Andrzej Szczerski: Curating and the importance of artwork


World of Art | School for Curatorial Practices and Critical Writing | Year 14

Series of public lectures on curatorial and institutional practice
Reflections and shifts in curatorial, critical and artistic practices

Thursday, 12. 4. 2012, at 8 pm
SCCA Project room, Metelkova 6, Ljubljana

Curating is often seen as a service to art and society, trying to close the gap between artists and the public. Hence curators are obliged to translate artworks into coherent message, relevant for the current social and political life. This attitude can lead towards simplification of the exhibitions which might become subject to current intellectual fashions, commonly perceived as important to society. The most popular outcome of such attitude is the emphasis on the political aspect of the artworks, especially if art is seen as performing crucial role in transition from totalitarian past into democratic future. In contrast, I would like to look at exhibitions as a mode of expression which is composed of the artworks and governed by their specific character. Hence the exhibitions can be made in reference to art historical notions such as ‘form’, ‘symbol’ or ‘iconography’. The very appearance of the artworks can be seen as the key to compose exhibitions, which can be understood only in their autonomous character. In such exhibitions curatorial experience, although not loosing its critical importance, allows the viewer to engage into a dialogue with the exhibited artworks, rather than become a passive recipient of the exhibition message.

The lecture will be illustrated with examples of two exhibitions: Modernizations 1918–1939. The Future Perfect in Museum of Art in Łódź (2010) which I curated and The Power of Fantasy. Modern and Contemporary Art from Poland in BOZAR Brussels (2011), co-curated by me.

The lecture will be in english.


Andrzej SzczerskiAndrzej Szczerski

Professor at the Institute of Art History, Jagiellonian University in Kraków, director of postgraduate curatorial studies. He was visiting lecturer at the Goethe University in Frankfurt (2003) and St. Andrews University (2004). His books include Patterns of Identity. The Reception of British Art in Central Europe c. 1900 (Kraków, 2002) and Modernizations. Art and Architecture in the new states of Central Eastern Europe 1918–1939 (Łódź 2010). He co-edited The Mousetrap Book. On dealing with art institutions in contemporary curatorial practice (Gdańsk – Frankfurt 2007). He curated the Modernizations 1918–1939. The Future Perfect exhibition in Museum Sztuki (Museum of Art) in Łódź in 2010 and co-curated The Power of Fantasy. Modern and Contemporary Art from Poland exhibition in Palais des Beaux-Arts BOZAR in Brussels in 2011. He is current President of Polish Section of AICA.

Lecture is supported by contribution of European Lifelong Learning Programme (partnership Leonardo da Vinci).

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