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Show RCA 2019

Claudia Contu

Show RCA work

Major project:

Re: Over everything which exists under the sky

Re: Over everything which exists under the sky is a collaborative and interdisciplinary project taking place at Gasworks, London, from October 2018 to May 2019. A group of international curating students from the Royal College of Art has initiated the first curatorial residency at Gasworks to run alongside the institution’s long-established international artist residency programme. Over an eight-month period, the curators-in-residence are transforming Gasworks’ Participation Space into a temporary research studio, questioning what it means to be a resident in both the art world and the wider geopolitical context of restricted mobility. Current discourses around human mobility are being explored through the lens of the non-human and the extra-terrestrial:

What are the links between human movement and that of extra-terrestrial objects, such as stars, planets, and satellites?

Does the ‘uprooting’ and ‘re-grounding’ of plants directly speak to the construction of identity in relation to displacement?

What is the relationship between horizontal and vertical forms of colonisation?

The research that has been collaboratively gathered over the duration of the project will culminate in an Open Studio between 23–26 May 2019, mirroring the concept of the Open Studio at the end of each artist residency at Gasworks. Engaging with artists, botanists, astrologers, writers, and a constellation of other constituents, the project proposes new ways of encountering both human and non-human journeys. The title Re: Over everything which exists under the sky quotes Belinda Zhawi’s Dear Whinchat, a poem that touches upon themes of displacement and belonging from the perspective of a migrating bird.


  • Whilst studying at the Royal College of Art, I stepped away from curating traditional exhibitions and focused my research on process-driven artistic and curatorial practices. My graduate project in partnership with Gasworks, Re: Over everything which exists under the sky, was a great opportunity to test the potentialities and pitfalls of developing a project whilst avoiding the conventional separation between the 'research' and 'outcome' phases within the work of curators and artists. In doing so, I worked closely with six other curators, seven artists and a number of other contributors who shaped the project over an eight-month period of time, opening up our research process to both digital and real-life audiences.

    My current research strives to bring barriers down by inviting audiences together with artists as co-authors and creators of new discourses, following the example of artists and institutions such as Cooking Sections, Theaster Gates, the Bergen Assembly and The Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art. I see the curator as a mercurial player disclosing resources and favouring research to be open-ended, widespread and grounded in bodily experiences. This is to disconnect audiences from art's most tangible form - the "artwork" - and encourage a direct relationship between artists and the public.

  • Previous degrees

  • MA Economics and Management of Museums and Exhibition Events, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Milan, 2017; BA Management of Cultural Events and Enterprises, University of Florence, 2015
  • Experiences

  • Invigilator, London Design Biennale, London, 2018; Contributing editor, That's Contemporary, Milan, 2017; Content manager, BeART ltd., Milan-London, 2017; Gallery assistant, The Flat – Massimo Carasi, Milan, 2016–17
  • Exhibitions

  • 'Re: Over everything which exists under the sky', Gasworks, London, 2019; 'My Instagram take over', Online Residency Programme @contu.claudia, 2018; 'I shot Mercury to make this exhibition', Nir Altman Galerie, Munich, 2018; 'Buena Onda', mARTadero, Cochabamba, 2017; 'Isn't it because we cultivate the fogs?', Yellow, Varese, 2017; 'Matter Matters', The Flat – Massimo Carasi, Milan, 2017; 'Passengers', The Flat – Massimo Carasi, Milan, 2017; 'They shine in darkness', Ateliermultimedia Gallery, Vienna, 2017; 'Sincronie', Visconti Castle of Legnano, Legano, 2016
  • Conferences

  • 'The curatorial 'in' the institution', Making Cultural Space: a Collaborative Symposium, Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, 2018; 'Mom and Pop Art. Arrivals and drifts within the art system', SPAZI, Fabbrica del Vapore, Milan, 2018
  • Sponsors

  • Omni Colour; Vauxhall One
  • Collaborators

  • Linnéa Bake, MA CCA; Yalda Bidshahri, MA CCA; YiXuan Chang, MA CCA; Xinhao Cheng; Victoria Gyuleva, MA CCA; Helena Hunter; Mati Jhurry; Jing Jin, MA CCA; Romy Kiessling; Marissa Malik; Niccolò Moronato; Lika Tarkhan-Mouravi, MA CCA; Fatima Uzdenova; Belinda Zhawi
Royal College of Art