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Jan Van Woensel

Expert visit in Stockholm 10–14 April 2019

Jan Van Woensel is curator, art critic and academic researcher. He is curator of international projects at the Faculty of Design & Art of the University of West Bohemia in Plzeň, Czech Republic. He runs the exhibition programmes of Galerie Ladislava Sutnara and Inkubator. At the University of West Bohemia, he designed and leads the Gallery Practice class. The course explores alternative methods of exhibition-making, para-curatorial events and stimulates critical thinking. Gallery Practice promotes a hands-on, inclusive and project-based approach in which art historical and philosophical references are a constant undercurrent.

From the start of his career in 2003 Jan Van Woensel’s curated projects come with certain affection for Harald Szeemann’s ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’ exhibition design and Nicolas Bourriaud’s relational aesthetics-inspired concept of ‘the exhibition as stage’. Van Woensel’s exhibition concepts are driven by his labyrinthically structured thoughts that investigate the boundaries of art and the exhibition as a meta-artwork. The curator often challenges his own practice and he approaches each project as a situational problem of confrontation of space, artwork, meaning, order, body and language that needs to be solved. His recent project “The Calling” (runs simultaneously in Jan Dhaese Gallery, Ghent, Belgium; and Galerie Ladislava Sutnara, Plzeň, Czech Republic, in March & April 2019) applied Vito Acconci’s spatial poetry as a curatorial methodology combined with Ludwig Wittgenstein’s theory of logic.

In 2016, Jan Van Woensel opened a temporary art school called USCA, ‘Underground School of Contemporary Art’ in the city centre of Antwerp, Belgium. On the one hand, the project served as a long-term curatorial investigation based on Van Woensel’s concept of ‘school as exhibition’. On the other hand, USCA was a real and fully operative art school. USCA comprised ten studios and as many artists-in-residence, a curatorial collective in residence, art practice, art theory and philosophy classes, a library of more then 500 donated art books and magazines, a weekly changing exhibition, an art collection, live music nights, and much more...

Since 2006, the curator makes group and individual exhibitions with musicians, including: Lee Ranaldo (Sonic Youth), Chad VanGaalen, Daniel Johnston, Amenra, Sufjan Stevens and Glass Ghost, among others.

For the past 15 years Jan Van Woensel has lived and worked in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Mexico, Shanghai and Europe. He taught art critique, contemporary art history, curatorial practice classes and gave lectures at Sint Lucas School of Art (Antwerp, Belgium) and HISK, Higher Institute for Fine Arts (Ghent, Belgium); Iceland University of the Arts (Reykjavik, Iceland); New York University; ISCP – International Studio and Curatorial Program; Chelsea Art Museum; Location One; Art in General and Bloomberg LP (New York City, USA); Otis College of Art and Design (Los Angeles, USA); CCA - California College of the Arts (San Francisco, USA).


Updated: 2019-04-03 Tell a friend


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