In this cult 1980s movie, Greenaway studies the image of humanity in their symbols. Here, we see the critical researcher who is in close contact with his object of inquiry, ‘the camera as a spy,’ so that we, as the spectators, can see every detail that is important. As we see, some of the images, dialogues and happenings give logical, suspected information. On the other hand, lots of things just happen by accident and need a flexible interplay between the crew and the cast. The shots, which can be seen as the mise en place in a process of cooking, is a stage of preparation in the creative process, based on the lines of the script and supporting the composition. As every moviemaker does, Greenway collects the separate images, and then continues by putting them in a grid to create a montage. In this montage, the researcher becomes the artist more and more. Instead of following the script, collecting images, and looking for the sounds, the focus is now on the synthetic part of the movie design. The footprint of the director can be found in many parts of the movie, but especially in this stage of montage.

White (Peter Greenaway, The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover, 1989). The restaurant’s restroom as a sanctuary from the chaotic restaurant hall. ‘The camera as a spy’.

On some occasions and certainly in my understanding of Greenaway’s work, art is an organically evolving process that turns more and more into a narrative, in this case a cinematographic one. The real artwork starts at the point where camerawork, montage, and script finally meet. By showing the images in a specific order, Greenaway tells the public his story, which is a story about man and his symbols, the story of the independent artist—notwithstanding the fact that the spectator is making their own judgement, with their own focal point and re-arrangements, thus creating a new story.

Green (Peter Greenaway, The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover, 1989). Food as a symbol of creation and the cook as a metaphor for the artist-researcher.

Looking in the Kitchen of the Artist

To understand what Greenaway does in the process of research-based art in The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover, it is important to understand the underlying recipe of the artist, the thought-image as the foundation of the creative process. Linguists George Lakoff and Mark Johnson state in Metaphors We Live By (1980) that every narrative is in fact based on a (conscious or unconscious) metaphor. The metaphor is a hidden image and of particular interest for the design process as a whole. Greenaway builds his story around a central image of ‘man as a beast’ as the image of the male psyche. In the movie, man as a beast is pushed forward on every level: in the casting, in the clothing, in the decor, in the music, and, last but not least, in the food. What we see is ‘man being a wolf to the other.’ Thirty years after the distribution of the movie, in the middle of the #MeToo discussion, this seems even more relevant than ever before.

The hidden message of this piece of research-based art is the depiction of ‘the male human being as a murdering animal’ eating his fellow animals—male and female—whenever it is on stage. It therefore results in a picture of ‘the man as the devil.’ Through his camerawork on the set, Greenaway makes his material, finally integrating it into a work of horror, a devilish play, in which the man is the devil and the woman is the revenging angel. The decadent environment that the artist-researcher Greenaway creates in a way resembles the work of Pier Paolo Pasolini, the director of Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975), in which people even start to eat their faeces. The clear intention of the director is not to secretly enjoy the act but to shock to people, who are confronted by their own aversion on seeing the beast. This resemblance between man and animal is pushed to extremes. This use of the animalistic metaphor—and this is important to notice—is quite different to the current attention to the animal as the better part of nature. In fact, the portrait of the animal as a beast refers directly to the formal Christian tradition in which the devil is a beast and a portrait of evil.

Yellow (Peter Greenaway, The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover, 1989). Dead meat of animals is food that can be eaten: an interesting index for the spectator, a message of what later on will happen in the story.

The Act of Creation as Cooking a Meal

The number of signs is so huge that it is completely foolish to think about a non-deliberate composition. So, I want to look at how the bricolage of shots of The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover integrate everything in one picture: man as a murdering animal, bestial rapist, and finally as a cannibal who eats the flesh of his fellow human beings. The casting is very important because the actors carry the story. There are four main characters: The cook (played by Richard Bohringer), the thief (Michael Gambon), his wife (Helen Mirren), and her lover (Alan Howard). The cook plays the part of the restaurant owner, the thief is the Italian-style mafioso boss who makes his entrance every evening, his wife Georgina plays the role of the slave of the beast who turns out to be the revenging angel, and the lover, the bookkeeper, is the young animal that either is not awake yet (still reading) or is not smart enough to fear his master. The scenery of what can be called an unforgettable piece of total cinema is designed by Ben van Os, who was nominated some years later for an Academy Award for his work as art director in Sally Potter’s Orlando (1992). Like in all of Greenway’s movies, the scenery plays a huge role.

