The curator is primarily a mediator between artists and viewers. One could – to put it very simply – define the interests of the parties involved by saying that the artist is in pursuit of innovation and establishing his/her position in the art business, that the viewer is looking for additional insight and entertainment, while the curator is concerned with discursivity and public resonance.
Based on this mixed context, over the last few years I have evolved themed exhibitions that combine key social issues with current developments in artistic production.
“Plug-In. Unity and Mobility” (2001), for instance, referred to the most recent tendency in art to re-examine modular systems from the 1960s in terms of their utopian potential. This development went hand in hand with a social orientation that turned away from the comprehensively redemptive utopian visions of the twentieth century, yet was nonetheless interested in identifying and further extending their positive aspects along pragmatic lines. By contrast, the exhibition “At Your Own Risk" (2003) about danger-fuelled installations in contemporary art was concerned with the abdication by large sections of society from political and individual responsibility and how instead this is progressively delegated to proxy organizations. The exhibited works of art sought to create situations or spheres of action in which visitors had to appraise risks and make decisions on their own responsibility. Finally, “Personal Affairs” (2006/2007) inquired into the surprising renaissance of the issue of intimacy in present-day art, precisely at a time when the individual’s retreat into the private sphere has assumed pandemic proportions.
My exhibition projects voice a plea to involve art in the context of overriding issues in a fruitful dialogue with society by abandoning the safe distance of historical categories.
Markus Heinzelmann (2007)