Anna Šútorová studied Arts and Cultural Management in Paris before she became a Freelance Curator. She is Slovakian and has strong ties to their embassy in Paris, as well as to the artists they support. As she is currently curating a final exhibition for the artist Ján Vasilko’s residency, Singulart wanted to find out more about curation and what it looks like at the end of a residency.
Why do you enjoy curating?
Before I started curating full time, I read an article by the Swiss curator Hans Ulrich Obrist, and he mentioned that the writer JG Ballard told him about the idea that a curator is a junction-maker. This really spoke to me since I always experience the urge of connecting the dots, for any sort of project I work on. I think in connections and I want to bring this sort of quality to the exhibitions as well as the artists. They might not necessarily see the same connections in their art as I do. But this sense of connection is not limited to the art itself, it can also be from a social point; I enjoy connecting people with the work of the artist and vice versa. This is both a subjective and objective reason why I like curating, and I enjoy the challenge. With each new exhibition and new artist I have to deep-dive into a different topic which makes me learn a lot every time.
Do you curate exhibitions after a residency different than any other exhibition?
The main difference is that outside of a residency, I would come up with a topic I am interested in and then connect and approach the artists that fit the subject or work with the media I want to showcase. I find the artist that is suitable for the project.
Within a residency context, I get a chance to see the body of work progressing and I am working with art that is produced during the residency. I do not pick specific pieces from an artist’s existing repertoire, but showcase the art they produced during this time. I appreciate working alongside them and I progress with the texts and curation as they produce their art. It is an organic progression.
What does a residency provide for an artist in your opinion? Why are they important?
Often artistic practices are a solitary activity- not for all artists of course, but many tend to work in a sort of isolation. On the one hand, a residency can give artists a different environment to work in that comes with a lot of input and inspiration. On the other hand, residencies often accumulate many artists that work in the same area which can be fruitful. I met a few artists that founded or joined new artistic groups during this time.
Many people sign up for the coveted residencies, so a lot of artists apply for these programs. The institutions then choose the artists who they want to support, thus it is a sort of validation and sign of quality, since the large organizations are well sought after and established in the field. If you look at an artists portfolio and CV to get a sense on how established they are, residencies are the place to look after scanning their solo exhibitions. You can find out how many countries the artist has drawn inspiration from and has been validated in. Of course there are different sizes and levels of fame for residencies, however this applies to the most known ones.
Tell me about your last two artists in residence for whom you curated their final exhibition.
I worked with Nasa Kim Bo. He’s Cambodian and moved to Paris when he was little. He is an entry level artist, which posed a nice challenge for me. I enjoyed curating his work also because he uses sculpture. I curated his pieces as a sort of “Wunderkammer” or cabinet of curiosities; I used a lot of objects he found to complement the sculptures. The 3D quality also makes the art more engaging. With paintings it’s different, since you are sort of relying on the walls to display the art, which provides the viewer with an alternative way of thinking and exploring.
Now I am working with Ján Vasilko, a Slovakian artist, who is currently in the residency program of Cité International des Arts, and was recommended for the program by the “Association of Visual Artists in Slovakia.” He is a part of the generation of artists who became really popular in Slovakia after the Millenium. His work shows abstract and geometric subjects made entirely out of horizontal and vertical lines.
His exhibition can be seen from February 19th until the 21st at Glassbox: 4 Rue Moret, 75011, Paris.
What is the residency they were a part of?
Both artists were or still are in the residency program from the “Cité internationale des Arts.” Artists are getting recommended for these residencies by the institutions who own the different studios. They can nominate the people they would like to support. It is not restricted to painting, but also open to writing, performance art and other art forms.