The next best thing

Prof Doc Thesis

Barrett, Martin Andrew 2013. The next best thing. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Arts and Digital Industries
AuthorsBarrett, Martin Andrew
TypeProf Doc Thesis

The collective discourse within the Doctorate has been of particular importance to me
as my practice has generally been a solitary experience.
The title of my Doctorate came from a quote by the German artist Anselm Keifer. In an
interview he was asked when he first thought about becoming an artist. He said that he
had decided to be a priest when he was seven years old but was told that only God
could make that choice. He consequently decided that being an artist ‘was the next
best thing’. I have often felt that art practice borders on being a belief system and this
quote underlines this. Making art would, in ancient times, have been an important and
pious activity and I think somehow this attitude has been carried down over the
centuries into our secular world.
The report is divided into a number of sections starting with this Introduction and an
autobiographical context; the main part of the report covers my creative practice,
theoretical research and professional practice. The guidance for theoretical research
advises looking at the writing around artists that one admires or who have influenced
ones work. I found this particularly challenging as many of the artists that have
influenced me during my career have died. I did manage this, after a few false starts,
by reading about Cornelia Parker’s discovery of the writings of Noam Chomsky.
Subsequently I have researched James Lovelock, Felix Guattari, Richard Sennett, Iain
McGilchrist, Richard Kearney. Daniel Kahneman and many other writers as well as
looking at artists like Grayson Perry, Ian Hamilton Findlay, Wolfgang Tillmans, Rachel
Whiteread and Bill Woodrow.
I have decided, in discussion with my supervisors, to approach the main section by
discussing the key works that I have produced throughout the programme and reflecting
on all the aspects of research, influences and professional outcomes that have
surrounded these works. In my conclusion I have summarized the outcomes of the
Professional Doctorate in Fine Art and how it has informed my practice and particularly
its impact on my approach to teaching.

Keywordsartists; belief systems; art
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Publication dates
PrintMar 2013
Publication process dates
Deposited05 Jul 2013
Publisher's version
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