The spatial act of curation: how the intersectional spatial relationship between place and artwork unlocks meaning
Mathews, Pieter J.
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The aim of this dissertation is to investigate how meaning is unlocked through the intersectional relationship between space and artwork. By the use of specific curatorial techniques, an architect’s understanding of architectural principles can assist in the act of curation in order to reveal meaning. The study is practice-based, and through an autoethnographic approach I will determine how meaning was revealed by retrospectively exploring case studies of my own work. These case studies are my personal previous curatorial experimentations and exhibitions which will be explored with the benefit of hindsight. For the purpose of this study, art is considered to include sculpture, murals and totems, and space is open ended, questioning the understanding that art belongs in a gallery. By means of precedent studies, I investigate artists, curators, art historians and critics who have shifted the paradigm of curation or exhibition-making. These include Harald Szeemann, Hans-Ulrich Obrist, Julia Peyton-Jones, Marcel Broodthaers and Gordon Froud. The case studies will be examined by means of three curatorial approaches: 1. Performative curation: performative curation is an active, hands-on curatorial approach without a preconceived idea of the end result. An example of performative curation discussed in this dissertation is the Saadjies travelling collection, comprised of over 100 small sculptures, that was exhibited at five unconventional and diverse locations as well as “photobombed” across the world. 2. Independent commissioning curation: independent commissioning refers to a curation method where the curator commissions an artist to create an artwork with a specific site in mind. To illustrate independent commissioning curation, I discuss Rabbid by Guy du Toit as part of the A Re Yeng sculpture project for Tshwane Rapid Transit (Pty) Ltd (TRT). 3. Convener as facilitator for curation: a convener or facilitating curator establishes a platform or vehicle for others to independently interact with various spaces in order to implement their interventions. The Cool Capital initiative will be explored. Cool Capital is the world’s first citizen-driven guerrilla biennale centred in the City of Tshwane that boasts more than 1000 participants. Cool Capital as a whole, as well as individual projects executed during this biennale, will be discussed. The culmination of this study was a practical curation experiment within an unconventional space. By utilising various curatorial approaches, a unique exhibition was curated. Neither artwork, nor space is as successful in creating meaning as curation of the intersection between the two.