an ode to slow curating
All summer, I've been making research on how to make a house a home. I've been living with my fiancé for a little more than a year, and do to the apartment market, we decided it would be easier for me to live in his apartment, something I always swore I would never do. The cohabitation is going well and the place looks like we are both living in it, but I could feel my soul truly inhabiting the space.
Fast forward to this Fall, when a terrible accident forced me to really slow down and stay home. I had to stay away from any type of screen and couldn't do more than being one with myself. This period made me realize how doing nothing doesn't necessarily means resting. Where do I find my rest? How do I relax?
The time I spent on my own had me thinking about why I do what I do, where do my interests lie and why I like what I like. It is important to take the time for those questions, because, I think they can lead us to leading a better life, the life we really want, the life we jot down on post-its when enough is enough.
Why do I like art, then? Why do I curate it? Why is it so crucial to my life? Art is beautiful. It makes life more beautiful. No matter who encounters it, sees something that moves them in a certain way. No art makes everyone feel the same. I curate because I want to create a beautiful, moving narrative. Even if the curatorial statement is one that is political, or that tries to go beyond any artistic form, my aim is to create an organic ensemble, which beauty will move the viewer in one way or another. I curate because I think the changing nature of art appreciation gives it a soul. I really think there is a soul in a well-curated exhibition.
Moving Still / Still Moving, curated by Anaïs Castro, reflects on the organic nature, not of curating, but life itself. Nothing is static. Even when your eyes don't see movement or change, such as in Kurt Stallaert's Old Couple (always till the end) there is something happening. I look at my garden everyday waiting for produce to grow. But in the meantime, butterflies, flowers, colourful weeds are subtly working to orchestrate a final ensemble that is breathtaking, but so simple. At the end of the summer, the final tableau of a garden is more than green; light pinks, dark yellows and deep purple paint the grass. Similar change could be found in Capucine Vanderbrouck's Salpêtre (2015) the chemical transformation of the salt’s crystallization slowly changes the colour of the work. The installation fades to eventually disappear, just as a garden, with the seasons.
My interest in curating is therefore intrinsically related to the way I live. Although not so obvious, there is a connection between my love for picking wildflowers and the artworks I want to work with. There's a link between the slower approach of how I live my life, and being moved by Annie Pootoogook's Coleman Stove with Robin Hood Flour and Tenderflake being honoured by the various gestures made by the Wood Land School throughout the year. Their fourth and final gesture Kahatenhstánion tsi na’tetiatere ne Iotohrkó:wa tánon Iotohrha carries inheritance forward, and uses art, as well as the space to imagine an otherwise - ways of being that are different from now. Pootoogook's drawing is in a way, the earth from which the works selected are growing from, the root from which works work emerge with all their meaning.
These exhibitions have a slow approach in their thinking process, and the ideas they put forth. I encourage every BIPOC to take some time, and it can be a small amount (because god knows how we may not have the luxury of time due to multiple types of oppression that life regularly throws at us), to take one slow moment. It could be by cooking, smoking, reading, watching something that will take the edge off, running, having a drink or creating art. Whatever you can do that makes you really feel in the moment.