Black (Peter Greenaway, The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover, 1989). Food as a symbol of power. Frans Hals’ The Banquet of the Officers of the St. George Militia Company (1616), depicts a bunch of armed men, partly cheerful and partly drunk, who are powerful as the bandits sitting on the table of the restaurant. Where there is food, there is meat, where there is meat, there is murder, where there is murder there are killers, and where there are killers there are men.

Let’s start with the Italian baroque atmosphere. In the scenery, a lot of components come together. One of the symbolic attributes is the painting aspect, which becomes even more meaningful knowing that Greenaway in fact trained as a painter. The baroque dishes with food and drinks and the opera-like songs in the kitchen add to the atmosphere. And the paintings, like Frans Hals The Banquet of the Officers of the St George Militia Company (1616), are fundamentally important to the atmosphere. Hals’ painting in particular makes the critical case of masculinity even stronger. What we see is a bunch of armed men, partly cheerful and partly drunk, who are—with their weapons and position—powerful like the bandits sitting at the table of the restaurant. In the context of the bandits, this ‘being a militia, a civilised protector of our freedom’ becomes an understatement.

The clothing, made by the fabulous Jean Paul Gaultier, is also an important part of the final composition, which substantiates the gender-based argument by using irony as a major component. Chiaroscuro, light, happy, sexy, especially when we focus on the lover scenes. Then dark. The signs make very clear that what we see is not what there is. Clothing as a cover up, a make-up, a make-believe, underneath a complete other story, in black and red colours, which is the one actually going on. The soundscapes, made by then rising star Michael Nyman who became famous for his music for Jane Campion’s The Piano (1993), is also very important. The whole film is like a Greek tragedy, heading towards death and decay. The Memorial based on Henry Purcell’s The Cold Song is a masterly choice. It is a death march, in which the staccato strikes of the violins tell us that the beast, the animal, the cannibal is coming, and that it is just a matter of time before he will find his prey. The dream-like Miserere by the beautiful white-haired Pup, the singing kitchen boy, is also a great invention.

Red (Peter Greenaway, The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover, 1989). Food as vanitas in the baroque meals, the transience of life, the futility of pleasure, and the certainty of death.

The Act of Creation as a Chemical Process: FOOD

I now want to draw the attention to food, which is the centrepiece of the scenery, and as such plays the major part in the magical chemical process that every act of creation is. It can be seen as one of the most important means in telling the story. Food is so dominant that we could even view this movie as a film about the cultural meaning of food. Giorgio Locatelli, the Italian master chef, is the specialist who, together with Ben van Os, designed the scenery that circles around the kitchen and its food. In the baroque meals in the movie, we see a lot of dead animals, as well as fruits and flowers, the symbols of what we call vanitas. The dead meat of animals is food that can be eaten—an interesting index for the spectator, a message of what will happen later on in the story.

Food is everywhere. The process of research-based art that has been done on the level of the whole movie seems to repeat itself on the level of the food. In fact, we see how Greenaway uses food as a symbol for the image of man, as a beast in a very systematic way: where there is food, there is meat, and where there is meat, there is murder, and where there is murder there are killers, and where there are killers there are men. This is the basic storyline of the movie. In the denouement, the theme of food culminates in an outrageous peak. The bandit-beast kills the lover of his wife. In an act of revenge, she makes a dinner, together with the cook, in which her lover is the meal, and the bandit, her husband, is obliged to eat him. In doing so, she shows to the whole world what he actually is: a cannibal. This gives her the right to do what we do with every beast—namely, to pull the trigger, to finally kill the beast.

Brown (Peter Greenaway, The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover, 1989). Man and his symbols – food as a symbol of weakness. The intellectual man (the lover) eats smaller minimalistic dishes. He is weak and submissive to the brutalism of the ‘animalistic man’

The Artist as the Chef—Cook Serving the Meal

Finally, I want to look at the role of the cook in the movie, who mirrors the director of the movie himself. What we see is an artist-researcher as a complete, independent mind, who uses his eyes, his thoughts, and his skills for the act of creation. Let us focus for a moment on the cook as the supposed alter-ego of Greenaway. What is his role in the story between the beast (bandit), the food (the lover), and the revenging angel (wife)? Greenaway makes very clear that, as a professional, the cook serves the bandit, but on another level, his heart is with the oppressed parties, especially Georgina, the bandit’s wife, whom he supports in every way he can. The bandit knows about the critical attitude of the cook towards him, but because of his unique skills, he is in fact untouchable.

