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Curatorial Lecture
Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev

Notes towards dOCUMENTA (13)

PAST - Monday, October 26, 2009, 6:30 to 8 pm

Rm 102 Lasserre Building, 6333 Memorial Road, UBC

Click here for directions

The Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery is pleased to present “Notes towards documenta (13)”, a talk by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev as part of the Curatorial Lecture Series.

This talk will focus on the nature and meaning of documenta, its history and future. In the early 1950s, documenta was conceived as a direct response to the Third Reich’s policies towards ‘degenerate art’; at the time, in Germany, only an art which celebrated the regime was allowed, while all avant-gardes were banned. Over the years, documenta later came to signify, in the context of Western Europe, a space in which full freedom of expression could be achieved. More recently, it has been a platform for a critique of Euro-Centrism. In contrast to other periodic international exhibitions that have emerged from the world fair models of the 19th century, documenta is therefore characterized by a strong theoretical grounding and a sense of the urgency of art in society.

documenta (13) is being developed from an archeological perspective, according to which every cultural project that moves forward must be grounded in a backward gaze, in an ecological relationship to the past. How was the present imagined in the second half of the 20th century and what was considered urgent at each successive edition of the exhibition?

A curator and writer, Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev (b. Ridgewood, NJ, 1957) is the Artistic Director of documenta (13), 2012. She has been Chief Curator at Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea since 2002, and is Interim Director for 2009. The author of publications including “Arte Povera” (London: Phaidon Press, 1999), she was Senior Curator at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center / a MoMA affiliate, New York, from 1999 to 2001. Her curated exhibitions include On taking a normal situation and retranslating it into overlapping and multiple readings of conditions past and present, Antwerp (1993), The Moderns, Rivoli-Turin (2003) and Faces in the Crowd, London and Turin (2004). She co-curated the first edition of the Turin Triennale (2005) and in 2007-08 she was Artistic Director of the 16th Biennale of Sydney – Revolutions – Forms That Turn (2008), a constellation of works exploring the impulse to revolt and the forms embedded in the etymology of the word ‘revolution’, as well as the relation and the gap between revolutionary art and an ‘art for the revolution’.

The Curatorial Lecture Series presents lectures on contemporary curatorial practice. The series is organized by the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery in collaboration with the Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory, the Museum of Anthropology, and the Department of Anthropology, with support from the Audain Endowment for Curatorial Studies, and the Faculty of Arts at The University of British Columbia.

For further information please contact: Jana Tyner at,
tel: (604) 822-1389, or fax: (604) 822-6689