For me, curatorial practice is about making artistic positions visible in as incisive a way as possible. I consider an exhibition and its underlying curatorial concept to have been successful if the distinctive formal qualities, conceptual scope, historical conditionality and associative dimensions of the art on display are clearly and strikingly discernible.
For the viewer, the artwork or artistic position on show has priority over the curatorial concept – although this fact is often lost sight of in today’s art business. An artist does not require the curator to be a second artist – that leads to a competitive situation which weakens rather than strengthens the end result. In the context of a museum, curatorial work is about presenting and communicating artistic positions to a wider audience. In one case this may mean showing a work simply as it is, in the most erratic and uncompromising manner, while in another it may involve establishing connections with the aid of other artworks, thematic frameworks, texts or supplementary information. When writing a text or essay, I consider it extremely important to include readers by employing comprehensible language rather than excluding them from the discourse through the use of elitist terminology.
What interests me personally about an artwork is first and foremost its accessibility to sensual perception, the necessity and specific qualities of the chosen medium and the artistic form. Even conceptual artworks require a form that not only allows me, the viewer, to grasp the concept with my senses but also provides specific experiences – otherwise I could simply read a book. For me, sensual perception is a particularly important aspect as it elicits direct emotions and triggers a pre-conceptual, physical mode of perception that is less controllable and manipulable and may therefore enable us to have a more immediate and intense experience.
(Reinhard Spieler, 2011)