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MaHKU is the Master programme of the Utrecht Graduate School of Visual Art and Design (part of HKU University of the Arts Utrecht).
MaHKU offers a one-year, English language Master of Arts program in Fine Art. The program consists of seminars, workshops, studios, and tutorials where artists, architects, curators, designers, and various theorists share their knowledge, creativity, and professional insights with MaHKU students.
The one-year Fine Arts programme at MaHKU consists of three parallel courses, creating an optimal mix of fine art and theoretical research. They are:
- critical studies
- your individual research project
In the Discipline Course, you follow your specific Fine Art path. The goal is to profoundly deepen skills, themes, and discussions relevant to Fine Art.
The Discipline Course consists of four units:
1: Presentation (week 1-8)
In this unit, you will explore the issue of the image and its connotations. What exactly is an image? What is the relationship between words and images? How do images affect the world? We will focus on various forms of visualization and representation including drawing. Virtually every object, plan, or idea begins with drawing and sketching as a form of representing transparency. By investigating the significance of visualization and representation in visual art, science and technology, we will try to situate the (artistic) image in our current visual culture.
2: Representation (week 9-16)
In the artistic process, the photographic image often serves as final piece, recording, moment of distribution, and documentation of the real world. In Unit 2, we will investigate questions such as, What does the photographic paradigm mean for artistic practice? How does that paradigm function in a global world? What is the impact of the photographic image on our current visual culture? How could theoretical and/or textual comments and captions underscore and dynamize photographic work as such and art work in general?
Units 1 and 2 take the form of intensive seminars. You will be studying image and text materials in advance and then give a presentation in the form of a visual essay that connects with your own artistic practice. Your work will be assessed halfway through the units after your completion of a preliminary course evaluation.
3: Communication (week 21-28)
Unit 3 focuses on the process of artistic communication. With the methodological perspectives developed in Units 1 and 2 in mind, we will address issues such as:
- position of the studio
- artistic attitude
- the effect of painterly thought in current visual culture
- filmic imagination
- the role of the artist's text
- transmedial communication
4: Context (week 29-36)
This unit focuses on the question of contextualization. How and where could the artistic image be shown? How do exhibitions and their various spaces contribute to the impact of visual art? We will explore various exhibition models and offer you a platform for practical research. You will also investigate the role and position of art in public space in the form of common seminars with MA Public Space Design students.
You will complete Units 3 and 4 with two papers of 1,000 words each. The first essay/interview will discuss the work of another artist and situate it in a theoretical context. The second text will critically review an exhibition. Both papers will be discussed at the end of Unit 4 in a group assessment.Critical Studies The Critical Studies Course focuses on the development of a critical stance in the theory of art and design. This will prepare you to develop your own research concepts, apply topical theoretical texts from your own discipline, and use those from other disciplines. The Critical Studies Course aims to inspire you and help you write a Master research essay discussing innovative insights in your discipline and develop your own. It will also help you to contextualize your artistic production project in a theoretical sense.
The Critical Studies Course consists of three units:
- Visual Studies
- Concept Development
- Interdisciplinary Studies & Supportive Studies
1: Visual Studies (week 1-8)In seminars you will be presented with a variety of theoretical discourses and conceptual frameworks by theory staff tackling issues such as the role of research as an activity, communication models, and modes of analysis.
2: Concept Development (week 9-16)With a focus on analysis and production of research concepts, in this research-based seminar we will discuss questions and issues such as:
- What is a concept?
- How do art theorists develop their concepts?
- How do you write a short paper while deploying found concepts?
- What are the classic concepts deployed in your discipline?
- How do concepts act as research generators?
3: Interdisciplinary Studies (week 17-21)During an interdisciplinary research project of encounters and dialogues you will be challenged to critically reflect on the boundaries of your own professional discipline. In 2014, the research theme will deal with Spatial Practice in three consecutive seminars. In all three seminars, a guest lecturer will determine a methodology and formulate a research hypothesis. As a conclusion of each seminar, you will be working intensively in interdisciplinary groups on location to complete an assignment given by the guest lecturer and create a form of presentation. After each seminar, all interdisciplinary groups will present the outcome of their collaboration to the guest lecturer.
Supportive StudiesParalleling the Interdisciplinary Studies Unit, you will attend three interdisciplinary seminars by three different theory lecturers and study practise-based methods of writing a research essay.
Individual Research Project
In the second half of the year you will be producing an individual artistic production and a research essay, modifying and transforming your project proposal into a full-grown research project.
You will report on the progress of your artistic production and essay research in the form of visual research presentations including the significance of the chosen theoretical contextualization for your artistic production. These will then be evaluated in group discussions (research seminars), while your fine art lecturers and your theory lecturer monitor your research progress during regular individual coaching sessions. With room for various try-outs and the feedback from critical discussions, you should be able to communicate and adjust both your artistic production and your research essay as they progress. Your investigations and reports should demonstrate a dynamic interpretation of creative practice. In your research essay, you should contextualize your artistic production and connect with current issues and topics in your own discipline while deploying an innovative conceptual framework.
Your final work should have the capacity to function as an innovative source of inspiration for your discipline of fine art and its professionals. You will present your artistic production in the Graduate Exhibition and publicly defend both your (5,000 word) research essay and your artistic production to complete your course through the MaHKU programme.