Wednesday, 13 May 2009


The curator is the connection between the work of art and the world outside. This is exactly why the curatorial process is never innocent. It is always an interpretation of the work of art; without interpretation there can be no such thing as good curating. This does, of course, not imply that all interpretational activity is already done by the curator: in an ideal world, an exhibition is determined to such a degree that an aesthetic experience (in the case of modern art almost exclusively an interpretational activity) becomes possible. This is the democratic way in which art – and art only – can make things visible and negotiable.
On the other hand: in the twenty-first century, an orientation towards the world is always clearly an adress to the market. The curator knows best how to make art merchantable – and nowadays, since curatorial practices are almost as competitive as artistic practices – how to make himself merchantable.
One of the absences in the subsidized project Temporary City is the absence of the market. Who wants to buy one of the works on show will not be forbidden to do so. But everybody knows that the desire to be sold can only be responded to with the help of common, if not unconscious activities.
The rupture that the autonomy of Temporary City entails, is a rupture with the market and the art institutions. The greatest difficulty that the art works on show need to confront, is the difficulty of speaking to an audience without using the classical language of the art market. This is a balance of the highest importance: on the one hand, to inform the audience (with the danger of irreversibly labeling the exhibition as an ‘interessant and sympathetic experiment’) – and on the other hand to let it be moved as it has been moved since the commissioning of contemporary art (with the danger of offering only conceptual quicksand). In this way, Temporary City is not unlike any other exhibition, as it can be compared to the famous ladder of Wittgenstein: use it to climb up to the artistic experience, and then let it drop at the highest point. (cvg)

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