I am engaged with curating both as a curator and as a theorist. Currently I am curator of the Dutch pavilion of the 57th Venice Biennale 2017, collaborating with artist Wendelien van Oldenborgh on a project entitled Cinema Olanda, and working on a book entitled Toward a Minor Curating which proposes new curatorial possibilities. My current work manifest the outcomes of my doctoral research on re-thinking (national) curatorial strategies. 


Saskia Noor van Imhoff, #+05.00, 2012, De Ateliers, 2012 

photography by Gert Jan van Rooij

Cinema Olanda: 

57th Venice Biennale 2017

Untitled squat anti squat still.jpeg

Still from Prologue: Squat/Anti-Squat, two-part film by Wendelien van Oldenborgh, 2016. Courtesy of the artist and Wilfried Lentz, Rotterdam.

An installation by Wendelien van Oldenborgh for the Dutch Pavilion Giardini, Venice Biennale. 

Curated by Lucy Cotter. Commissioned by Mondriaan Fund

Exhibition: 13 May – 26 November 2017. Preview: 10 – 12 May 2017

Cinema Olanda is a collaborative project by artist Wendelien van Oldenborgh and curator Lucy Cotter for the Dutch Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale. Cinema Olanda goes against the current trend of downplaying the biennale as a national representation by engaging with the Dutch pavilion as a projection of The Netherlands. It presents Van Oldenborgh’s filmic engagement with (actively) forgotten aspects of modern Dutch history, sharing current transformations in Dutch society with an international audience. 

Taking its conceptual starting point from Gerrit Rietveld’s pavilion as a Modernist projection of The Netherlands, the exhibition reconsiders what lies beyond its aesthetic and ideological frame, both at the time of its design in 1953 and in the present. On entering the pavilion, the viewer is confronted by a site-specific architectural installation, which both houses and aesthetically resounds with three new ‘films’ by Van Oldenborgh. These works reveal an alternative narrative to the Netherlands’ self-image as a transparent, progressive and tolerant nation, namely its reality today as a complex and rapidly transforming social, cultural and political space. 

The exhibition forms part of Van Oldenborgh and Cotter’s wider Cinema Olanda collaborative project that seeks to contribute towards the development of a new national self-image by bringing art, film and architecture in dynamic relationship with questions of social imagery and agency. This project extends beyond the Dutch pavilion to bring “home” the questions raised by the exhibition to a national audience through an extensive multidisciplinary programme that will take place in the Netherlands in June-August 2017. Creating a platform for groups and individuals who have informed and inspired Cinema Olanda, this programme will consist of presentations of work and live events across a number of Holland’s leading contemporary art institutions including: Witte de With, Rotterdam, Stedelijk Museum, and the EYE film museum in Amsterdam.

Cinema Olanda is organised in partnership with the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA), University of Amsterdam, Society of Arts (AvK), Wilfried Lentz and Nuova Icona, Venice. 

The full press release can be downloaded hereFor further information and images, please contact: 

International press office: SUTTON, London: Melissa Emery: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. /T +44 (0)20 7183 3577

or the  Dutch press office: Mondriaan Fund: Caroline Soons: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. /T +31 (0) 20 523 15 23

Toward a Minor Curating

This book is currently in process (2016-)

Philosophers Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari propose that it is precisely in  "cramped" conditions for cultural production, through the uncomfortable closeness of peoples, histories, and languages that the most innovative and radical creation is possible. Making this proposition in Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature (1986), they focus on literature, taking the examples of the work of German-speaking Czech Jewish writer Franz Kafka.

I am interested in "minor" strategies within the work of contemporary artists; art-practices that are not a simple case of expression in an art discourse in which one "fits", but rather a "tentative maneuver around and within" existing discourses (Nicholas Thoburn 2003). This can bring about an oscillation between formal discursive interests and a reformulation of such areas as identity construction, normative language use and sexual and political performativities.

I conceive of the concept of minor curating – bringing Deleuze and Guattari’s notion of minor literature to bear on curatorial practice. Minor curating reconsiders curatorial practice in terms of the minor, asking how one might “maneuver around and within" existing curatorial forms – such as the monographic exhibition, the national exhibition, biennale representation etc – to produce new curatorial strategies that befit the complex positionality of contemporary art. 

Minor curating also reconsiders contemporary art in terms of the minor, to facilitate a greater curatorial sensitivity to artists whose work is often reductively received in terms of standard existing thinking models around the relationship between art and politics.

This research builds on my doctoral research on rethinking (national) curatorial strategies (2011) in which I proposed the need for new curatorial approaches in today's uneven postcolonial world. 

Katarina Zdjelar Dolf-Henkes-Prijs-2016-in-TENT-photo-Aad-Hoogendoorn-36-713x475

Katarina Zdjelar, installation view, AAA (Mein Herz), 2016, TENT, Rotterdam, 2016. 

Curating, Cultural Capital and Symbolic Power 2011

My doctoral dissertation (2011) from the University of Amsterdam examined how curatorial practices engage in the process of (cultural) value making and investigated how national representation might be used differently in a postcolonial world. The broader aim of this study is to demonstrate the relevance of creating alternative curatorial strategies to enable a redistribution of cultural and symbolic capital and to sketch out possible paths towards their realization. My analysis and propositions draws on Pierre Bourdieu's sociological view of the art world, postcolonial theory and Gilles Deleuze's notion of minor art

This research navigates across the gap of national and international curating, taking as a case study the representation of Irish art in London. It considers the role of national representation and the uses made of identity in a transactional art world. It highlights the points of tension between artists' multiple belongings, the contingency of their self-identifications and the difficulty of breaking out of historical norms of curating to address that complexity.

