The School of Painting and Pictorial Practices is based on the following perception of images: before the images is regarded as a marketable object or an object of contemplation, it is regarded and perceived in its praxis, its doing. Regardless of whether the picture in question is an Instagram image, a piece of Celtic ornamentation, a physical painting or a press photo, they all, each in their own way, have agency: they do worlds. A images is essentially a kind of doing that establishes an affect, a connection, a context, a recipient relationship, a political misdirection or an inner emotional response of a spiritual nature. We are always-already installed in a reality of images, so how so we greet the image's doing with new and different forms of pictorial praxis – other ways of doing images and image-doing? We find a significant example of images possessing their own agency in our current digital paradigm. As users, we increasingly no longer have to find content ourselves (such as an image) – an algorithm will make sure that the content (the image) finds the user. This is to say that images do things in the world, and hence they must be perceived and regarded while keeping in mind the fact that they are not just modes of expression; they have agency too.
The doing of images always takes place within a wider field of practice that encompasses every theme and issue imaginable: gender, the digital, body, perception, politics, tactility, materiality etc. Today, the painting and its issues presents itself more like a nodule within a network than as a delimited thematic field. It is not enough to ‘just’ focus on form, ‘just’ focus on gender or ‘just’ focus on materiality. By focusing on images as a form of doing within a wide-ranging, cross-cultural field, the School endeavours to accommodate highly diverse themes by ensuring that the analytical focus falls upon the way in which a theme is realised. This focus on pictures as doing will also put aside a range of dichotomies that have, in many ways, prevented painting from developing a new language: figurative vs. abstract, constructivist vs. expressive, aesthetic vs. conceptual.
The School’s overall mental framework and approach to image-making is that we always-already find ourselves in a heterogenous field of pictures that are simultaneously forms of expression AND forms of agency. Pictures respond to pictures that respond to images that respond to pictures. As a result, the relevant fundamental art-pedagogical question for the School becomes this: how can we experimentally understand and challenge the existing forms of agency taken by images? And, in this process, how can we develop pictures that can create worlds by means of new forms of doing?
The School will focus on pictorial practices that regard our current digital paradigm, the Anthropocene and an open, cross-cultural perception of images as inescapable frames of reference for the further development of painting and of images in the wider sense.