Shadow curating
: a critical portfolio

  • Nuno Sacramento

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    "Muitos, como dizia Artaud, referindo-se oos cr?ticos, "gostariam que a nossa aprendizagem fosse feita entre quarto paredes, fechada no laborat?rios", mas nos fazemos cena aberta, cara a cara com o publico. ""Many, as Artsud used to say, referring to the critics, "would like our learning to take place within four walls, enclosed in laboratories", but we rather do it openly, face to face with the public" (Itaqui, 2005)"Fields are greener in their description than in their actual greenness. Flowers, if described with phrases that define them in the air of the imagination, will have colours with a durability not found in cellular life. " (Zenith, 2001)This thesis proposes Critical Portfolio as a new format for methodological exchange between curators of contemporary visual arts. The research took place between the years of 2001 and 2006 and was based on the curotion of exhibitions with strong visible idiosyncratic approaches to selection and display (these becoming the research questions). It wasfollowed by the documentation and critical reflection of their associated methodologiesand final outputs, and resulted in a Critical Portfolio with clear links threaded between thevarious sections. The research is an enquiry into the nature of process and impacts upon themethodological visibility of emerging fields of curatorial practice and research.This charting of curatorial activity is divided in two parts:Projects included (with relation to the research questions) and projects excluded (with no clear relation to the research questions).Part 1- The projects included (4th year Expo, B-Sides - The Sculpure Show, Art Cup and A-Tipis) have token place in various European institutions and propose specific approaches to selection and display.Part 2- Projects excluded (Ver?o, Her?is e ViI es, Gran Pacman etc) do not show a clear relation to methods of selection and display. Each individual project in Part 1 is organized according to a common structure consisting of Project Image, Exhibition Pro-Forma, Concept Development, Portfolio Images,Correspondence between Curator and Artists, and Process Documentation. This structure, which takes a different configuration in each of the projects, allows for a clear and objective search for specific elements and contributes to new possibilities for comparison. The relation between the projects and the curatorial methods of selection and displaydenote critical preoccupations which become synthesized in the Curatorial Programms. This thesis identifies a "gap" in the structure of curatorial handbooks and proposes an approach that will not only close it, but bring more depth to an arising discussion around curatorial methodologies. Imagining this Critical Portfolio turns into a chapter of a curatorial handbook (synthesis of a curator's practice), the handbook is thus turned into a library/archive hosting each individual curator's documented methodology (Capital Culturalas repository of multiple curatorial practices is described in the Conclusion.
    Date of Award2006
    Original languageEnglish
    SponsorsFundo Social Europeu & Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia
    SupervisorNigel Johnson (Supervisor)


    • Curators
    • Curating techniques

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