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Yuval Etgar

MA work

Fragments of a Rainy Season: On the notion of kinship in curatorial practice

This dissertation attempts to look at curatorial practice as a form of linguistic function. It examines the tension between private expressions of creative language and collective codes of interpretation. The theoretical vocabulary applied for the sake of its arguments is drawn from the writings of Walter Benjamin.

The introductory chapter introduces the term kinship in relation to exhibition making. In the present context I define kinship as a particular relation that resides between different artworks and their contextual environments; a form of similarity that is based on the way different artworks communicate messages, without necessarily considering their external appearance, materiality, style, or common subject matter. The first chapter examines the traditional manner in which postcards are used as creative visual tools for sending messages and compares their function to curatorial practice. I suggest that despite their seemingly intimate character, postcards are in fact platforms for communicating collective messages that do not belong to one person or another but rather to a community of people who chose to identify with them. As a study case I look at the distribution of postcards during the unification of Germany in 1871. The second chapter examines the way in which certain artists use postcards in order to challenge collective visual codes. The two study cases in this chapter (Zoe Leonard's You See I am Here After All, 2008, and John Stezaker's The Trial, 1978) show two different ways of looking at collective images, icons, and memories, in order to suggest a way of transforming them into creative individual messages. This chapter also expands the discussion to include other sources of found footage besides postcards.

If the first chapter looks at creating collective imagery through experiences of individuality, and the second at retracing individual expression within collective imagery, the third chapter applies the conclusions of the previous two in order to examine the curatorial difficulty that results from the position of the curator in relation to these seemingly opposed ends. I present this tension by analyzing André Malraux's project The Imaginary Museum which already dealt with this question to a large extent in the first half of the twentieth century. The conclusive chapter of the essay proposes the notion of kinship as both a theoretical and practical curatorial tool to engage with the above-mentioned tension.

Info

  • Yuval Etgar
  • MA Degree

    School

    School of Humanities

    Programme

    MA Curating Contemporary Art, 2014

  • I am interested in the idea of fragments – seemingly foreign entities that nevertheless relate to each other in different ways. In my current research at the RCA and in my recent curatorial projects I have been looking at collage, montage, appropriation of found materials or images, and exhibition making, as forms of artistic practices that manifest this notion of fragmentation. I strongly believe that curating is a valuable tool for artistic research and I therefore aim to balance my theoretical research with my curatorial aims.

  • Degrees

  • BA History and Philosophy, Tel Aviv University, Israel, 2011
  • Experience

  • Teaching assistant, Philosophy Department, Tel Aviv University, Israel, 2011–12 ; Assistant director, Sommer Contemporary Art gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel, 2010–12; Research assistant, Museum on the Seam, Jerusalem, Israel, 2009–10 ; Archivist, Film and Television department, Tel Aviv University, Israel, 2008–9
  • Exhibitions

  • ... all silent but for the buzzing ..., Royal College of Art Galleries, London, 2014; Veiling and Unveiling, INGA Gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel, 2013; Bodies Without Organs, Hackney Picturehouse, London, 2013; Veronique Doisneau, Sommer Contemporary Art gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel, 2012
  • Conferences

  • 'Group Curating, (How) does it work?', Fine Arts Academy, Prague, 2014; 'Calling for Translation', Tel Aviv University, Israel, 2011