The latest in our series on top curators from around the world takes us to Berlin, Germany where the art scene is alive and well and often on the cutting edge. With the ninth Berlin Biennale on the horizon this summer, now is a great time to take a look at the movers and shakers in the curatorial world of this German cultural hub. Berlin is truly a global city, bringing together artists and curators from every corner of the world. Curatorial visions run the gambit from socio-political to the personal vs. the found/impersonal. If a city’s art can be in part defined by those curating within its boundaries, Berlin is a cultural giant. (A note regarding the curators for the 2017 biennale — DIS is a New York-based curatorial quartet and therefore not credited in this post, but if you would like more information about who they are you can find it here.)
Don’t be fooled, despite his Berlin “base” Samman is curating shows around the globe. After receiving his education in London, Samman began a career that has spanned across Europe and beyond. He has curated shows in Marrakech, Los Angeles, and Vienna to name just a few. In Moscow he served as curator for the fifth biennale during which he called upon his expertise in post-Soviet art.
Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung
This Cameroon-born curator holds degrees in food biotechnology as well as medical biotechnology. He works in the field while maintaining his curatorial practice. His shows attempt to examine the non-material aspects of art. Past themes have included the biochemistry of amnesia in so-called Settled Nomads. He is curator at large for Documenta 14 which opened in Athens, Greece on April 8.
The Belgian curator’s career has led her from Brussels, where she was gallery director at Jan Mot as well as a member of the curatorial collective Komplot, to the world at large. Ballet has worked extensively with Anselm Frank on the long term project “After Year Zero: Geographies of Collaboration Since 1945.” In Lithuania, she curated the exhibition “The Morality Reflex” for Contemporary Art Centre in Vilnius.
Elisa R. Linn & Lennart Wolff
Together, Linn & Wolff form the curatorial team KM Temporaer. Their aim is to explore “the potential of thematic group exhibitions through ever changing formats.” For each project they curate, they invite a third party to participate and travel to a new space. These variables become ways in which to inform the work they curate.
Working largely in the curation of film and performance, Gritz has curated extensively for South London Gallery. Her recent show, “Duh? Art & Stupidity” which she co-curated with Paul Clinton examined stupidity as an influence in the creation of art as it relates to identity. Gritz has a hand in multiple curatorial projects as well as writing for art publications including Mousse and frieze d/e.
Originally from Ankara, Turkey, Durmusoglu is currently based in both Berlin and Istanbul. She was a contributor to Documenta 13 and the recipient of a RAVE Scholarship to work with the Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations in 2010. She has worked for ifa Gallery in Stuttgart, as well as ifa Gallery in Berlin, Kasa Galeri in Istanbul, and The Hague among others.
In 2016, this curator took over as director for KW Institute for Contemporary art in Berlin. In 2009, he co-founded Kunstverein in Amsterdam before taking on the role of director at Grazer Kunstverein in Austria. The Dutch curator has said, “I am drawn to questions around representation, intentionality, and authenticity that form the base for talking about poignant personal, social, and political matters.” In 2015 he curated an exhibition of the works of Robert Blanchon and David Wojnarowicz. Gruijthuijsen is interested in the socio-political implications of artistic work and the ability of art to approach topics in this realm with directness.
Originally from Finland, Piippo’s work examines the abstract, personal and impersonal, and found images. His work has been described as being “driven by playful escapism” both as artist and curator. Piippo studied fine arts in both Helsinki and Berlin. He has curated along with Lukas Gothman, Roland Persson, and Anna Tuori among others. Piippo has worked across Germany, Finland, and Sweden and is widely considered one of the top young curators in Europe today.
In addition to her role as Artistic Director for the M.A. program at NOVIA University of Applied Sciences in Finland, Ekroth is an independent curator working across Europe as well as a board member for Roda Sten in Gothenburg, Sweden. In 2015 she curated for the Off Biennial in Cairo, Egypt. Ekroth is also a writer who has published frequently in magazines such as Frieze, Flash Art, and Contemporary. As a curator she aims to “initiate a change of mindset of the viewer.”