Artist reflections: An interdisciplinary social scientific analysis of contemporary artistic praxis through some examples from Budapest and Barcelona

Visual artists  have experienced an existence outside the structured world accepted and operated by the social majority, on the basis of a majoritarian consensus, and have developed various kinds of survival strategies in response to this experience. Some of the artists have come to occupy a specific position, while having exit opportunities, and seek solutions addressing changes without the situation being changed. Change does not involve the transformation of the cultural environment but, rather, they select or find points of view differing from the majoritarian perspectives as well as individual practices in opposition to majoritarian expectations. The interdisciplinary analytic framework mobilized in the research combines artistic research and social scientific research (cultural anthropology, social psychology); methods used are based on participation, visual approaches and the analysis of individual narratives. It is built on video with artists working in Budapest or Barcelona. Field work experiences suggest that artists are engaged in elaborating specific methods enabling them to continually adapt to majority institutions, culture and society. I analyze the motives and explanations behind the strategies chosen by the artists active in the selected fields in their complexity and constant change. The artists mobilize diverse inventories in order to reduce the tensions, conflicts, arising from the frequent changes of perspectives, so as to obtain a kind of livable balance between their desires, experiences and the expectations imposed upon them. Their accounts reveal that it is this balance they create that enables them to work and stay in the profession as artists.

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