Made in Mind
Myths and realities
of the contemporary artist

by Marta Gnyp

The artist is a central figure in contemporary art. The ready-made concept conceived by Marcel Duchamp at the beginning of the 20th century opened up the possibility of calling every object an art object. This subversive act aimed at aesthetics was one of the milestones in forming the notion of the contemporary artist: a conceptual and visual multi-tasker, surrounded by an aura of magic-making and carrying the heavy burden of art historical tradition on his or her shoulders.

Society has cultivated enchanting myths about the artist since the very beginning of art. As genius, bohemian, social rebel, moral provocateur or charismatic visionary, the artist has appeared as someone who takes a clearly different position from mainstream social behavior. Also, in today’s highly efficient and profit-orientated world the artist often represents something magical, irrational and autonomous. Globalization, the worldwide visibility of images and the accessibility of information, the unprecedented wealth and shifts in models of artistic production and presentation, the celebrity cult—all these processes have undermined and transformed the existing notions of the artist and the public. The new complex relationship between the artist and the art market is especially fascinating; it oscillates between celebration, indifference, affirmation and refusal of the market and the opportunities it offers.

This book will briefly analyze the abovementioned fascinating phenomena that have formed the context in which contemporary artists produce their artworks and present them to the public and collectors. What is essential though, is that in this book several important, internationally active contemporary artists will themselves reflect on the idea of being an artist today. In personal interviews they talk about their private motivations and ambitions, about art in general and their art in particular, about their experiences of the ungraspable transformations that are shaping today’s world.

photos by Emil Fagander

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