Marie Artaker


What is Curatorial Research?
On Defining and Undefining… Between and Beyond Theory and Practice

  • Editor(s): Marie Artaker
  • Publisher: self-published
  • Year: 2020
  • Size: 21 × 15.5 cm
  • Number of pages: 128

Master Thesis
/ecm – educating, curating, managing
MA in exhibition theory and practice
at the University of Applied Arts Vienna
May 2020
Supervised by Nora Sternfeld

Curatorial research is an elusive concept that inherently resists being defined, in order to continuously remain a contested and active part of discourse. This thesis explores the manifold definitions of “the curatorial,” as well as the opportunities curatorial research holds within the realm of questioning historical narratives and challenging public conceptions through concepts withdrawing from certainty, methods of broad-based participation, as well as long-term research projects as an answer to restless, event-based cultural production.

From the vantage point of the exhibition as a tool of research, turning the exhibition into a site for carrying out research, the thesis reflects on curating and the curatorial as a space beyond the tension between theory and practice, and emphasises additional juxtapositions at play, such as the tension between theory and “intuition,” “astra and monstra,” “the inexhaustible and unfathomable,” the immaterial and material, the specific and the overview. My findings suggest a detachment of an understanding of theory as the sole mediator between curator and exhibition; exhibition and audience, and encourage a curatorial process driven by the ineffable that forms new relations of knowledge.

Studio photography by Anna Zimmermann

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