LECTURE| Marjolijn Dijkman and Paul O’Neill




Swimming Pool in collaboration with Sofia City Art Gallery is delighted to invite you to a double lecture by Marjolijn Dijkman and Paul O’Neill. This event is part of the Public Program of the Curatorial School, which Swimming Pool organizes this year.

Paul O’Neill: Тhe Exhibition as a form of Attentiveness and Escape

Through this performative lecture, Paul O’Neill will reflect upon his curatorial practice, collective exhibition-making and the public as a constructed readymade. Taking his recent exhibition project We are the Center for Curatorial Studies, Hessel Museum, 2016-17 as its starting point, this lecture reflects upon curatorial studies and extends a conception of the curatorial to account for multiple sites of contact, assemblages and gathering of diverse bodies and subjects as well as their discursive connections. In doing so, it opens up a concept of the formation of the ‘exhibition’ itself as a potential mode of research action in its own process of becoming.

O’Neill will further explore how different points of contact are made possible when exhibiting becomes a form of escape for the artwork as much as for the viewer. Here, O’Neill identifies escape as a key concept for the curatorial which defines itself as an act of release – from something, somewhere, someone – accompanied by the wish to be transformed. Escape implicates language itself as being complicit with our need to be able to, at least, imagine ourselves elsewhere. How can a language of exhibitions, therefore enable us to think attentively about escape as a curatorial form of ‘exhibiting’?

Marjolijn Dijkman: Interdependency, an introduction to practice and Enough Room for Space

Marjolijn Dijkman will reflect on the role of interdependency in her own practice and the art initiative Enough Room for Space.

Dijkman is concerned with human systems and structures that aim to intervene, control, and ultimately master our surrounding environment. Interested in integrating concepts and methodologies specific to a broad range of disciplines, Dijkman’s work has engaged with topics including urbanism, ecology, anthropology, museology and futurology. The artist’s expansive approach attests to her ability to see the linkages between seemingly unrelated subjects: ‘In general I think I’m more interested and inspired by culture and its relation to different fields (e.g. scientific, social or political), often outside the art world.’

This view is articulated in the ethos behind Enough Room for Space (ERforS), an independent arts initiative founded by Dijkman and artist Maarten Vanden Eynde in 2005, which focuses on generating experimental research projects and exhibitions. Intended to counter the limitations often associated with institutional space, ERforS is primarily focused on blurring disciplinary boundaries – ‘artistic, scientific or activist’.


The main interest of the  Curatorial School in its first year, launched at Swimming Pool in 2018,  lies on the potentials of independent curatorial activity towards creating spaces. Our public program aims at exploring agency of project spaces, and how such initiatives can move society. We also reflect on their irregularity (which consists in a low level of institutionalization, shared economy, as well as DIY culture) and how this allows for new types of institutionalization that correspond to how our environment is structured today. We will also pay attention to resonance and how to create spaces for joint thinking and imagining.

The public lectures by renown curators, writers and educators Marjolijn Dijkman and Paul O’Neill aim at discussing conceptual models, practical challenges and political potentials of project spaces.

Marjolijn Dijkman (b. 1978, The Netherlands) is an artist and co-founder of Enough Room for Space and is based in Brussels. Her interdisciplinary works can be seen as a form of science-fiction; partly based on research based facts but brought into the realm of fiction, abstraction and speculation. Informed by research and collaborations my working method interweaves and investigates collective narratives in relation to the public domain and the commons, broadly construed. Exhibitions include solo shows at Muchmuseum (w/Toril Johannessen), Oslo, NO (2018), fig.-2 at the ICA, London, UK (2015), IKON Gallery, Birmingham UK (2011), the Berkeley Art Museum, Berkeley, US (2010), and international group shows such as the 21st Biennale of Sydney (2018); the 11th Shanghai Biennial (2016) and the 8th Sharjah Biennial (2007). Enough Room for Space (ERforS) is an interdependent art initiative that initiates and coordinates long term collective research projects. ERforS acts as freely as possible, always putting the context and the idea before the medium, challenging the barriers between different disciplines (artistic, scientific or activist). Current project are: Triangular Trade (2017 – ongoing); Uncertainty Scenarios (2015 – ongoing) and Performing Objects (2014 – ongoing).

Dr. Paul O’Neill is an Irish curator, artist, writer and educator based in Helsinki and New York. He is the Artistic Director of PUBLICS; a curatorial agency and new art space in Helsinki. Between 2013-17, he was Director of the Graduate Program at the Center for Curatorial Studies (CCS), Bard College. Paul is widely regarded as one of the foremost research-oriented curators, and leading scholar of curatorial practice, public art and exhibition histories. Paul has held numerous curatorial and research positions over the last twenty years and he has taught on many curatorial and visual arts programs in Europe and the UK. Paul has co-curated more than sixty curatorial projects across the world including most recently: We are the (Epi)center, P! Gallery, New York (2016), and the muti-faceted We are the Center for Curatorial Studies for the Hessel Museum, Bard College (2016-17), and most recently he was also one of the main organisers of the major international Symposium: Curating After the Global, LUMA Foundation, Arles 2017.

Paul’s writing has been published in many books, catalogues, journals and magazines and he is a regular contributor to Art Monthly. He is editor of the curatorial anthology, Curating Subjects (2007), and co-editor of Curating and the Educational Turn (2010), and Curating Research (2014) both with Mick Wilson, and co-published by de Appel and Open Editions (Amsterdam and London); Locating the Producers: Durational Approaches to Public Art (Amsterdam, Valiz, 2011), co-edited with Claire Doherty and author of the critically acclaimed book The Culture of Curating and the Curating of Culture(s), (Cambridge, MASS., The MIT Press, 2012). His most recent anthologies, The Curatorial Conundrum…, and How Institutions Think are co-edited with Lucy Steeds and Mick Wilson and published with the MIT Press in 2016 and 2017 respectively. He is currently working on the co-authored Durational Aesthetics: Time and Contemporary Art (London, Bloombury Press, 2018).

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