News from RFAOH ex-resident Milena Kosec
A little over a month ago, our ex and honorary resident Milena Kosec sent us an email about her decision to “pension herself off as a contemporary artist”, with a picture of herself in a RFAOH T-shirt, taken during her visit to Kassel – which she “will probably use for (her) last proclamation”. She added, “In Kassel and also in Munster I haven’t seen something new. But my garden is full of surprising harvest. I can’t believe”.
In another line, Milena touchingly hoped that we’re still satisfied with RFAOH as it was very important to her. We have kept this news to ourselves until now, not really knowing what to say or how to feel about it. We know that RFAOH has been all different things to different residents, and with her case, we wondered if it was a kind of epilogue to her art practice/career when she had already sort of been making her way out of the “artworld”, to instead devote her time to her life and organic garden. We feel grateful that Milena found us and for her enthusiastic participation, and even better, that we could meet in person and present together in her local Ljubljana about life and art and hiatus. We also remember having a dialogue that she started thinking about some “projects” for the upcoming year, but not quite ready yet.
Right from the start, “artists and retirement” was one of the topics we were curious about (with a nod to Duchamp’s case) and it’s a topic that becomes more and more pertinent as we get older or go through different life circumstances ourselves. Meanwhile, this is also one amazing thing about RFAOH, that we have had someone like Milena, who has gone through the cycle of an “artist life”, and also like Ramla, who had just graduated from art school only a few years ago, both responding to our project and using the opportunity totally differently. And we as RFAOH community members, are given opportunities to talk about these things openly.
In the last few months, even while we appeared or honestly felt a bit like being “on hiatus” ourselves, inquiries from potential future candidates-on-hiatus have kept coming. This is a reflective time for us to re-think about our own perceptions, and new implications/potential of “non-(art)production” (which now seems to be talked about everywhere) like our residents themselves have done. Milena’s announcement and note meant so many things to us that we needed time to digest it. Thank you Milena for keeping in touch and being communicative about such personal decisions; and to the rest of us, let’s keep the conversation going.