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Artvalvas is an alternative archive for (art) students. It corrects the conventional model of the brick-and-mortar art schools. It creates an environment for critical dialogue, creative energy and mutual exchange across disciplinary boundaries. Consequently, Artvalvas functions as a playing field or a spare(time) space in the original sense of the wold “school”. Not least the participants test the potential of a digital platform – and its (only) seemingly rigid parameters. 

We consider Artvalvas as a gateway, facilitating unexpected modes of concentrated observation, reflection and communication. It will host workshops, debates and seminars, collections, exhibits and interventions, always allowing different formats and strategies. 

On this community-based platform the historical and the contemporary will intersect in unpredictable ways. Together the participants construct an alternative and achronological historiography of visual culture, thwarting mental barriers between media and disciplines – between the everyday and the exceptional. 

In an age of hypervolatile information circulation the Artvalvas community stores or saves what it holds worthy to be stored or saved. However, Artvalvas is not a conservative repository, but rather a dynamic deposit of “data” ready to be reactivated and reordered at any moment. Consequently, the digital platform allows for a more authentic form of artistic research, a permanent search for answers to “slow questions” (Jan De Cock), i.e. questions that are so fundamental (to one’s own practice or to artistic practice in general) that they don’t necessarily beg for answers. Contrary to clichéd preconceptions, digital media can foster dilatoriness, a productive and inquiring “Zaudern” (to put it in German), which disturbs efficacy-oriented academic programs.

Artvalvas procures personal studios. It stimulates individual artists and collectives to think about the potential of a digital platform as “working space”, enabling new creative modes and models. The foundational question of Artvalvas is thus: How can a digital platform function as an open studio, welcoming visitors and guests, but simultaneously guaranteeing the intimacy and the concentration of a physical ‘atelier’. Artvalves aims to be – to put it in the words of the Belgian artist Jan De Cock – a “mental factory, producing tangible and intangible value”. 

In line with this double vision Artvalves also wants to stimulate sustainable forms of exchange and reciprocity, not only between peers, but also between the professional art world and art students. In this vein, Artvalvas is indeed a gallery space too. But rather than showcasing, the aim of the platform is to generate new collaborative initiatives.

Artvalves is an initiative of PXL-MAD School of Arts and The Bruges Art Institute.