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Student Showcase Archive

Hena Lee

MA work

MA work

  • Whose Game Is It?

    Whose Game Is It?, 2015
    installation view
    Photographer: Dominic Tschudin

  • Untitled

    Untitled, Dan Perjovschi 2015
    paint markers on wall
    variable dimensions | Photographer: Dominic Tschudin

  • Ping-Pong Go Round

    Ping-Pong Go Round, Lee Wen 1994/2015
    mixed media
    500 x 76 cm | Photographer: Dominic Tschudin

  • Tea with Curators

    Tea with Curators, public programme of Whose Game Is It? at Raqs Media Collective's With Respect To Residue 2015
    Photographer: Lam Ho

A New Institutional Direction For São Paulo: The Value Of A Mid-Size Art Institution

In this dissertation, I proposed the formation of a bottom-up mid-size art institution out of a group of existing self-organisations as an alternative for the current institutional scene in São Paulo, Brazil. This alternative institution could be a way to expand the impact of existing self-organisations and increase the role of curators as social and political agents in order to destabilise dominant practices.

Along with curatorial and institutional methods used by proponents of New Institutionalism and directions employed in self-organisations in São Paulo, this new mid-size institution would re-establish curators and artists’ autonomy in order that more critical socio-political content can be produced. It encourages collaboration between artists and curators, breaking with existing hierarchies and merging the roles of artists and curators. Also, it proposes more flexible programmes in order to adapt the institution according to the artists’ needs and be less dependent on artwork collections to produce knowledge. Furthermore, it understands its public sphere as agonistic, using the concept theorised by Chantal Mouffe. According to her, the agonistic public sphere contributes to a proliferation of different voices and offers alternative discourses to neoliberal hegemonic practices. When applied in São Paulo’s institutional context, it helps to disrupt the traditional prescribed top-down approaches used in many large institutions when dealing with the public. It also contributes to an increase of critical discourse that aims at large-scale social transformation in the city. The solutions proposed in this thesis are offered in the belief that art has a special role to play in triggering societal change.



  • MA Degree


    School of Humanities


    MA Curating Contemporary Art, 2015

  • As a curator, I challenge myself to develop ways to question hegemonic thoughts and enable new alternatives to be raised in order to contribute to a proliferation of different voices in society. Because of my cross-cultural background, I am able to understand divergences between various cultures: I grew up in Brazil and have a Korean family and inherited Italian family on my husband’s side. Now based in London, I have learned much about all four societies. It has become a personal motivation to increase cross-cultural communication and promote artistic and cultural diversities as they disrupt power relations and make local voices heard in the global world. I am interested in working in interdisciplinary practices in which the roles of artists, curators and architects are less delimited.

    My academic research interests stems from this goal of making local voices heard. From the understanding of the specificities of a city like São Paulo, my MA dissertation proposed the creation of a new mid-size art institution out of a group of existing self-organisations to expand the impact of autonomous spaces in the city. This research grew out of my interest in rethinking contemporary art institutions and investigating how curators can play an active social and political role in societies.

  • Degrees

  • BA Architecture & Urban Planning, University of São Paulo, 2009; ERASMUS Exchange Programme at Politecnico di Milano, 2007
  • Experience

  • Gallery manager, producer and liaison, Eduardo Fernandes Gallery, São Paulo, 2011–13; Participant artist, Museum of Arts and Design, New York City, 2010–11; Co-founder, Atelier Più Contemporary Jewelley Studio, São Paulo, 2010–11; Architectural assistant, EXYZT and Esterni, Milan, 2010; Architect internship, Marcenaria Baraúna, São Paulo, 2008–09
  • Exhibitions

  • Whose Game Is It?, Royal College of Art, London, 2015; Delve, Acme Project Space, London, 2014; Archaeology Of The Loss, Eduardo Fernandes Gallery, São Paulo, 2013; Two in the Throne’s Room, Eduardo Fernandes Gallery, São Paulo, 2012; Srinagar, Eduardo Fernandes Gallery, São Paulo, 2012; Xenon, Eduardo Fernandes Gallery, São Paulo, 2012
  • Publications

  • Notebook, London: Royal College of Art, 2015