Hans-Jürgen Hafner

Curatorial statement

Taking charge of each new exhibition as an authorially determined ‘medium’ and at the same time tailoring it as a specific ‘format’ in terms of its proposition and form to the respective social, economic and not least the institutional conditions, or indeed developing an exhibition concept on the basis of such conditions, is what I would regard as the underlying motivation of my curatorial practice. In other words, for me it is a matter of creating exhibitions – also in the sense of involving manual skills – and putting the exhibition itself up for discussion as something produced in particular historical and contextual circumstances – an approach that distances itself from the skills, privileges and standards associated with the relatively new professional field of the curator.

In my parallel activities as a writer and art critic I try to situate exhibition-making in the contentious space between theory and practice, between aesthetic production and its art-critical or art-historical reflection. An important aspect of this – above all in my current position as the director of an art institution that operates as a Kunstverein [art association] – is to consider the special status of cultural practice as being simultaneously its concrete political potential, all the more so as art is currently undergoing a radical and problematic transformation due to the growing influence of market forces and mediatization, and we are called upon to reflect and engage with this development.

Hans-Jürgen Hafner
Hans-Jürgen Hafner
Director | Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen | Düsseldorf

Culture and knowledge production
Cultural theory
Contemporary art
Digital culture

Hans-Jürgen Hafner