It is easy to assume that artists are unemployable. They are often perceived to be temperamental, self-obsessed, counter-positioned and independent. What makes a lot of artists of my generation successful is their professionalism and their ability to express opinions. These two elements make many artists eminently employable, and given the right situation, able to make valuable contributions to a collaborative process.
To be called a collaboration, the artist must contribute to the design process rather than particular designated areas of a building or landscape project. This may leave artists with little at the end of a project to identify as their own. Loss of authorship can be frustrating, but there is much potential for an artist's opinion to count and for them to have a direct input into the design process.
To work collaboratively with an architect is also to work with a building. Artists are required to respond to architectural spaces every time they install their work. There is also the prioritised dialogue with the notion of context. Collaborating with an architect means a far more profound level of response to a building. The prominence of architecture is daunting but there is also a degree of performance to any building. Architecture is animated by people - in real time.
A collaboration should be more than making an intervention into space, it should be a consideration of the space itself and the effect an artist and architect together can have on it.
Tania Kovats collaborated with Levitt Bernstein at the Ikon Gallery, Birmingham (aj 30.4.98) and is now working with Alford Hall Monaghan Morris at Great Notley Primary School, Essex