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UAL Research Online

Slow Works – Deceleration as Curatorial Paradigm

Gradin, Emma (2021) Slow Works – Deceleration as Curatorial Paradigm. PhD thesis, University of the Arts London.

Type of Research: Thesis
Creators: Gradin, Emma

Curatorial policies currently favoured by large public institutions rely on sound bite information devised by the curator with the aim of making art accessible to diverse audiences. My own curatorial practice has convinced me that this approach, while justified in its concern for accessibility, tends to speed up and compress the initial encounter with art, shortening the time of ‘not-knowing’, which crucially allows us to appreciate those often contradicting and hard-to-grasp qualities essential to aesthetic experience. In the current political climate of resurgent populism, facilitated by the “echo chamber” effect of social media, reclaiming the gallery as a public space to think – to keep complex ideas in suspension rather than jump to conclusions – is a particularly urgent task.

Original contribution to knowledge: My research challenges the sound bite approach while upholding its concern for accessibility by proposing deceleration as a new paradigm for curation. A ‘decelerated’ exhibition presents visitors not with foregone conclusions based on theoretical argument but with a structured wealth of contextual material informed by artistic practice and process, enabling audiences to cultivate curiosity and engage in self-directed exploration, on their own terms and in their own time. I look at artistic work processes to inform my methods of curating – including the mediation of artworks – rather than cloak them in theory, or explain them in the written or spoken word, which is almost always the case in contemporary curating.

The exhibitions I make are action-based research and the description and reflection of these form the core of my written thesis. It starts with a literature and practice review that is followed by two chapters on key philosophical aspects of curating/art making: learning how to look, and recognising, respecting and protecting the gallery (and studio) as spaces to think. The final two chapters are on two methods I have developed for slowing down the experiencing of art in galleries and slowing down the curatorial process: the ‘information antechamber’ and the ‘expanded’ studio visit.

Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > Chelsea College of Arts
Date: March 2021
Funders: AHRC-techne
Date Deposited: 20 Oct 2023 15:55
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2023 15:55
Item ID: 20675
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/20675

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