Italian actor, artist and cultural entrepreneur Giovanni Morassutti and Bangladeshi curator and researcher Sadya Mizan have been collaborating in 2019 in the International project Uronto – an Artist-Led Open Collective in Bangladesh with a residential exchange program. In the following interview, they share its outcomes for international arts management, curatorship, cooperation, and similarities and differences between art practices in the Western and the non-Western world.
Sadya: What is your understanding of the intersection of curation and arts management in the European context?
Giovanni: I have the feeling that curatorship in Europe is becoming more and more an academic field confined to institutional settings. The problem is that the process tends to be very analytical, requiring to apply the knowledge of contemporary art theories, mainly connected to criticism of visual art forms. This can lack a more intuitive interpretation of artworks, which in my opinion would allow a better understanding of the artistic process. I also believe that it is important to integrate the knowledge of different disciplines in the development of creative communication between art and society, as well as it is fundamental to learn how to communicate with the audience. In terms of arts management, I see, especially in Berlin, many people and art collectives inventing and testing new formats. Many project spaces, including my pop-up gallery Art Aia – La Dolce Berlin, are interested in opening up intellectual borders between different cultures by independently managed residency programs and cultural exchanges. The intersection happens when there is an interest in interpreting art production in a wider context.
Sadya: I completely understand the consequences of the academic process focusing too much into art history and feeding art critics while ignoring the need for interactive communication. In Bangladesh, on the other hand, there is only a very poor presence of curatorial practice, no curators in art infrastructures, no curatorial studies in any art institute – matter of fact, we have such few numbers of such institutes at all and all of them with a classical colonized curriculum. Some of the artists with strong passion and dedication are coming in front line action as independent curators or arts managers, mostly learning by doing. I look at this also positively as a kind of freedom but in the long run we do need institutional training, not necessarily in art history but in other related segments. Especially nowadays the freedom of self-taught curatorial positions in Bangladesh is being corrupted by few practitioners to survive in the shrinking pot of opportunities ultimately contaminating the importance of a curator and arts manager.
Read the full interview on Arts Management Network – State of the arts