“I offer farmers to paint their farm. My aunt had such a picture. I was told that it was painted after the Second World War, at a time when only farmers had enough to eat; they were thus interesting business partners for painters. In exchange for the painting I ask the farmers to film and provide commentary on their farm, their operations and their work.” Antje Schiffers
Conceived and developed by the artist Antje Schiffers and the curator Katalin Erdődi, “I like being a farmer, and I would like to stay one” focuses on the post-socialist rural condition and the socio-political, economic, and cultural transformation of the countryside in the past 25-30 years, from the vantage points of three farmers coming from different regions and working in different areas of agriculture in Hungary.
“I like being a farmer, and I would like to stay one” is an on-going, long-term artistic project initiated by Antje Schiffers in 2000 (in collaboration with Thomas Sprenger), in which she offers a barter trade to farmers: a painting that she makes of their farmstead, in exchange for a film that the farmers shoot about how they live and work. This barter frames the exchange between the artist and the farmers during the one week that they spend together. Antje Schiffers invites the farmers to co-create the still and moving images of their everydays: to look together for the most beautiful subjects or vantage points for the paintings, and in turn, to depict themselves, share their perspectives and experiences in the films.
In her collaboration-based practice, Antje Schiffers plays with the expectations and clichés attached to the classical figure of the artist: she does plein air painting to create the familiar and recognizable image of “the artist at work”, while the farmers work on the video footage, challenging the aesthetics, media and tools that define current trends of contemporary art practices.
During Summer and Fall 2017, in collaboration with local farmers and the curator Katalin Erdődi, three new films will be created on three different locations, capturing kaleidoscopic and fragmented rural realities, while at the same time aiming to provoke a broader discussion about the situation of rural communities in contemporary Hungary, involving both rural, as well as urban publics.
After being edited, the films will premiere in the farmers' villages in November 2017, as part of community screenings entitled Long Night of Farmers' Films, showing not only the three films made in Hungary, but also a selection of films from farmers across Europe from Schiffers' archive.
The films and paintings will also be shown in Budapest, as part of an exhibition opening in January 2018 at Ludwig Museum - Museum of Contemporary Art, documenting the CAPP - Collaborative Arts Partnership Programme, that "I like being a farmer" is part of. The exhibition will be accompanied by a public program of film screenings and a talk with the artistic team and the collaborating farmers.
I like being a farmer
and I would like to stay one
Antje Schiffers is an internationally acknowledged artist based in Berlin. She is one of the founding members of the collective MyVillages and grew up in Heiligendorf, a village close to Wolfsburg in northern Germany.
A wandering painter, floral illustrator, artist-for-hire – Antje Schiffers betakes in a variety of roles as allotted by her specific tasks and, in turn, makes the everyday reality of life of different social groups to be the topic of her drawings, paintings, videos and texts. Often she organizes her projects on a barter basis, and receives texts, videos or everyday objects in exchange for her own artistic products. Schiffers' projects are also always a form of sociological field research, and they reflect upon the question of the importance as well as the concepts of art in different cultures. http://www.ichbingernebauer.eu, http://www.antjeschiffers.de
Katalin Erdődi is an independent curator based in Vienna and Budapest. She works across disciplines, between contemporary art and performance, with a focus on cross-disciplinary collaboration, politically engaged artistic and curatorial strategies, and art in public space, understood in the broadest sense as social, architectural, and discursive space.
"I like being a farmer and I would like to stay one" is realized in collaboration with Ludwig Museum - Museum of Contemporary Art in Budapest, as part of the Collaborative Arts Partnership Programme funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union and the National Cultural Fund of Hungary, and with the kind support of Erste Foundation and ifa - Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen.