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Curator as Artist and Artist as Curator: A Comparison of Two Concepts on Examples from Croatian Art

Silva Kalčić orcid id ; Odsjek za povijest umjetnosti, Filozofski fakultet Sveučilišta u Splitu, Split, Hrvatska

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 2.226 Kb

str. 110-131

preuzimanja: 69



This text opens up fundamental questions about the roles of curators and artists in the contemporary art system, from the beginning of its half-century-old history to the present day, as well as the similarities and differences between curatorial and artistic work. It explores curatorial work as institutional critique using the example of Želimir Koščević, a doyen of Croatian art criticism and curator, and artistic practices as a form of “social engineering” using the example of the exhibition by the esteemed artist David Maljković. The first conceptual exhibition, and the first example of conceptual curatorial practice in the local context, was the Exhibition of Women and Men with the subtitle “An Intimate Exhibition,” held in 1969 at the Gallery of the Student Centre in Zagreb. It was conceived as a oneday “didactic” exhibition, the ninth in the gallery’s programme that year. The empty “white cube” of the gallery invited the audience to become the ‘body’ of the exhibition, serving as the carriers of its content. The empty gallery was envisioned as a place for an intimate encounter between “exhibits,” confirming the transmedia nature of contemporary art. The presence of visitors with “no strings attached” was an opportunity for mutual communication and potential continuation of socialising, as they were encouraged by a leaflet they personally received at the entrance to the exhibition space. Curatorial practices in art theory began to be associated with education, or the mediation of knowledge about art, only from the early 2000s, when the so-called “educational turn” started being discussed. Presentation and photo documentation of audience reactions were published in the SC Gallery magazine Novine, which was initiated as a medium for the self-contextualisation of the exhibition institution and as a publication for theoretical principles of conceptual art. Another example of problem conceptualisation of an exhibition and its setup, characteristic of the neo-conceptual artistic approach, is found in the exhibition With the Collection by David Maljković at the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Rijeka in 2020. The exhibition took place as part of the opening programme of the European Capital of Culture in Rijeka in 2020, and the curator of the exhibition was Ivana Meštrov. Maljković, through his solo exhibition, presented a part of the museum collection, emphasising the fact that the institution does not have a permanent exhibition but only a collection archived in storage. His artistic intervention or “gesture” allowed the museum collection to be viewed non- -hierarchically and non-linearly. Museum items from the collection were all placed on the same level, above the standard observer’s line of sight, on a pedestal shelf along a 40-meter-long wall in the newly opened exhibition space interpolated into a former tobacco factory. By eliminating the conventional ways of presenting and interpreting artworks, Maljković exhibited works from the museum collection densely and above the observer’s observation point, genuinely exposing the audience, “the collective rather than the collection.” Curator as an artist or meta-artist and artist as a curator or meta-curator in both examples symbolically intervene in the structures of social relations and the power dynamics between the art institution and its audience. Writing about curatorial practices, marked by the neologism curatography, is widespread globally, but in the context of Croatian art history, it is necessary to comprehensively present, analyse, and contextualise curatorial practice, its conceptual and neo-conceptual discourses, and the changing roles of curators and artists in the art system.

Ključne riječi

meta-artist; meta-curator; interactivity; didactic exhibition; institutional critique; conceptual art; neo-conceptual art; exhibition setup

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