Curatorial Practices

Assignment 6(a)

Curatorial practice, an evil good

Prepared by: Gitanjali Pyndiah Student no.: 0050030314

Paper submitted as part of final requirement for the program of Master of Arts Management

Submitted: 3 November 2008

Words: 4161

Curatorial practice, an evil good

‘… curatorial practice …an art that operates on the field of art itself …’ Aaron Schuster, critic, 2005

The Mauritian Triennial 2008 has been boycotted by a group of acclaimed contemporary artists for the inability of the National Art Gallery to curate such an event (GroëmeHarmon 2008). Mauritius is a country with almost no contemporary gallery infrastructure. Any form of gallery space has been managed by the artist-curator who produces works but also manages the display of works and other administrative issues (press, publication, invitations) related to the exhibition. It is important to understand the contemporary situation of Mauritian art to comprehend issues related to the confrontation between institutions and artists. Felipe Chaimovich (2006) examines the ‘fundamental opposition’ in contemporary art in Brazil with ‘cultural production ruled by European patterns remaining as the officially accepted practice, described and transmitted as art’ on one side and a commercialized ‘Brazilian contemporary art’ without any critical debate based on international globalised capitalism. In Mauritius, a small group of post-colonial¹ visual artists contest forms of cultural, political and institutional dominance in the arts. On one hand a Eurocentric tradition of conceiving, describing, appreciating and displaying art objects is adopted and accepted as the norm while the other facet of contemporary art in Mauritius investigates newer models of representation.

This paper attempts to demonstrate the importance of introducing curatorial practices in the Visual Arts in a country where debates and confrontations about the nature of contemporary Art, the proper management of the Arts and...