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The Dutch Art Assembly – How do we want to be curated?

As part of the Netherlands-Russia year 2013 the Mondriaan Fund is organizing The Dutch Art Assembly, a side program of the Moscow Biennale 2013. The program – titled How do we want to be curated? – comprises panel discussions, presentations, screenings and performances involving institutions and art professionals from the Netherlands and Russia. The Dutch Art Assembly program is curated by the Russian curator Elena Sorokina, and will take place from 11 to 17 September within the Dutch pavilion, a structure designed by Jasper Niens and Thijs Ewalts. Location: Art Play, Moscow

How do we want to be curated?
The role of curator, the strategies of curating, exhibition canons or divers modes of experiment in exhibition making – these issues are radically shifting today. Different histories of curating are being researched and curatorial projects revisit historic examples or remake canonical shows. These efforts of constructing the canon curiously co-exist with the necessity of challenging the canon.

Taking place in Moscow, The Dutch Art Assembly brings together Dutch, Russian, and international practitioners, facilitating local-to-local comparisons and exchange. In the Netherlands, a number of established institutions have been reshaping the curatorial, amongst others creating a public debate on curatorial strategies working with diverse audiences. Over the last few years the situation in Russia has also changed significantly. A number of major protagonists of the art scene closed down or redirected their activities. New centers for contemporary art have stepped in, regional players have emerged, and big local museums are developing programs for contemporary art. These developments have turned the curator into one of the most important and at the same time problematic figures within the Russian cultural context.

The speakers at the Assembly – artists, curators and intellectuals – bring together theoretical reflection on curatorial practice today and present case studies of relevant projects and strategies of visionary institutions. What kind of professional curatorial ethics should be promoted, and what do artists expect from curators? Is the curator a ‘specialist of things’ or a specialized event organizer? And, to rephrase the famous dictum by Beuys, do we live in times when everybody can be a curator?

Program The Dutch Art Assembly

Wednesday 11 September 2013
Curating Histories
The dichotomy museum-versus-biennial is no longer valid. From the 1990’s onwards, biennials all over the world offered alternatives for artistic strategies ignored by museums. Today however the situation is more complex. Some biennials developed their own conservatisms and institutionalized, while a number of museums succeeded in incorporating new and diverse modes of art practices and audience participation. This panel will address these developments, that are shifting the relationship between history rewriting, the traditional contemporary art museum and the current production.

Moderators: Valentin Diaconov (art critic Kommersant, Moscow), Elena Sorokina (independent curator)

Introductory notes by Birgit Donker (director Mondriaan Fund, The Netherlands) and Elena Sorokina (independent curator, France)

Keynote presentation
Hedwig Fijen (director Manifesta, The Netherlands)

Presentation: Communicating with curators
Alina Saprykina (director Moscow Museum)

Artists as Historians: the Art of Running in Circles
Conversation between Guido van der Werve (artist, The Netherlands) and Xander Karskens (curator, de Hallen, The Netherlands)

17.15 – 18.15
Discussion with Hedwig Fijen (director Manifesta, Amsterdam), Catherine de Zegher (curator Moscow Biennale), Marina Loshak (director Pushkin Museum, Moscow), Teresa Mavica (art-director Victoria Foundation, Moscow), Elena Sorokina (independent curator).

Screening work by Guido van der Werve


Monday 16 September 2013
Curator or Convener?
Many declare the traditional understanding of ‘curator’ obsolete. The contemporary curator is expected to be anthropologist, sociologist, interventionist, facilitator and performer, to name just a few. In lieu of a conventional curatorial model, institutions choose various role-descriptions, for example ‘convener’. A convener is supposed to establish an assembly of artists, cultural producers and other intellectuals to address possible futures rather than simply summarize or diagnose present conditions. The curator can become an ‘eventer’ for large scale projects directly engaging with the public. In thеsе series of presentations, different curatorial role models and exhibition formats will be discussed and related to the ever-expanding institutional expectations.

Moderators: Gleb Napreenko (Art Chronika Magazin), Andrey Parshikov (curator / art critic, Moscow)

Keynote presentation: The New International: Generative Curatorial Practice
Kate Fowle (chief curator Garage, Moscow)

Former West, a Proposition
Maria Hlavajova (director BAK, Utrecht, The Netherlands)

16.00 – 17.00
Panel Discussion 1
Ekaterina Degot (curator, Moscow), Kate Fowle (chief curator Garage, Moscow), Maria Hlavajova (director BAK, Utrecht), Jonas Staal (artist, The Netherlands).

17.30 – 18.30
Panel Discussion 2
Jelle Bouwhuis (director SMBA, Amsterdam), Ekaterina Chuchalina (curator Victoria Foundation) and Huib Haye van der Werf (partner / curator TAAK, Amsterdam).

Performance by Anna Abalikhina


Tuesday 17 September 2013
Curating Knowledge
The curatorial is considered a realm for reflection and production of alternative, critical and independent knowledge. The exhibition is supposed to stage, mediate and share this knowledge – with peers and general public-, ideally revitalizing the ways in which this knowledge is represented. This specific aspect of the exhibition as site of knowledge and the related exhibition strategies, is addressed in this panel.
The speakers will present a range of curatorial practices and scholarly insights through projects (some under development), incorporating alternative knowledge to geo-specific traditional thinking, such as colonial narratives, recent yet unwritten histories, or successive modernities.

Moderators: Anna Tolstova (art critic Kommersant, Moscow), Elena Yaichnikova (independent curator)

Keynote presentation Pluriversal knowledge, decolonial aesthesis and museum
Madina Tlostanova (RANEPA (Russian Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, Moscow).

15.30 – 16.30
Panel Discussion 1
Mark Nash (leading a research project at Calvert 22 London on ‘Socialist Friendship’), Koyo Kouoh (director Raw Material Company, Dakar, Senegal), and Yulia Aksenova (curator Garage, Moscow)

16.45 – 17.45
Panel Discussion 2
Charles Esche (director Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven / curator Sao Paulo Biennale 2014), Dmitry Vilensky (artist, founding member of Chto Delat, St. Petersburg) and Andrey Erofeev (curator, Moscow).

18.00 – 18.30 
Panel Discussion 3
Ann Demeester (director de Appel Arts Centre, Amsterdam) and Kasper König (curator Manifesta St. Petersburg)

Screening of the Film Perestroika by Chto Delat

Speakers subject to change