in Curating, Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK)
On Curating the Unheard
Café Bümpliz with works by Sereina Steinamann & Salomé Bäumlin, Sophie Brunner, Mai 2022 © Sophie Brunner
Dialogue versus Representation
The following paper attempts to adapt a question of postcolonial criticism to curatorial practice by applying Indian philosopher Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak’s question, “Can the Subaltern Speak?” to artists, who are excluded from the art world. Spivak’s concept of epistemic violence is applied to a population group that, while not ethnically distinct from the majority, is excluded from power structures that have historically manifested themselves. In the transfer from the clinical to the art field by Jean Dubuffet in 1949, a simplification and generalization happened with the term art brut that still resonates today. In the mythmaking of the Other through the reception of art, conceptualizations play an important role. The effects of discourse mentioned by Michel Foucault determine the outside and the inside. This non-material infrastructure can be reordered through presentation, reception, and publishing. By means of contemporary projects, the question is examined to what extent curatorial practice can support this process of reorganization in order to include artists in the art world, or to let them speak for themselves, because according to Spivak it is about building infrastructures for those who are cut off from the structures of the state. For these are not positions of outsiders, but different voices from society, and only in the bringing together and juxtaposition of diverse positions a common narrative is formed.