ICEVIEW MAGAZINE - On Solitude and Artmaking: A Conversation with Gudrun Filipska of The Arts Territory Exchange

(First published by

Do you think that experiencing isolation and solitude is conducive to creativity and artmaking, or does it hinder these processes?  

I think it depends largely on how you are able to contextualise it for your self--for some people it is a huge boost to artistic practice and feeds creativity, while for others it can be completely paralysing. Obviously, there are also different ways of being isolated, some of these are not due to geographic remoteness but can develop in the busiest and most frenetic of places.

The Arts Territory exchange has a number of participants who are artist parents living in the middle of cities with small children, or those who are restricted to the home for reasons of illness and disability. Just trying to negotiate the complex social and capital systems of the 'art world' can also be a very isolating experience for artists unable to take usual routes towards 'success'.

Also, the two words isolation and solitude suggest romantic associations which I am very uncomfortable with. Shutting away society and its empiricism was a privileged choice for the Romantics--the idea that being isolated could bring you closer to some kind of true or authentic self—these are tropes that were employed in the gothic novel and early travel writing. The associated 'pioneering' journeying it involved was almost exclusivity a male practice - there are huge legacies to this in the art world - the desire to travel to the furthest reaches of the earth, constant participation in artist residencies and Biennales all over the world and the development of a ‘global’ profile have been seen as hallmarks of success for a long time and the travel that is involved often precludes those who are unable to leave home for economic reasons or reasons often dictated by their gender (played out in the physicality of pregnancy and child rearing)…read more

Gudrun Filipska -'Terill Walk' Film Stills and notes.

Gudrun Filipska -'Terill Walk' Film Stills and notes.