Munich; OPEN ARTIST STUDIO FOUNDATION: under construction by Georgia Kotretsos for MaximiliansForum in Transformation curated by C9

by Venetia Kapernekas

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The Athens-based visual artist and researcher Georgia Kotretsos  has initiated a very promising and quite challenging  project for the city of Munich,  a visionary 10-year project proposal and exhibition “Open Artists Studio Foundation-OASF” which under construction aims to assemble at MaximiliansForum, the Munich art community, the Department of Arts and Culture of the city, and representatives of the Maximilianstrasse flagship brand stores to present and propose an organically-born creative evolution of the space – into a public art studio. The project was presented in the public on September 8, 2015.

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Georgia Kotretsos, OPEN ARTISTS STUDIO FOUNDATION: under construction, detail of public video, C9 MaximiliansForum, the Dept. Arts & Culture, City of Munich, organized and curated by C9, Munich, Germany, 2015. Supported by C9, City of Munich, NEON, and Mataroa. Photo credit: Max Greuter | Courtesy of OASF

The OPEN ARTISTS STUDIO FOUNDATION (OASF) is an innovative artist studio model. where upon the physical rehabilitation of MaximiliansForum will offer diverse and interdisciplinary fabrication spaces and technical support at its premises, and access to a network of specialized professionals and services vis its online platform to contemporary artists.

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Georgia Kotretsos, OPEN ARTISTS STUDIO FOUNDATION: under construction, OASF public video, C9 MaximiliansForum, the Dept. Arts & Culture, City of Munich, curated by C9, Munich, Germany, 2015. Supported by C9, City of Munich, NEON, and Mataroa. Courtesy of OASF.

OASF hopes to serve both as a creative crossroad and a hub in the heart of Munich, right to Maximilianstrasse as well as globally through its engaging manifold network.

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Georgia Kotretsos, OPEN ARTISTS STUDIO FOUNDATION: under construction, OASF public video, C9 MaximiliansForum, the Dept. Arts & Culture, City of Munich, curated by C9, Munich, Germany, 2015. Supported by C9, City of Munich, NEON, and Mataroa. Courtesy of OASF.

Maximiliansforum is a 1600 square meters public exhibition space in Munich. It is located at the underpass of the intersection on Maximilianstrasse and Altstrading. It is situated right under one of the main thoroughfares and most expensive streets of Munich-Maximilianstrasse, after which, the exhibition space is named. the underpass was build from 1968 to 1969 as part of the Munich transport master plan.

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Georgia Kotretsos, OPEN ARTISTS STUDIO FOUNDATION: under construction, C9 MaximiliansForum, the Dept. Arts & Culture, City of Munich, organized and curated by C9, Munich, Germany, 2015. Supported by C9, City of Munich, NEON, and Mataroa. Photo credit: Georgia Kotretsos | Courtesy of OASF.

Meeting over the presentation, Sept 8th ,Georgia Koretsos, being  amazed how enthusiastic she is about this project and the amount of work, hours, travelling and more she has dedicated to this challenge.  Over coffee next day, in some of my questions, here are some of  her answers.

GK: OASF is a studio run by artists for artists. It is not an exhibition space or an art-residency but a studio space where priority is given to artists who do not run a full-time studio, to women artists, to parent artists, to European artists and to artist in urgent creative support from around the work – in return of an artwork and five peer-recommendations. Upon the culmination of the project on its 10th year, 50% of the collection would be passed on to the Dept. of Arts & Culture for hosting at MaximiliansForum the OPEN ARTISTS STUDIO FOUNDATION.

OASF is structured in a way, which will build a community and network of artists. The peer-recommendation aspect of the project will act as the adhesive agent of that building process. Will there be a committee, online sign up timeslots, or an application process… there are all possibilities that are discussed. The online sign-up timeslot for usage of the space seems to be on top of the list right now.

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GK: …Quite briefly at its premises OASF will offer research labs; photo labs; sound and video labs; 3D printing labs; book-making and publishing lab; large scale fabrication lab; and services such as grant writing; network match-making; offer specialized and cross-sector creative solutions and partners; web design; programming; legal advice; social sustainability advice; studio visit facilities and much more. OASF is a site-specific 10 year project, offered to artists for free on 24/7 bases, and it’s open to the public.

GK:It only took a day of walking up and down on Maximilianstrasse early in May and in and out the space to identify the areas of interest. Physically being there changed everything. I was not only interested in the space itself but its immediate surroundings too. I needed to familiarize myself with the routes people take to get to the space. The following day a certain degree of criticality towards the current state and use of the site kicked in and it sent me straight to the C9 couch for the next two days, I was literally on my back, flat, eyes-closed thinking about the creative conundrum at hand… dreaming, imagining of what this place could become that it’s not already. That is what got to me, seeing an opportunity being missed, a present being settled for less that it was worth. It is easy to distinct when one comes from less privileged societies, I understand limitations very well, all sorts but what I find hard to accept is the settling notion when confronted with such decisions in advanced societies. What’s the reason behind an institutions being barricaded into and shield from the creative change that’s in process already, when all tools needed to take steps forward are available.

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GK: Early in 2015, C9 introduced me to the concept of “MaximiliansForum in Transformation”. Later in the spring, an invitation came form C9 supported by the Dept. of the Arts & Culture, City of Munich to visit the space in order to begin my research and then deliver a visionary proposal and exhibition by early September 2015. The truth is that I instantaneously welcomed the challenge for three reasons, firstly because of C9; secondly because of the privilege, challenge and opportunity to dream on a 1600 sq. meter; scale and last the possibility of generating creative capital and traffic into the heart of the commercial district of Munich.

Georgia Kotretsos is a visual artist and researcher based in Athens, Greece. She moved to South Africa in her early teens while the abolition of apartheid was underway. Kotretsos holds a BFA from the Durban Institute of Technology, in KwaZulu Natal, (2000) and an MFA Degree from the School of the Art Insitute of Chicago on a Full Merit Scholarshiop (2004).
With her work, she critiques the conformity of seeing by studying, proposing and practicing liberating and anarchic approaches of looking at art in an effort to support that seeing is site-specific and spectatorial emancipation the source of our art knowledge. Through her research-bases practice, she encourages speculative approaches on how knowledge is and/or could be produced.
Ms Kotretsos has invited Bernd Fasel, to work together  on  this promising project.  Bernd Fasel, is an independent promoter, researcher and senior advisor in the Cultural Creative Industries in Europe. In 2011 Bernd Fesel was elected chairman of the European Creative Business Network (ECBN) foundation in Rotterdam.

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