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 earlier 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

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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 with an extensive parallel exhibition and event program in the Netherlands.

Curated by Lucy Cotter. 

Exhibition: 13 May – 26 November 2017. 

Cinema Olanda was a collaborative project by artist Wendelien van Oldenborgh and curator Lucy Cotter for the Dutch Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale, which engaged with the Dutch pavilion as a projection of The Netherlands. Embracing the occasion of the biennale as a national representation, the project raised questions about the Dutch national self-image in an international context. The Venice exhibition presented Van Oldenborgh’s filmic engagement with (actively) forgotten aspects of modern Dutch history, sharing current transformations in Dutch society with an international audience. An extensive parallel program of exhibitions and events at severeal venues in the Netherlands "brought home" related questions to a national audience.




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. 

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. 

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

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

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. 

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.

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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

Curated by Lucy Cotter, Alite Thijsen and Gabrielle Schleipen

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 below for excepts offering insight into workshops held at Diyarbakir and Damascus.)

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

ISBN: 9789077966532 

Here as the Centre of the World participating 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