Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art

Talk by Paul O’Neill “Exhibitions as Curatorial Readymade forms of Escape”
Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art

Through this performative lecture, Paul O’Neill will reflect upon his curatorial practice, collective exhibition-making and the public as a constructed readymade.

Taking his recent exhibition project We are the Center for Curatorial Studies, Hessel Museum, 2016-17 as its starting point, this lecture reflects upon curatorial studies and extends a conception of the curatorial to account for multiple sites of contact, assemblages and gathering of diverse bodies and subjects as well as their discursive connections. In doing so, it opens up a concept of the formation of the ‘exhibition’ itself as a potential mode of research action in its own process of becoming. O’Neill will further explore how different points of contact are made possible when exhibiting becomes a form of escape for the artwork as much as for the viewer. Here, O’Neill identifies escape as a key concept for the curatorial which defines itself as an act of release – from something, somewhere, someone – accompanied by the wish to be transformed. Escape implicates language itself as being complicit with our need to be able to, at least, imagine ourselves elsewhere. How can a language of exhibitions, therefore enable us to think attentively about escape as a curatorial form?

Paul O’Neill is an Irish curator, artist, writer and educator. He is the Artistic Director of PUBLICS, formerly known as Checkpoint Helsinki. Between 2013–17, he was Director of the Graduate Program at the Center for Curatorial Studies (CCS), Bard College. Paul is widely regarded as one of the foremost research-oriented curators, and leading scholar of curatorial practice, public art and exhibition histories. Paul has held numerous curatorial and research positions over the last twenty years and he has taught on many curatorial and visual arts programs in Europe and the UK. Paul has co-curated more than sixty curatorial projects across the world; most recently the symposium Curating After the Global, LUMA Foundation, Arles 2017. He was visiting tutor on the de Appel Curatorial Program, Amsterdam from 2005–17, and has previously held lecturing positions on the MFA in Curating, Goldsmiths, University of London and Visual Culture, Middlesex University amongst many others.

Paul’s writing has been published in many books, catalogues, journals and magazines. He is is co-editor of Afterall’s Exhibition Histories Series and number of other publications about curatorial studies. He is currently working on the co-authored Durational Aesthetics: Time and Contemporary Art (London, Bloombury Press, 2018).

The LCCA Evening School is a series of conversations, talks, discussions and reading workshops devoted to current issues of contemporary art as well as exploration of the recent past, including the role of social, political and ideological contexts in culture. It takes place in the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art, Alberta iela 13, and its events are free of charge.

The project is supported by the State Culture Capital Foundation.

Image: Eduardo Padhila, William McKeown, James Hoff, Falke Pisano. View from the exhibiton We are the Center for Curatorial Studies, Hessel Museum, Bard College, 2016.
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