Teaching presentation at Villa Arson (FR)


Specific study programs

Collective presentation
3rd, 4th and 5th year

A single place, two teaching methods

The Experimental gallery
The Villa Arson has created an exceptional tool : an experimental gallery with adjustable partitions, almost 300 square meters big, that can be used as a single space or as four smaller rooms. It is also wired and connected directly to the « pôle numérique », the digital department, so that all the work produced in the various studios of this department can be shown in the gallery. This is the main space for the program Presentation/Exhibition, but it is also used for the end of term assessments of the project cycle and for the exhibitions for the diplomas DNAP and DNSEP. The technical specifications of this gallery are those of a professional tool answering all the standards of a real art gallery. When the school is not open the gallery is used as an exhibition space and for various artistic events. The experimental gallery is regularly open to the public, notably for the exhibitions organized on open days and for the summer exhibition of the graduates.
The space is used by students for temporary exhibitions as well as for experimenting with installations.

Weekly critiques
(Presentation/Exhibition program)
A jury of teachers led by the coordinating teacher of the class

Every week an afternoon is dedicated to individual or group installations of the students’ works in the experimental gallery. The students in turn present their works in progress or their finished works to a jury of teachers chosen by the coordinating teacher of their class.
This particularly important pedagogical tool at the Villa Arson aims at developing the students’ ability to present their works outside of the studio, in a white cube style exhibition space. The idea is to investigate and question the intellectual, historical, and political context of the work and of its exhibition, considering the great variety of means in the experimental production of works of art. These critique sessions are compulsory and are one of the most important pedagogical moments, which the entire class must attend every week.

During these critiques, research on form and reasoning are stressed, as well as how to install the work in the exhibition space while dealing with formal and theoretical aspects. A variable group of teachers, usually four or five amongst those that work with the students regularly during the year, start a discussion with the students who are exhibiting their work as well as the rest of the class.
Such exercises prepare the students for the various demands of each diploma, but also offer the possibility of going further than the stage of projects or sketches by experimenting the use of space for works in progress or finished works.

In fifth year, the goal is to produce and show finished pieces while demonstrating the relevance of the material aspects, the chosen means and the use of the space.

Analysis Sessions (SAT)
Burkard Blümlein and guest teachers working in different years
Friday afternoon week B
third-year: initiation to critical analysis
fourth and fifth year: practicing critical analysis

SAT is a group critique of the students’ works. Unlike the experimental gallery sessions where the teachers lead the critical dialogue, SAT allows the students to lead. The student whose work is being discussed does not speak.
The idea is to learn and to practice analyzing a visual production (all media): observing, discovering, questioning, identifying, comparing, interpreting, judging, presenting arguments…
Shapes, materials, colors, functions, information, presentation, context, alternatives…
Intentions, references, conclusions, criticism, appreciation, propositions…

For the third year students this introduction to visual analysis helps develop a critical approach and increase communication skills in a specific area of visual art.

For the fourth and fifth year students, SAT provides an opportunity to practice and sharpen their analytical skills.

Individual meetings

all teachers

One to one meetings between teachers and students are very important pedagogical and training elements. This flexible method, initiated by the student and involving the entire teaching staff, is one of the specific aspects of training in an art school.
The dialogue begins by discussing the works or the projects, usually in the studios, the library or the garden. These are special moments where the teacher who has been called upon spends time with the student in order to understand her/his specific process, and attempts to give it a personalized answer both concerning theoretical and formal aspects.
The students call upon the teachers who organize appointments during their available time.

Workshops are group sessions that usually last four days, and are organized around an artistic or technical proposition by a guest artist or member of the professional art world. At the beginning of the year each teacher presents her/his guest and the project to the students of the third, fourth and fifth years. Groups of 10 to 20 students choose the workshops they would like to attend and sign up at the student office as part of their study contract.
Workshops are not open to first and second year students except by special permission after the teachers and the director of studies have agreed to it. Workshop weeks are at the beginning of the second semester. On the general study schedule they are from February x to March x 2017, right after the first semester exams.
At the end of the first semester the student office informs the students which classes are held during these special weeks.

Starting in third year (semesters five and six) students must sign up for at least two special study programs or ARC. These research and creation workshops are inter-disciplinary programs bringing together at least two teachers with a common specific research theme. The pedagogical goal of these workshops is to prepare the students for the practice of art research, by highlighting the methodology, context, and conceptual and practical aspects involved.

Conferences are also part of the pedagogical tools. They are open to the public. They are held on Tuesdays from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM in the great Auditorium (unless otherwise specified)
The program is put together by the entire teaching staff, who invites artists, writers, philosophers, historians and art critics and movie directors to share their experience or their practice of art.
Visits of exhibitions and study trips are organized by the Villa Arson at various moments during the school year. They provide an opportunity for the students to meet artists and curators in a privileged context. Visiting many exhibitions, whether alone or with a school group, is a vital element in the attainment of a visual and historical culture. It is the opportunity for students to satisfy their curiosity and to enrich their artistic references.