Three Questions to Fatos Ustek

We ask three questions to art curator, Fatos Ustek, in the third part of our interview series with creative individuals. Fatos shares her inspirations and aims prior to the launch of London art exhibition series, fig-2.

Three Questions to Fatos Ustek

London-based independent curator and writer Fatos Ustek has just returned from South Korea where she was the Associate Curator for the 10th Gwangju Biennale. She's also the editor of Unexpected Encounters Situations of Contemporary Art and Architecture since 2000 (Turkish Only, 2012; English Only upcoming).

(Jane Alexander, Symposium, 2014. 10th Gwangju Biennale Installation View. Courtesy of the artist. Photography by Stefan Altenburger.)
 
Now Fatos is back in London as Art Fund Curator at fig-2 which will present 50 exhibitions in 50 weeks. It’s a revival of the ground-breaking project fig-1 curated by Mark Francis, which swept the capital 15 years ago.
 
The experimental event aims for as much spontaneity as possible with each project likely to be programmed a few weeks in advance. They will only be announced on the previous Wednesday via the fig-2 website as well as newsletters.
 
The weekly Monday opening reception will herald a mixture of established and emerging artists. They also feature a group drawn from contemporary art, architecture, design, fashion, film, literature and performance.
 
We caught up with Fatos Ustek prior to the launch of fig-2 on 5 January 2015 at the ICA Studio to find out more about this auspicious art curator. As part of our Three Questions to... series we talked on work, life and inspirations.

(Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, M.2062 (Fitzcarraldo), 2014. 10th Gwangju Biennale Installation View. Courtesy of the artist. Photography by Stefan Altenburger.)
 
How would you define the role of the curator and your curatorial practice?
 
Curating and curatorial are two different notions related to the politics of display. Curating spans the domain of bringing together, forming a gathering of art works in a certain narrative. Whereas, curatorial is distinguished by the positioning of the exploration of dynamics of production which always produces knowledge.
 
In other words, curatorial practice is not only composed of domains of displaying and exhibiting. It does not function only as an agency of visibility of art production. It is a position in the acknowledgement of doing and making.
 
Thus, curator does not only place art works in the exhibition rooms but catalyses the encounters through framing ‘what to come’, and ‘what to take place’.
 
Can you tell us about your plans regarding fig-2?
 
The format of fig-2 utilises change as a constant. fig-2's structure of 50 successive exhibitions realised on a weekly basis operates as a catalyst to manifest the aesthetic and critical currency of our times.
 
Through a mode of knowledge accumulation, the body of fig-2's multiplicity of experiences and encounters provide a fertile ground for productive discourse. Moreover, a reflection upon artistic input whilst emphasising a trans-disciplinary attitude and deep audience engagement.
 
fig-2 is intended as a sequence with varying density and content. This provides engagement that either interrogates more deeply or elucidates a relationship to the other concepts with equal complexity.
 
fig-2 will accumulate a multiplicity of experiences and encounters in its body through providing production ground for discourse. Likewise, a reflection ground for artistic input with a trans-disciplinary attitude and emphasis on engaging a wide range of audience.
 
It will position the art object as an object of encounter, as opposed to an object of recognition. The year will cultivate uncertainty and conscious incompleteness through each and every project that is driven by the radical imagination of artists, writers, dancers, architects and designers.
 
What would you say are the three most important things in life and how would you like that to be realised in your work?
 
It has been significant for me to initiate and realise my own projects, perhaps that's why I've kept my independent profile for over a decade. Thus my answer would be: self-realisation, curiosity and enthusiasm.
 
I would feel privileged to be remembered for the new breath of interest that I have introduced to the domain of arts, through engaging a trans-disciplinary practice that manifests itself in the form of exhibitions and books.
 
Read an in-depth look at the development of fig-2 at The Guardian.
 
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