Olga Micińska: Craft as a Verb: the Artist as a Maker, the Workshop as Infrastructure, and the Prototype as a Form of Actuality


Advisor/tutor: Sven Lütticken
Arnhem, June 2018


This thesis considers what role craft can play in contemporary art production as a means to materialize concepts, configure labour conditions and engage with the making process as a formative element of the artwork’s semantic structure. Seeking a vital proposition beyond the domains of ephemeral and conceptual arts, Micińska examines the potential of the artist as a maker and regards the craftsperson’s workshop as an art space where critical discourse is applied and realized before the effects are displayed or circulated. 

A systemic methodology in the production and recognition of labour as a performative process, preceding the presence of an object, establish an artistic and political position of endurance and resistance towards the conventional commodification of art. Thus, art objects are described here as things or causes – reasons to act – which unfold in consecutive actions of decision-making and solution-finding. The meaning of artefacts is then constructed upon relations occurring between different actors, present within the artistic, institutional and material realms. In my analysis of the workshop locale as a space and infrastructure accommodating labour, a foundation for a hybridized practice is calibrated – merging different abilities associated with artistic competences. 

Micińska applies the notions of "prototyping" (borrowed from design theory) and "cyclicality" to support the principle of working in present but in direct relation to the future. Citing craft techniques, which incorporate the circular motion of a mechanism with the phenomenological perception of what is placed directly in the maker’s hands, she postulates the significance of concentration based on one’s immediate experience of actuality. An art object – a transformed, tangible substance – is then perceived as a recurring factualization of a conceptual thought, placing experimentation before speculation.