The cook, considered here as a metaphor for the artist-researcher,[11] studies his material carefully. He studies the ingredients, but also the customers in the restaurant. He cooks, but in the meantime, he looks around. He questions everything that takes place and makes up his mind so that he comes to a final judgment, resulting in a final creative act. His act of creation is, in fact, an aesthetic process, making chaos into order, generating a complex situation into a meaningful narrative. Generally speaking, this seems to indicate that research is to be understood as the initial stage in the process of creation, in which a lot of skills are implied that come with the craft, on top of which the act of creation can come to fruition. The major point of leverage for Greenaway is the making of the horrifying masterpiece at the end of the movie. The act of creation as a long, dialogical process of gathering material going into several directions results in the creation of the craziest dish we ever have seen, the roasted lover, served as a sucking pig for the astonished spectators. The artist shows that he is completely working on his own terms, without obeying any outside rule.

Purple (Peter Greenaway, The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover, 1989). The act of eating as a symbol of contempt. The ‘animalistic man’ despises intellectualism.

Conclusions and Suggestions

The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover provides an example of what I mean by research-based art as a silent method, which is an interesting mode of inquiry, a natural act of creation, useful for students in art academies. This semiotic study of the movie has tried to suggest some thought-directions in which research can be used without hurting the identity of arts. Greenaway’s chef-cook exemplifies that the artist-researcher is a good craftsman, a critical thinker, and an independent creator.

Greenaway’s satiric version of the John Ford’s Jacobean play ’Tis Pity She’s a Whore (1989)[12] suggests that research-based art needs to be developed as a skill in contemporary universities of the arts—research-based art as a different mode of inquiry. It opens up a portal. It brings about the world-behind-the-world. It tries to feed the ability to create new perspectives. It touches the dimension of ‘a search.’ Art as a an adventurous and often bizarre enterprise, operating in a free space, which scientific research in fact lacks, even in the closely related humanities.


Footnotes

[1] Vernon Gras and Marguerite Gras (editors), Peter Greenway: Interviews (Mississipi: University of Mississipi Press, 2000), p.61

[2] Research-based art comes most close to what Henk Borgdorff calls ‘research for the arts’ and ‘research in the arts’ in The Conflicts of the Faculties (2012, pp. 37-38), who is citing Christopher Frayling’s Research in Art and Design (1993). Borgdorff calls ‘research in the arts’ an immanent and performative process. Research for the arts is the research necessary for making a work of art.

[3] A form of inquiry into possible worlds. I elaborate on this in Teaching Objects: Studies in Art-Based Learning (ArtEZ Press, 2015).

[4] One of the main problems of research when it comes to arts is the worhsip of the method. When we look for a definition of method in the English dictionary, we find: ‘A systematic procedure for doing something, or the regular way in which something is done.’ In a second meaning: ‘An orderly arrangement or system.’ So, everything about the methodological framework, which is so important in scientific research validation, is in contrast with the unique, temporal, irregular, informal, state-of-mind of the artist.

[5] The definition of research in the English dictionary is significant: ‘Scientific or scholarly investigation, esp. study of experiment aimed at the discovery, interpretation, or application of facts, theories or laws,’ in The Penguin English Dictionary, 2nd edition, 2003, p. 1188. Although the approach can be creative, the same systematic approach is seen in the OECD definition of science: ‘Any creative systematic activity undertaken in order to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of man, culture and society, and the use of this knowledge to devise new applications.’ OECD Glossary of Statistical Terms, ‘Research and Development—UNESCO.’ Stats.oecd.org. Archived from the original on 19 February 2007. Retrieved 20 May 2018.

[6] A good illustration of the difference between the arts and science becomes clear when we look in the English dictionary for the definition of the arts: ‘The conscious use of skill and creative imagination, esp. in the production of aesthetic objects,’ in The Penguin English Dictionary, 2nd edition, 2003, p. 72. The difference between the arts and science also occurs in the The Oxford Dictionary’s definition: ‘Art is a diverse range of human activities in creating visual, auditory or performing artifacts (artworks), expressing the author’s imaginative, conceptual ideas, or technical skill, intended to be appreciated for their beauty or emotional power. Other activities related to the production of works of art include the criticism of art, the study of the history of art, and the aesthetic disseminationof art.’ In these descriptions of arts, we enter a free imaginitiative space, instead of a closed systematic one.

