naïveté | A series on up-and-coming young artists

Fertile ideas, distinctive voices

The last decade or so has witnessed artists’ disillusionment with the art world.

From Oscar Murillo to Maurizio Cattelan, contemporary artists have set out to engage directly — or perhaps rhetorically — with the art market and its respective institutions. Whether they graduated, or left art school, with the same intentions as they entered is a no-brainer. Of course not. Art school, though, represents something of a small violence in comparison to the art world.

It’s increasingly clear that “emerging” artists are been thrown into a market that is moving faster, and more lucratively, than a Vegas gambling casino. Some have seen their practice transformed into a shallow goldmine. Whilst others have been forced to turn their practice on its head — projecting it towards dismantling the illusion of the ‘naïve artist’ in an attempt to ground their footing. Why? Because the art world has become something of a phantom haunting young artists in their attempt to survive, to create and remain fertile.

2017 marks a turn. World politics, on both a national and international level, has seen another sort of ‘turning-of-the-table.’ Talking to young graduate artists of the moment, H A P P E N I N G wants to know: will the art world revolve with it? And if it does, in which direction?



Here, enters naïveté:

A series exploring ‘naïveté’ — conversing with six young artists (under 28) who’ve recently graduated or are in the process of doing so.

Naïveté is an odd thing. What does it mean to be ‘naïve’? A lack of experience, wisdom or judgement; an innocence or unsophistication? And yet, it means something much more — much more derogatory that is. It infers ‘inferiority’; a sense of frivolity or irrationality. For many to be referred to as ‘naïve’ is to be taken for less, especially with respect to your profession.

Setting this aside, what if we were to admit to our naïveté and expose our lack of wisdom? For how could we be wise — in this day and age, with the internet? The speed of life, markets, money and social #hashtag movements means our contemporary knowledge is made redundant hour-after-hour, day-after-day. Artists are increasingly confronted with this dynamic, both conceptually and materially. Their projects are being transformed before their eyes, moving at a stifling pace. How do they employ naïveté or grapple with its connotations?