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The Curator's Perspective: Chus Martínez, Skepticism

Chus Martínez's lecture Belated Aesthetics, Politics, and Animated Matter: Toward a Theory of Artistic Research, addresses knowledge and the principle of skepticism. Unlike ancient skepticism, which was based on the variety of sensible appearances, modern skepticism—at least since Montaigne and Hume—has revolved around the status of relations inside understanding: the need to understand not only what passes through understanding but also what forbids understanding by withdrawing sense. Here a new interest in the non-transparency of language appears, in its incapacity to fulfill the task of expression and communication. And this produces a paradox: the relevance of grasping the reverse of knowledge, and the role played by humor as well as fiction as practitioners of (non)sense. To ask not how knowledge is produced, but what supports the myth of a language capable of expressing this, is one of the possible tasks of a conception of working with art in which genres are inextricably mixed with their opposites, where the strong perlocutionary effect of the “maybe” is ascribed to a strong affect: the need to understand. Recorded on Oct 17, 2012.

Martínez is Chief Curator at El Museo del Barrio. Past positions include dOCUMENTA (13) Head of Department, as well as Associate Curator at MACBA, Barcelona, where she was Chief Curator from 2008 to 2010. Previously, she was Director of the Frankfurter Kunstverein (2005–08) and Artistic Director of Sala Rekalde, Bilbao (2002–05). For the 50th Biennale di Venezia (2005), Martínez curated the National Pavilion of Cyprus, and in 2010 served as a Curatorial Advisor for the 29th Bienal de São Paulo. She lectures regularly and has written numerous catalogue texts and critical essays.


Independent Curators International (ICI)


Independent Curators International (ICI) produces exhibitions, events, publications, and training opportunities for diverse audiences around the world. A catalyst for independent thinking, ICI connects emerging and established curators, artists, and institutions, to forge international networks and generate new forms of collaboration. Working across disciplines and historical precedents, the organization is a hub that provides access to the people, ideas, and practices that are key to current developments in the field, inspiring fresh ways of seeing and contextualizing contemporary art. Headquartered in New York, ICI is a small non-profit with a large purview. Over the last 35 years, ICI has produced 118 traveling exhibitions and profiled the work of more than 3,700 artists, working with 621 museums, university art galleries, and art centers in 48 states and 29 countries worldwide, including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico, New Zealand, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden, and Taiwan. Experienced by nearly 6 million people, the exhibitions and events have attracted extensive local, national, and international press, and are placed in a critical framework through accompanying catalogues and books published by ICI.