Talking about curating with Hanna Tendoornkaat
1 You have curated a number of shows, for other artists and for exhibitions including your works.
yes, I have been curating exhibitions from day one of my career as an artist which now goes back nearly 20 years. Given my training as a sculptor or rather an
installation artist I have always had a spacial vision.
2 What is it you do as a curator?
step one is coming up with an idea, title or theme for an exhibition. The next step is to identify suitable artists and artworks and obviously the most difficult part is always to find a suitable space to exhibit. The most difficult exhibitions are those where works by many artists of varying quality are hung.
3 What is it you like about curating and how did you get into it? Do you see your involvement in curating as a profession, or is it something you do out of a care for art?
Galleries often seem to have no sole and can be almost uninspiring in their whiteness but my spatial vision allows me to see a space transform in my head. Hans-Ulrich Obrist mentions in an article in the Guardian what he thinks curating is: ‘it isn't necessarily about showing good art to its best advantage. It's about making an exhibition that's really good. You can make a good show without having good art in it. That's not to say you can't have both, just that it's possible without both. For me this is a challenge and it is this challenge that I find interesting.Since joining Kaos I have become more and more involved in curating exhibitions
but obviously making my own work is the most important. I don’t see making work dissimilar to the curating as I often see my work as installations rather than simply 2D works on a wall. I think curating is closely related to art making. I read recently that curators are the new artists and most curating courses are currently oversubscribed.
4 Which exhibition that you have curated really sticks in your mind?
I think the one I enjoyed most so far was the ‘Selfies’ exhibition in Cass and I was very proud of all the artists who contributed to it.
5 Our word, curating comes from the Latin word curare, meaning to take care., but its use has changed over thousand of years.The activity now could be seen to include; being a source of specialist expertise, a custodian, a content manager, a cultural programmer, an editor. Which of these do you think applies to what you do?
I think it’s mainly being the selector of new work, the excitement of challenging artists and then seeing what they come up with and how this can then be exhibited. A cultural programmer is possibly another one that might apply to me.
6 Does the curator of a fossil collection have anything in common with a an art or music festival curator?
I don’t think there is or there shouldn’t be much of a difference. The challenge is always to exhibit something in an attempt to get as many people as possible into a gallery space or a museum and this happens by creating an interesting exhibition. No matter what is on display. In our digital age it is becoming more and more difficult to get a younger audience interested in culture. It’s therefore the job of the curator to create an exhibition that presents even the most mundane in an exciting way.
7 Does anything you do as a curator conflict with you as an artist practitioner?
I think I have covered that above already as I feel the two are interlinked. Being a curator involves creativity as much as making art.
8 Hans-Ulrich Obrist also says visiting exhibitions, viewing art work is a amass medium and a ritual. How does that sound to you? Do you see exhibiting and curating shows in that context?
If I understand correctly he means that viewing art work and visiting exhibitions has become a sort of Zeitgeist thing and I agree. I have always been interested in Marshall McLuhan’s philosophy expressed in ‘Understanding the media’. I don’t believe a trip to Tate Modern is just about seeing an exhibition or a particular artist’s work anymore. It is what the cognoscenti do, it’s like going on an excursion or taking the kids to Legoland. Therefore, I think the curating of an exhibition can no
longer just be about showcasing the talent of the artists it has to tie in with other additional events to get people to visit an exhibition such as artist talks or workshops which help to keep it active and interesting and let’s not forget consumption. There is nothing more satisfying than being able to at least take home an artist’s card if the artworks are unaffordable