Nick de Ville
Director of Postgraduate Research in Visual Arts, Goldsmiths
Nick de Ville is Professor of Visual Arts at Goldsmiths College. He is director of the postgraduate research programme in fine art, he has made a significant contribution to pioneering practice-led theses in the subject. He has supervised eleven practice-led research students to completion, and he is currently supervising a similar number.
The focus of his research is contemporary art, and its relation to the wider culture. He is interested in arguing for the relation of the work of particular artists to emergent thematics, and discourses. In writing about art he has a particular, on-going interest in the value of painting to a field of practice (visual art) which continues to widen in terms of its means of production, and where painting is in many ways a culturally discredited activity, although responsible for generating many of the concepts by which the values of contemporary art practice are still articulated.
Another thematic of his research is concerned with the three-way relation between art practice, 'folk art' and design in an increasingly urban, built environment where design - rather than fine art - is the dominant cultural discourse. Here 'design' designates numerous creative activities - including architectural design - that produce the fabric of everyday life. He argues for a re-evaluation of contemporary folk art, and its self-identifying constituencies, seeing folk art (in counter-distinction to the themes of 'amateur aesthetics' and 'the outsider' - Deller, Kane) as having a more integrated critical relation with institutionally privileged norms of 'good design' and 'high art practices'.