A woman is a woman is a woman…

Donatella Maranta, Schnappis (from the series Ordentliches Porträt einer unordentlichen Familie). Aargauer Kunsthaus, Aarau/Depositum der Sammlung Andreas Züst

I was happy to review the exhibition “Eine Frau ist eine Frau ist eine Frau…” (A woman is a woman is a woman…) at the Aargauer Kunsthaus for the Swiss online magazine Republik. The full article can be read here (in German) – and a short excerpt (in English) is below!

It is because of these, and many other reasons, that the effort of revisitation proposed by “Eine Frau ist eine Frau ist eine Frau…” becomes necessary, mandatory, in the times we are living in. The parallels between the time of these women artists and ours, however, also become painfully clear—and the ways in which they have been erased and forgotten could very well be the way in which a contemporary generation of women artists will be also erased and forgotten, in the future. How to create mechanisms to make sure this doesn’t happen? And how to make sure these kinds of exhibitions are not just a celebratory one-off? These kinds of questions are instrumental in thinking more broadly about the impact and importance of an exhibition of this kind. Alongside the overall effort of celebration through exhibitions, institutions need to conduct a larger work of reflection on the ways they collect, promote and support women artists, or the mechanisms of erasure that have been a constant in the history of art will continue to be replicated. It would be desired, then, that the process of making such an exhibition can result in a change in institutional attitude, and a conscious effort to change the ways in which women artists integrate—or not—national collections, art history and artistic discourse.

An important part of that effort also lies in the written word. After an exhibition, what remains? Beyond an institutional attitude, which can take months and years to manifest in a visible way, catalogs and written records can also make important contributions to writing a history that is invisible and forgotten. In this way, perhaps the most impactful legacy of  “Eine Frau ist eine Frau ist eine Frau…” is the small brochure that serves as an exhibition catalog. Produced in a small format, and easily accessible for 5 CHF, the brochure is written as a compilation of biographies of all the women represented in the exhibition. The text is open in revealing what it knows and what it doesn’t know—for some of the artists, not much information was found in traditional sources. But by making itself available, this small glossary is the start of something bigger. It reveals a willingness to engage in scholarship that has not been done yet, and invites further contributions to such an effort. It is now a stepping stone, a marker and a starting point for all those who may be able to add to it, using it to revise, and to add, to a history of art that is direly incomplete.”

Art Institutions in the Age of Existential Risks. What to Do?

Day 1 of the conference Art Institutions in the Age of Existential Risks. What do Do?

We live in critical times. Whether pandemics, environmental and climate crises, social inequalities, or conflict- and disaster-induced displacement: humanity is heading towards an uncertain future in which it is exposed to existential risks. What essential role could art and culture play in discussing, reshaping and overcoming such crises? The art scene in transition functions as a mirror of social changes such as coming to terms with colonization, sexism, racism, xenophobia, the discrimination of minorities and other socially relevant issues.

I was humbled and honored to be the moderator for this conference at the ZKM Karlsruhe, where we discussed the future of cultural institutions in the moment of collective crisis and transformation we are experiencing today. With speakers Max Hollein, Ille Gebeshuber, Sonia Lawson, Irini Mirena Papadimitriou, Laura Raicovich, Parag Khanna, Peter Weibel, and Siegfried Zielinski, we outlined the diversity of demands and perspectives arising from global risks for cultural institutions. The two days of the conference are embedded in this post.

Day 2 of the conference Art Institutions in the Age of Existential Risks. What do Do?

Driving the Human: Seven Prototypes for Eco-social Renewal

Earlier this year I joined the team of the Driving the Human initiative as the program coordinator. Driving the Human is a catalyst for experimentation, shaping sustainable and collective futures that combine science, technology, and the arts in a transdisciplinary and collaborative approach. Running from 2020-2023, the project is jointly led by four partner institutions – acatech – National Academy of Science and Engineering, Forecast, the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design and ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe – and relies on the expert knowledge and skills of their combined networks.

Throughout 2023, the community of participants, experts, and the larger audience that Driving the Human brings together will explore diverse phenomena such as the social impact of global warming, energy cycles and technology-driven disruptions, the impact of collective decision making, and contemporary processes of exchanging values and objects.

The results of these explorations will be shared and communicated over the project’s three-year duration, and will deploy strategies for action in the form of physical experiences, with a strong individual and collective impact. Ultimately, they will create tools that enable new ways of envisioning and inhabiting the world.

I’m excited to be part of such an ambitious initiative and I invite you to learn more about the project and partners at the Driving the Human website, Instagram and Facebook channels.

Swiss Art Awards 2019: Making, connecting, and kittens

Making and Connecting
My proposal for the Swiss Art Awards 2019. Poster design by Matylda Krzykowski.

It was an honor to be nominated for this year’s Swiss Art Awards in the Mediation category, and to have the opportunity to propose a new curatorial format to be tested out at the event itself. The competition is part of Switzerland’s oldest and most renowned art competition – the Schweizer Kunstwettbewerb (Swiss Art Competition). Organized annually by the Swiss Federal Office for Culture since 1899, the exhibition offers insight into current art and architecture making in Switzerland.

My proposal, Making and Connecting, sought to combat contemporary isolationism and our own biases and bubbles, by putting in place an experimental, relational methodology that aims to build network, explore common and uncommon ground, and share and broadcast knowledge within the Swiss Art Awards (SAA) 2020 community. It uses the SAA nominee group to put in place a variety of possibilities for encounter and exchange, allowing the SAA participants (and the general public that visits the exhibition and events programme) to exchange knowledge, learn from each other, and establish new nodes in a network that wants to migrate from a centralized dream – valid for the 20th century – to a decentralized, relational reality, in synch with the 21st century in which we live today.

Summer exhibitions in Hasselt

Felice Varini’s Trois Ellipses Ouvertes en Désordre, Hasselt, Belgium

A visit to Z33 House for Contemporary Art in the summer prompted two reviews of their exhibitions for the website of Disegno. The first includes my views on the retrospective of the minimal, precise work of Leon Vrancken; the second details the De Unie initiative, which connects the neighboring cities of Hasselt and Genk through a series of public art initiatives.

Art beacon in the Mediterranean

The open-air gallery of Mangiabarche. Photo Beyond Entropy

The March 2013 issue of Domus features my piece on the open-air gallery of Mangiabarche, in Calasetta, Sardinia. This was a truly special place that I was lucky enough to visit late in 2012, which defies the conventional notions of what a gallery space is and can be. This feature also marks the first time I write about contemporary art and politics of territorial occupation. The full piece can be read over at Domusweb, and an excerpt can be found after the jump.

Continue reading Art beacon in the Mediterranean