Exhibitions 2010-2015

In conjunction with my role as director of the Master Artistic Research at the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague, I initiated, organzed and co-developed over 25 exhibitions and several events, collaborating with such venues, as Walden Affairs, Stroom, 1646, Gemak, Quartair, Het Nutshuis, Villa K and Studio Loos in The Hague, De Appel, W139 and Het Veem Theater in Amsterdam, BAK, Utrecht, A-Pass, Brussels, the Royal College of Art, London and the University of Amsterdam. 

Large-scale projects included the conception and realisation of The Ongoing Conversation, a series of fast-paced one day exhibitions and events organized in collaboration with 1646 gallery in The Hague. This series is now in its fourth edition.

See sample media review of The Ongoing Conversation #1, 2014 by Steyn Bergs, published in Metropolis M art journalSee documentation of all editions of The Ongoing Conversation on 1646 exhibition archive - scroll down to view.

A further large-scale project was conceived for the Learning Utopia(s): Potential Futures of the Art School at the Inexactly This edition of Kunstvlaai art festival, Amsterdam, 2012, curated by Natasha Ginwala and Fleur van Muiswinkel. Click here to view 

exhibition concept and ten-day programme.

We were invited as a partner in the organization of several external events, such as for example the exhibition "Three Artists Walk Into A Bar...", curated by the Black Swan curatorial collective at De Appel, Amsterdam. Cllick here for documentation of works by MAR participants

Some exhibitions involved independent guest curators, such as: Un Sentiment Comme Si (2014), curated by Virginie Bobin at Gemak gallery and the Royal Academy of Art, with a special event with guest Dora Garcia at 1646 gallery and Songs of the Southbound of Mouth (2012), curated by Lorenzo Benedetti at the Royal Academy of Art. 


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Performance, Jessica Sligter, There Will Be Wine, Royal Academy of Art gallery, 2013.

Some Exhibitions Are More Equal Than Others 2011

Collaborative work, Some Exhibitions Are More Equal Than Others, Royal Academy of Art gallery, 2011.

Pernille Lonstrups Noise Choir performance at And By The Way This Picture has Great significance because 2011

Noise Choir performance by Pernille Lonstrup, "And this picture has great significance because...", Royal Academy of Art gallery, 2011

 Here as the Centre of the World 2006-08

Here as the Centre of the World_Kunstvlaai_Lucy Cotter

Presentation of Here as the Centre of the World at Kunstvlaai 2008 with interactive archive created by James Beckett.

I was co-curator of a two-year project entitled Here as the Centre of the World that used artistic research to explore the issues of cultural translation in art discourse. It took place in six cities worldwide from 2006 to 2008 – Diyarbakir, Beirut, Damascus, Taipei, Enschede and Khartoum. The project consisted primarily of a series of ten-day workshops in each city, in which one street became the site and subject of collaborative artistic research. Together with partner institutions in each city we organized a series of artists' talks, lectures and round-table discussions to open up related discourses. Artists participated in their city of residence as well as at least one other city. The workshops were an invitation for artists and art workers to de-centre their practices; both to engage with a new centre and to look differently at their usual artistic context. The project was initiated by the Dutch Art Institute and involved over 65 artists worldwide. The outcomes of the project were presented in exhibitions and informal presentations at Diyarbakir Arts Centre, NIASD Damascus, Kunstvlaai art festival, Amsterdam, Villa de Bank, Enschede, the University of Taiwan and in outdoor public spaces in Beirut and Khartoum. The project was also documented in a book. (See right for excepts offering insight into workshops held at Diyarbakir and Damascus.)

 See also: Here as the Centre of the World (Archis, 2009)

ISBN: 9789077966532 




Debra Solomon World Banquet for Here as the Centre of the World 2006

World Banquet by artist Debra Solomon, closing event of Here as the Centre of the World conference.

Here as the Centre of the World particpating artists: Machteld Aardse, Nisren Abasher, Abubakr Abd Elgadir Mohamed Elsayed, Askin Adan, Bassam Al Khouri, Seçkin Aydin, Tammam Azzam, Bani Bannwart, Paula Bugni, Sjanet Bijker, Daniëlle Davidson, Myzgin Deniz, Nikos Doulos, Kevin Drager, Maciej Duchowski, Julien Grossmann, Rana Hamadeh, Abdelmoniem Abdallah Hamza, Liu Han-Chi, Omima Hasab El Rasoul, Chao Hsin-Yi, Jolanda Jansen, Jae-Min Kim, Anna Korteweg, Kristiina Koskentola, Dagmar Kriegesmann, Ruth Linneman, Bechara Malkoun, Reine Mahfouz, Astrid Marit, Chris Meighan, Carlijn Mens, Duha Mustafa Mohamed, Rofaida Nour Aldyn, Adamantia Nika, Liu Pei-Wen, Bassel Al Saady, Hrair Sarkissian, Tatia Skhirtladze, Chong Shun-Da, Baris Seyîtvan, Kamila Szejnoch, Huang Ta-Kuei, Tao Mei-Yu, Iris Tenkink, Raed Yassin, Yen Yitzu, Pavlina Verouki and Emily Williams. 


Here as the Centre of the World book excerpts: 


Lucy Cotter, “Diyarbakir: Culture in Conflict,” in Here as the Centre of the World, eds. Gabriëlle Schleijpen, Lucy Cotter and Alite Thijsen, Archis, NL, 2009


Lucy Cotter, “Damascus: A City in Transition” in Here as the Centre of the World, eds. Gabriëlle Schleijpen, Lucy Cotter and Alite Thijsen, Archis, NL, 2009