[7] The cooperation between the Amsterdam School of Cultural Analysis (ASCA), the University of California Humanities Research Institute (UCHRI), the University of California Claire Trevor School of the Arts, and ArtEZ University of the Arts we are preparing is an example of an interesting collaboration between the arts and the humanities. In this cooperation, every party tries stay close to their own identity.

[8] Aesthetics is the branch of philosophy that concerns beauty and art. It has a long history from Plato and Aristotle, to Kant and Nietzsche, and Rancière and Deleuze . For me, the concept of ‘beauty’ goes much further than ‘nice.’ Nietzsche’s definition of art as the synthesis between form and expression, the Appollonian and the Dynosian, comes closest to my interpretation of the concept of beauty. Gilles Deleuze continued Nietzsche’s work. Dirk van Weelden shows what that means in the essay ‘Een Schrijver Leest Gilles Deleuze’ (‘A Writer Reads Gilles Deleuze’ in De Gids (Number 6/2015). He sketches how the writer as an artist that was not there before and in which the writer and the reader together ‘see’ something in the parallel world of (in this case) language. This ‘seeing’ in all its contradictions comes close to the world of beauty.

[9] The International Master Artist Educator (iMAE), which started at ArtEZ in 2016, is a good example of an M.A. programme in which the orientation is far more informal, emotional, and imaginative than formal, rational, and systematic, with a focus on theory and the application of theory. For more information: Jeroen Lutters, ‘Research-Based Art: een nieuwe grondslag voor een opleiding tot artist-educator,’ in Cultuur en Educatie 15, no. 43 (2015).

[10] Annette Arlander states: ‘Today the term artistic research is used more and more as an umbrella for research undertaken in art universities.’ By saying this, she states that universities of arts are, in fact, looking for independent forms of inquiry, and opens up the position of research-based art. In ‘Artistic Research in a Nordic Context,’ Practice as Research in the Arts, ed. R. Nelson (London: Palgrave MacMillan, 2015).

[11] Greenaway calls himself the cook. ‘I am the cook. The cook is the director. He arranges the menu, the seating order of the guest; he gives refuge to the lovers; he prepares the repast of the lover’s body. The cook is the perfectionist and the rationalist, a portrait of myself.’ In Gras and Gras 2000, p. 62.

[12] ’Tis Pity She is a Whore is a tragedy written by the British playwriter John Ford (1586-1640). It was first performed circa 1626.

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  • Ford, John, ‘Tis Pity She’s  a Whore and Other Plays. Oxford: Oxford World Classics, 2008.

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Jeroen Lutters

Jeroen Lutters is professor of Art education as Critical Tactics (AeCT) at ArtEZ University of the Arts, Arnhem. He is a visiting fellow at University of California and visiting researcher at the University of Amsterdam. He is guest curator at the Museum Jan Cunenhonorary professor of the Teachers College Windesheim, and visiting professor of NSchool CIBAP and SintLucas.   

Amir Avraham

Amir Avraham is an Israeli graphic designer and researcher living and working in Amsterdam. He worked as a designer in Tel Aviv before obtaining an M.A. from the Werkplaats Typografie at ArtEZ University of the Arts in 2015. His work focusses on the possible roles of the graphic designer operating as an author, and design as a form of writing. Working in close dialogue with artists and institutions in the cultural sector, he researches characteristics of different mediums to create new ways of reading content, or repurposing it in unexpected ways and exploring the power of its medium. In recent years, he has been collaborating with ArtEZ Press on various projects and publications.  

Footnotes

[1] Vernon Gras and Marguerite Gras (editors), Peter Greenway: Interviews (Mississipi: University of Mississipi Press, 2000), p.61

[2] Research-based art comes most close to what Henk Borgdorff calls ‘research for the arts’ and ‘research in the arts’ in The Conflicts of the Faculties (2012, pp. 37-38), who is citing Christopher Frayling’s Research in Art and Design (1993). Borgdorff calls ‘research in the arts’ an immanent and performative process. Research for the arts is the research necessary for making a work of art.

