As a museum curator I work within the context of an institution that has a specific and valuable history of exhibiting and collecting art, which therefore has a positively selective impact upon my own activities within that institution. At the same time, however, the historical context itself provides the impetus to constantly reassess and challenge existing boundaries and traditions. This involves formulating a specific ‘contemporaneity’, exploring the possibilities of art beyond the boundaries of its established system and undertaking a kind of ‘species protection’ against a background of economic interests.
Working as a freelance curator allows me to develop exhibition projects that do not immediately have to adhere to an existing institutional profile and can therefore locate or define their own site. Conveying my own curiosity and astonishment about things I have observed by addressing fundamental (and not purely subjective) questions in the form of an exhibition – whereby it is essential not to drown out but to reinforce the artistic proposal(s) – is the guiding principle of my work.
In my view, an exhibition of contemporary art should not document a completed process but should illustrate a moment within the curatorial exploration of a particular artistic position or an artistic approach to a specific issue. Every exhibition should be like the very first one. This requires a willingness to work closely with artists, often over long periods of time, and also means giving them the possibility to produce new works.
As a curator and writer I am also a contemporary witness and a communicator, with a particularly strong interest in extending the realms of discursive and aesthetic reception. Other projects I am involved in are aimed at developing international exchange while incorporating regional contributions, creating spaces for reflection, enabling aesthetic experience for a diverse audience, developing unusual forms of presentation and presenting historical connections alongside individual achievements.
Sabine Schmidt (2008 – 2011)