The Guardian asks why so many artists–musicians as well as visual artists–live outside the UK.
London-born Steve McQueen, who represented Britain at the Venice Biennale this year (and won huge acclaim for his 2008 film Hunger), lives in Amsterdam. Glaswegian artist Douglas Gordon is in Berlin, as are Tacita Dean and Ceal Floyer […] artist Chris Ofili lives in Trinidad, as does the painter Peter Doig. The list goes on. Is this a brain drain?
Turns out the problem is the day-to-day culture of the British Isles, more for the musicians than the painters:
Repeatedly, the artists I spoke to used the same words when talking about their work in Britain – “struggle” and “fight”, as much for acceptance as for a reasonable standard of living. “I can’t bear that an artist has to constantly justify writing a piece,” says Saunders. “I just cannot bear the language used to talk about art in Britain.” For her, this is about the prevailing discourse – the language used in the media, the place (or non-place) the arts have in Britian’s political life. In Germany, arts coverage has a seriousness many feel is rare in the UK. “I didn’t want to stick around convincing people the arts were a good thing,” Ayres says. “I wanted to live in a place where there was more money and approval for what I do – why fight when there are other countries?” Hodges agrees: “I have every respect for artists who stay at home and fight the fight, but I feel lucky that I have something more secure.” Dean says: “In England everything was a struggle. The struggle has gone out of my life.”
Artists in Exile (Guardian)