Marco Valtierra at PILOTENKUECHE, photo by Emma Arrivati

Marco Valtierra: Conversations in Motion

Curator Marco Valtierra draws connection through observation and dissemination. In conversation with PKRD 52’s emerging curator, I discover his perspective on the importance of dialogue between curator and artist. Alongside this, he maps out how this role in dismantling rigid and repetitive systems, and I learn why experimentation is a critical approach in Marco’s work.

Infinite conversations

To curate is to take care. The word comes from the Latin curare, avere cura, meaning ‘cure, take care’. In speaking with curator Marco Valtierra, he emphasises the importance of communication between curator and artist. Marco cites a philosophy of curating explored by Swiss curator Hans Ulrich Obrist,  which imprints artist-curator relationships as Infinite Conversations. Marco believes it is vital to prioritise the communication he has with the artists he works with. Each supports the other.

In Guadalajara, Mexico,  Marco found that building community is what was most necessary and fulfilling. In view of this, he focused on building a space with another curator. The space aims to foster community for artists and the public to come together and connect through art. The Lab Curatorial Archipiélago is designed to be open to emerging artists and is a cultural space made for the local community. Through this curator-run gallery, Marco contributes to opening space for conversations that are not burdened by the limitations of large institutional structures. Marco evokes how these smaller spaces can initiate dynamic, intimate, and unexpected connections.

Reshaping systems of knowledge through experience

In A Line Which Forms a Volume, 2018; Aadhya Baranwal talks about The Ontology of Things. In the text they present us with the concept of ontology:

Ontology exists in schools with taxonomy of knowledge into subjects, in animals according to DNA, in dictionaries according to alphabets and now in commerce, according to the uses of things. Even though there is no correct way to find a common focus, it provides a background and reduces chaos for those who can practice it.

photos by PILOTENKUECHE or supplied by Marco Valtierra

Baranwal critiques this later, noting how its attempts of categorization are futile. Through its failures, it transgresses this perceived chaos that was originally supposed to be simplified. This idea of ‘reducing chaos’ eludes complex understanding, forcing unmalleable system to categorise our world rejects the possibility of more. 

In light of these knowledge systems, Marco describes his understanding of curating. Talking with his hands, he explains how there are boxes of different categories of knowledge, such as scientific, intuitive, historical etc. He sees the role of curator to be a catalyst for these boxes to open and spill into one another. He enters projects knowing there is always the unconsidered possibility that he can reposition with the artist/s.

Marco’s Process of Experimentation

Marco is energised by the process of curating, the conversations that spark and the experimental approach he can embrace. He also acknowledges the importance of being critical, reflecting on the many ways things can come together and come apart. To be a curator you are constantly around people, material, surroundings and ideas that are evolving. Marco talks to me about how the curator as a figure has to change and have a desire to experiment. As culture moves, this role too must reshape.

In reference to the work of the curatorial philosophers that he researched, Marco notes how ‘at some point the curator has to disappear’. His statement surprised me. Upon reflection, I see that it is parallel to what he expressed was important about being a curator; flexibility and adaption. Marco sees his curatorial work as if creating a montage. There are layers, infinite creative arrangements and space for experimentation. 

Written by Kat Lafferty

Keep up to date with Marco’s work on his Instagram. As this round’s emerging curator, his work can be seen in our upcoming exhibitions.

Deeply Pelusa Life

Sat 20 Aug 7PM

Performance 8PM

Mon  22 – Thur 25 Aug

Alte Handelsschule
Giesserstr 75

Dreamy Cube Curve

Sat 17 Sept 7PM

Performance 8PM
I am where you are

18, 20, 21 Sept

Franz-Flemming-Str 9