[3] A form of inquiry into possible worlds. I elaborate on this in Teaching Objects: Studies in Art-Based Learning (ArtEZ Press, 2015).

[4] One of the main problems of research when it comes to arts is the worhsip of the method. When we look for a definition of method in the English dictionary, we find: ‘A systematic procedure for doing something, or the regular way in which something is done.’ In a second meaning: ‘An orderly arrangement or system.’ So, everything about the methodological framework, which is so important in scientific research validation, is in contrast with the unique, temporal, irregular, informal, state-of-mind of the artist.

[5] The definition of research in the English dictionary is significant: ‘Scientific or scholarly investigation, esp. study of experiment aimed at the discovery, interpretation, or application of facts, theories or laws,’ in The Penguin English Dictionary, 2nd edition, 2003, p. 1188. Although the approach can be creative, the same systematic approach is seen in the OECD definition of science: ‘Any creative systematic activity undertaken in order to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of man, culture and society, and the use of this knowledge to devise new applications.’  OECD Glossary of Statistical Terms, ‘Research and Development—UNESCO.’ Stats.oecd.org. Archived from the original on 19 February 2007. Retrieved 20 May 2018.

[6] A good illustration of the difference between the arts and science becomes clear when we look in the English dictionary for the definition of the arts: ‘The conscious use of skill and creative imagination, esp. in the production of aesthetic objects,’ in The Penguin English Dictionary, 2nd edition, 2003, p. 72. The difference between the arts and science also occurs in the The Oxford Dictionary’s definition: ‘Art is a diverse range of human activities in creating visual, auditory or performing artifacts (artworks), expressing the author’s imaginative, conceptual ideas, or technical skill, intended to be appreciated for their beauty or emotional power. Other activities related to the production of works of art include the criticism of art, the study of the history of art, and the aesthetic disseminationof art.’ In these descriptions of arts, we enter a free imaginitiative space, instead of a closed systematic one.

[7] The cooperation between the Amsterdam School of Cultural Analysis (ASCA), the University of California Humanities Research Institute (UCHRI), the University of California Claire Trevor School of the Arts, and ArtEZ University of the Arts we are preparing is an example of an interesting collaboration between the arts and the humanities. In this cooperation, every party tries stay close to their own identity.

[8]  Aesthetics is the branch of philosophy that concerns beauty and art. It has a long history from Plato and Aristotle, to Kant and Nietzsche, and Rancière and Deleuze . For me, the concept of ‘beauty’ goes much further than ‘nice.’ Nietzsche’s definition  of art as the synthesis between form and expression, the Appollonian and the Dynosian, comes closest to my interpretation of the concept of beauty. Gilles Deleuze continued Nietzsche’s work. Dirk van Weelden shows what that means in the essay ‘Een Schrijver Leest Gilles Deleuze’ (‘A Writer Reads Gilles Deleuze’ in De Gids (Number 6/2015). He sketches how the writer as an artist that was not there before and in which the writer and the reader together ‘see’ something in the parallel world of (in this case) language. This ‘seeing’ in all its contradictions comes close to the world of beauty.

[9] The International Master Artist Educator (iMAE), which started at ArtEZ in 2016, is a good example of an M.A. programme in which the orientation is far more informal, emotional, and imaginative than formal, rational, and systematic, with a focus on theory and the application of theory. For more information: Jeroen Lutters, ‘Research-Based Art: een nieuwe grondslag voor een opleiding tot artist-educator,’ in Cultuur en Educatie 15, no. 43 (2015).

[10]  Annette Arlander states: ‘Today the term artistic research is used more and more as an umbrella for research undertaken in art universities.’ By saying this, she states that universities of arts are, in fact, looking for independent forms of inquiry, and opens up the position of research-based art.  In ‘Artistic Research in a Nordic Context,’ Practice as Research in the Arts, ed. R. Nelson (London: Palgrave MacMillan, 2015).

[11] Greenaway calls himself the cook. ‘I am the cook. The cook is the director. He arranges the menu, the seating order of the guest; he gives refuge to the lovers; he prepares the repast of the lover’s body. The cook is the perfectionist and the rationalist, a portrait of myself.’   In Gras and Gras 2000, p. 62.

[12] ’Tis Pity She is a Whore is a tragedy written by the British playwriter John Ford (1586-1640). It was first performed circa 1626.

 

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