Curation Principles

The following article is reflecting on our curating principles. Far from being god-like, curating is a very human affair; but the curator must not look at the person, but at the art. Or does he?

The roman goddess iustitia was depicted blind, saying that justice shall not see the person. Much, but surely not enough has been said about the connection of ethics and aesthetics.

So what is it that the judgment of a curator should look at?

While some of our friends are artists, and some of our artists become our friends, personal liking can not be the basis for our decisions when it comes to art; simply because it is about art, not about stuff people who we like produce.

Nevertheless, we do of course look at the personality of the artist, asking questions as: how serious does the respective artist take his or her work? Is the artist himself discerning when it comes to his own works, does he work to a standard, is he trying to raise these standards? Is he tied in with other agents? How will long-term development of this artist be, and how will our relation to him evolve?

And then of course, we also look at the quality of the works, on two aspects. First, the material component: is it a work of lasting quality, finished, signed, ready to be released, ready to be sold? Secondly, the immaterial component: and this is when the aesthetic judgment comes in, something highly subjective, nevertheless based on experience.

Curating is the art of presenting a piece of art in a context. A work will be of aesthetic interest for us if it can be meaningful in the assembly of other pieces of art: those in the same show, those in the same gallery at different shows, and those in other galleries in the same town, country, decade, or century. Presenting a piece of art is adding to the discourse that is art. A curator must have his own voice in this context, just as every artist, and every single piece of art has.

Janmaat - NO:ID Queen (detail)