TT: But it’s a very collaborative process between artist and curator?
RG: This year is the first time the curators are working on projects from beginning to end. So somebody like Adrienne Edwards, one of our curators, is working with
. She says she has the equivalent of over 90 pages of emails going back and forth—conversations and questions about the nature of the work. So there’s a lot of involvement in the whole curatorial process.
There are two or three things that make us very different from the usual biennial. On one hand, we deal with people working with a lot of different media; on the other hand, we have a continuity to our curators. We don’t change curators every year the way most biennials typically do, so there’s an accumulation of knowledge and expertise over time that the curators develop, working with artists. The third thing is we work with an artist over time, to be able to really keep a conversation going over many years.
TT: And in terms of addressing history, or evoking it through the anchor of the Renaissance, how will this manifest itself, aside from Francesco Vezzoli’s performance?
RG: In a funny way, all this research is an educational program for the organization and for everybody involved, but we don’t ask the artists specifically to respond to that. So they might or might not pick up a particular theme that comes out of that period. But looking back, there seem to be tendencies like working in puppetry, which was something very big in the Renaissance, or people doing more pageantry, or being out on the street. So I would say there are only two or three artists who really followed that thread—like Pauline Curnier Jardin, who looked at her work carefully and thought that she saw aspects that could be associated with Renaissance, like witches, and dealing with ceramicists from the 1500s. So she decided to go full-on into questioning other contemporary artists looking at the Renaissance.