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Photo by Marcella Ruiz Cruz

»Curated By« Interview Series: Daniel Baumann, Kathrin Bentele & Matthew Hanson

October 7, 2019
Text by Pia-Marie Remmers
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Photo by Marcella Ruiz Cruz

The annual gallery festival curated by is again a guest at 22 selected Viennese galleries. For this year’s theme »Circulation« we asked five of the participating curators about their exhibition concepts and their perspective on the city.

Kathrin and Matthew worked together on a screening and lecture series at the Kunsthalle Zürich, where Daniel has been director since 2015. How did it happen that the three of you are now working as a team for an exhibition at Krinzinger Projekte in Vienna?

At the beginning of the year we decided to run an informal programme of events in the Kunsthalle’s basement storage unit, which we used as an ad hoc kino & bar. We started hosting film screenings, lectures and poetry readings. Just as we were preparing a film screening with artists working on the mediated image that dictates conditions of power, cultural representation and discourse, Ursula Krinzinger extended an invitation to present a show at Krinzinger Projekte for »curated by«, which coincidentally had »circulation« as its theme. It was an opportunity to develop the idea as an exhibition.

One of the goals of »curated by« is to make the local scene more visible internationally. What image do you personally have of Vienna and to what extent does the city differ from Zurich?

Between its artist run spaces, art schools, galleries and epic museums, Vienna feels like a city well engaged with art. We learnt more about the literary scene and its political voices when two Vienna based authors, Barbi Marković and Lydia Haider, came to Zürich to read as part of our basement programme, at the invitation of Lucie Pia.

Through the festival, the galleries can also expand their international network. In your opinion, what other sustainable opportunities could such a festival offer?

It is important that young artists and curators from Vienna also have an opportunity to expand their networks and show their work to a larger audience. The opening week of »curated by« (i.e. when curators and artists from abroad are in town) seems like a good time for emerging artists, curators and local project spaces to run events or put on exhibitions; if such initiatives could also be funded, that would help to support them.

The title of this year’s edition of »curated by« is »Circulation«. How did you approach this topic?

We were interested in artists scrutinizing the way images, sound and text circulate through media and how they approach the »neutralization of meaning« at a time when social media encourages the near instantaneous consumption of information. Based on the aforementioned screening, we started with American artists from a generation where new technologies in video and TV made DYI experimentation possible and looked at how their critical and aesthetic strategies, and the conditions they emerged from, have changed over the last 40 years. We had to make a few leaps and shortcuts of course, but the works selected for the exhibition make painfully clear the ongoing racial, sexual and structural biases in the popular images we both consume and reproduce.

All the artists you have chosen come either from the USA or from Great Britain. Is there a connection between the topic of your exhibition and certain circumstances in these countries?

Whatever today’s ultra-bland one size fits all consumer culture is, it originates, in part, from the ruthless cultural exporting that, coupled with violence, both the US and the UK have practiced for centuries. Some of the most incisive critiques of these operations have come from (but are not exclusive to) artists of these countries.

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PW-Magazine is a bilingual online magazine for contemporary culture.