Throughout my third year of my BA (Hons) Fine Art, Critical and Curatorial Practices degree I have been researching into, as well as experiencing, the role of artist as curator. I have reflected on the question of where the line begins and ends between the artist and the curator, as well as the possibility of considering ‘the exhibition’ as a critical medium. During this process, I have read texts such as the first issue of Mousse Magazine’s ‘The Artist as Curator’ by Elena Filpovic and Art Lies’ issue No.59: Death of the Curator and the text ‘Art as Curating- Curating as Art’. I found it quite interesting for there to be conflicting opinions on the role of the artist as curator when comparing both texts. Mousse Magazine’s issue primarily reflects on the importance of an artist who curates, discussing important figures such as Marcel Duchamp and his groundbreaking installations of his works and exhibitions, and the process of displaying the work for the exhibition becoming a material surface for spatial experimentation. Elena Filpovic explores these influential artists such as Duchamp, Richard Hamilton, Yves Klein and Graciela Carnevale, among many others, who have gone unnoticed for the curatorial achievements within the art world. Whereas ‘Art as Curating- Curating as Art’ by Art Lies portrayed a conflicting discussion between Jens Hoffman, a ‘communist curator’ and Julieta Aranda, primarily an artist, whereby they discussed ‘the grey-zone of confusion’ between artists and curator. In this conversation, Hoffmann projects his views against the blurring between the roles, proving that many of the existing curators are reluctant for change within their practice. However, both issues reflect upon the changing of times for the curator and a new age of artists who curate as well as curators whose artist practice consists of ‘the exhibition’.
During the course I have also attended many visiting lecture seminars where I have listened to artist curators such as Christopher Green, Simon Baylis, Cathy Wade and Matthew Stock who discuss the process of curating their own work which I have found to be very interesting as well as helpful when considering my own practice. As well as this, I have attended discussions where curators themselves feel that exhibition making is an art form in its own right such as curator Bridget Crone.
Reflecting on my own personal experience on the roles of artist as curator, I have found that I have learned a lot mainly from producing the artwork for and curating The Future of Plymouth exhibition at Plymouth City Council House. I found that by having a curatorial understanding of the space we would be exhibiting our work in, the creation of the work became quite natural and the display of the work as well as the context suited the space we were given to work with extremely well. When producing the kaleidoscopic wall pieces for the show, I created the images using the space of the Council House which made the works very site-specific pieces. When displaying the pieces we also decided against the use of extra information towards the images, which led to more exploration of the space. As well as this, I feel I have learnt to produce publications and texts to support my work at a more professional standard, as throughout the year I have had a firm role in producing posters, press releases, proposals and websites among many other things in order to support the projects at hand. When producing the website for The Future of Plymouth exhibition, my open call hand in as well as my own personal blog, I have considered a more curatorial approach in doing so, making sure to they are easy to navigate, clean and professional as well as including all appropriate information.
Within my projects I have also experienced producing budgets for exhibition proposals as well as projects that I have partaken in myself. This has allowed me to consider the pricing of my own artwork as well as given me more knowledge towards the costs when producing an exhibition which I have found to be very helpful.
Within my own artist practice, I have also explored a more curatorial element when considering the display of my work in order to allow my viewers of my work to create a connection between the fields of art and science. Through my display I aim to allow space for my viewers to make their own interpretations and opinions of my work, whilst still understanding the connection between my textile pieces and microbiology. For my artist practice, I have explored and compared the spaces of the typical white cube gallery with the museum as well as the laboratory in order to create a connection between the fields of art and science when curating my work.
Although I will be venturing into studying a PGCE in Primary as of September in the aim of becoming a teacher, I feel this does not mean that I will not return or consider the position of a career as an artist curator in future. Throughout the year I have enjoyed the role of taking part in group projects which have allowed me to work with live briefs and work collaboratively with artists such as Lee McDonald and Take a Part as well as my peers. As well as this I have tackled a lot of problem solving within my curatorial projects which I feel has aided me in the installation of my artist practice and will continue to help me in other aspects of my life. To me, the knowledge of curating has offered me an opportunity to understand my work at a larger scale in terms of audience, spacing, installation and marketing my own projects. I feel the artist as curator role offers artists the chance to decide on their own methods of display in order to attain a stronger context rather than relying on an institutional curator who may not be as connected to the artwork. As well as this, when considering someone who is primarily a curator, I feel that ‘the exhibition’ can and should be seen as a medium due to the new and interesting ways in which art is being displayed to date within and outside of the gallery.
Filpovic, E. (2013). When Exhibitions Become Form: On the History of the Artist as Curator.Mousse Magazine, (0).
Aranda, J. (2008). Art as Curating-Curating as art. Art Lies: Death of the Curator, [online] (59). Available at: http://www.e-flux.com/announcements/issue-no-59-death-of-the-curator/ [Accessed 4 Jun. 2014].