Profiles

When David Korecký dealt with contemporary curating in his book called Medium Curator (VŠUP 2009), in the introduction he tried to explain what made him give a questionnaire to ten Czech female curators and twenty-one male curators, and in which he compared curatorial work to an activity „which interprets the intentions of artists to the professional and lay public“.
However, the term „interpreting“ is in fact a one-way process, based on the translation of information from a language we do not understand into a language we do. But is not the curator´s role more complex since the curator also participates in the exhibition as a whole?

In the following five years the Czech art scene often stimulated discussions searching for an answer why active artists started working as curators because this job is traditionally associated with art historians, art theorists and aesthetics or philosophers… More than ten years later, when Jakub Adamec – an artist active on the music and art scenes in the Czech Republic and Poland – became the curator in the town gallery in Ostrava, it was no longer surprising and moreover, it was already already proven to be a desirable step. Contemporary curating has also undergone changes. From efforts to build distance and protect a balanced reflexive position it has shifted towards empathy, cooperation and attempts to dehierarchize. Naturally, this is not always the case, but Jakub Adamec is a good example of the fruit that this type of curatorial work may bear.

We are hardly going to look for a clear handwriting because the problem which might arise from a lack of distance (especially in Ostrava, where the contemporary art scene is not inexhaustible and some bias would be seen) is bridged by the fragmentation of the gallery´s activities. With each step and each small intervention we may find an element of cooperation between the curator and artist. Self-reflexion has replaced external reflexion, while cooperation and transdisciplinarity have replaced the focus of institutions on presentation of personalities (who were given space even before Jakub Adamec started working in the gallery and we ought to say that the exhibitions there were challenging and of high professional standard).

As Jakub Adamec mentions in his profile, one of the things that led him to this was the fact that Plato Ostrava operated provisionally from the very begining and for the following for five years – until the spectacular centre Gong in Dolní Vítkovice came into existence from a grant project. At present the institution is facing a new challenge regarding the space especially designed for its activities and the question is what kind of curatorial approaches the exhibitions and other projects will require. In the introduction Jakub Adamec says that the so-called myth of the Ostrava art scene is just a fata morgana (and it is appropriate to ask who described it this way – residents of Prague or residents of Brno?) and thus we must emphasize that during those five (eight) years of the existence of the gallery Plato – also thanks to the curatorial approach of Jakub Adamec – the gallery has become a significant regional institution which, due to its scope, far exeeds in all directions the position of a town gallery.

Anežka Bartlová

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