Niels Van Tomme: The Curatorial Imaginary – An Overview
Monday 27 October, 17.00
CLASS @Pavilion, C.A. Rosetti street, nr. 36

In his class, Niels Van Tomme will address some of the specifics of his curatorial practice, situated on the axis between academic and artistic research, institutional and independent practice, and professional and amateur interests. His projects include museum and gallery exhibitions, interventions in public space, and projects curated for the internet.

Niels Van Tomme is the appointed curator of the 7th Bucharest Biennale. He is a curator, researcher, and critic working on the intersections of contemporary culture, politics, and aesthetics. His exhibitions and public programs are shown at venues such as The Kitchen (New York), Värmlands Museum (Karlstad), National Gallery of Art (Washington, DC), Contemporary Arts Center (New Orleans), Gallery 400 (Chicago), and Akademie der Künste (Berlin). A Contributing Editor of Art Papers, he publishes internationally in journals, magazines, and exhibition catalogues. His curatorial endeavors have received grant awards from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation, Lambent Foundation, and The Nathan Cummings Foundation, as well as critical press in publications such as Afterall, Artforum, Art in America, Afterimage, and The Wall Street Journal.

The class will be held in English and in order to participate you have to apply due to limited seats. There are only 20 places available. For application please send an email to:

Free Academy wishes to be an informational platform, a discursive alternative to the official Romanian educational system (unsatisfying), without the intent of placing it in an institutional context. Focusing on a neo-liberal way of teaching, this project would like to attain individual benefits rather than collective ones. Free Academy is a project generated by Pavilion – journal for politics and culture.

Participation is free.

Image: Harun Farocki, Niels Van Tomme, and Trevor Paglen. Photo by Elise Gallant, October 24th, 2013.

WHO IF NOT WE? Being Here in the Age of Confusion
9 october 2014 – 16 november 2014
OPENING: Thursday, 9 october 2014, 19.00

Curated by PAVILION – journal for politics of culture

19.00 – 21.00
C.A. Rosetti street, nr. 36 (crossing with str. Jean Louis Calderon)

22.00 PAVILION 15th anniversary party
Constantin Mille street, nr. 4

PAVILION – the project started in 1999 which generates the entire activity of the organization (BUCHAREST BIENNALE, FREE ACADEMY, REFORMA, BUCHAREST FILM BIENNALE, PAVILION – center for contemporary art & culture, PAVILION RESOURCE ROOM), alludes to the relative temporary structure of contemporary art.

“WHO IF NOT WE? / DACĂ NU NOI, CINE?” talks about 15 years of resistance in the local/Romanian art scene, about the subterfuges within the struggle against chaotic bureaucracy. It talks about the production of possibilities in the Romanian contemporary art scene, about the placement in the local socio-political field and about generating new perspectives and directions for immediate action. It is and exhibition which marks 15 years of existence and resistance through critique and creating linkages to access culture.

Critical thinking refers to the apprehension and perception of things critically, or argumentatively if seen from a first person perspective (in your position). Your position – your positioning – means to analyse the social, political and economical space where you evolve. For a “post-“ (communist, conceptual, modern) country, it is important to apprehend its history, to criticise it – either positively or negatively. The history of this type of habitat lies at the basis of the definition and terminological delimitation of the space and has also structured its mission: critical approach to immediacy.

Through the word “pavilion” we understand a construction that is temporary and built for a specific purpose – something between a house and a tent. Its primary function is functionality – it can be easily installed and uninstalled, you can change its location rapidly and still, it has the potential to mark a certain space, be it outside or inside of the pavilion. A temporary structure, just as PAVILION journal is a temporary platform for politics, art and contemporary culture.

The concept of temporality of the pavilion fits perfectly with the way the culture of today is (re-) presented. Art and culture are dynamic, temporary, often changing and moving not only backwards, forwards, left and right, but in every other direction. You need a temporary structure to analyze contemporary culture – you have to be fast and dynamic and you need a medium that is as temporary as the field it represents, but that should still remain solid. This is why a structure such as the pavilion could be useful.

“Being here” places us in a very specific social setting. A setting of mobility, territoriality and a place between different borders where the metaphors of globalization linked to the disappearance of said borders, implies that people, capital and goods take advantage of the freedom of movement, leading to the creation of a new network of mobility, which drives us towards cultural progress, the cultural act becomes an object of recreation, entertainment or personal development through leisure and this is an ubiquitous reality in contemporary society. It is claimed quite often that such a conception of culture would be expressed freely, as an abstract element, through unity-in-diversity, through universality-by-difference and this could not be truer.

To move fast in different directions is the most important criteria for an institution today –to quote Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari and their book “Milles Plateaux”, the institution should be a temporary structure, like a rhizome. A rhizome is sort of a stem cell that puts out lateral shoots in any directions, without having a dichotomous structure, but instead a pluralistic structure. A rhizome is a temporary structure insofar that it can spread out from every point within the rhizome to every other point in, or outside of the rhizome, having the possibility to grow new shoots and also to mortify old shoots – a structure, which is necessary for a cultural institution today – temporary and moving in every possible direction.

Only this temporary structure, the rhizoid structure, allows us to intervene in the “society of the spectacle” to exactly analyze recent issues and their power structures and to finally turn the spectacle upside down. We have the possibility to re-think processes and to redirect them.

Apart from the critical expectations of the PAVILION, we are also trying to undertake another type of critical thinking: the criticism of the person (id est “persona”), of the individual, the criticism of everyone by and from everyone, including self-criticism. We propose this commitment in order to have the opportunity to involve ourselves – even superficially or vulgarly – in the existence of our society.

Nevertheless, the basic function of all of these instruments, the journal, the centre and the biennale, will remain concretization.

P.S. The ideea of the title and the concept of the exhibition was inspired by the following texts: Zsolt Petrányi, “Chaos: The age of confusion”, reader of Bucharest Biennale 2, in Pavilion #9; Jan-Erik Lundström, “Being here. Mapping the contemporary”, reader of Bucharest Biennale 3, vol. 1: text book in Pavilion #12; Anne Barlow, “Tactics for the here and now”, reader of Bucharest Biennale 5, in Pavilion #16; Felix Vogel, “Handlung. On Producing Possibilities”, reader of Bucharest Biennale 4, in Pavilion #15.

The exhibition can be visited from Wednesday until Sunday, between 15.00-19.00