Curatorial Studies

I is for Intuition

Laura Sofía Arbeláez

The Curatorial Vocabularies Glossary is an expanding collection of terms derived from the seminar of the same name. This seminar serves as a dynamic platform for contemplation and discussion, with a primary focus on pertinent issues within the contemporary curatorial field. Through a keyword-based approach, the seminar delves deep into curatorial discourse, actively engaging with current knowledge and ongoing discussions surrounding curatorial practices. The aim is to cultivate a comprehensive understanding of the profound artistic, economic, and political transformations unfolding within the art world, and how these affect and transform curatorial practice.

Intuition has always been a compass for me. However, for this text, I have focused on understanding what intuition means within the curatorial practice, mainly what this development implies for my own practice. Therefore, this assignment has been necessary to know how I could use intuition for my projects more consciously. On the other hand, even if there has been a lot of discussion about intuition in curatorial practice, it was not easy to find references, articles, and texts. I think the problem lies in the fact that talking about intuition is very complex, we all understand what it is, but we do not find the ideal words to express it. Above all, it is difficult to explain it "rationally." Therefore, my first findings focused a lot on philosophical interpretation and its possibilities within that field, especially in texts consulted in English. That has a lot to do, but it is beyond my knowledge and area of action and not directly connected to Curatorial Practice. Consequently, I decided to delete what I have done so far and start again by reviewing my notes, literature, and different reflections I collected during the program to make a final introspection involving intuition.

I believe intuition was discussed in almost every course we had during Curatorial Studies. In particular, the everyday use of intuition covers hunches, guesses…. It is in some way clear that within the curatorial practice, intuition refers to the ability to make decisions, develop ideas, and create exhibitions based on one's intuitive understanding and sensitivity. It involves tapping into one's knowledge, experience, and personal sensibilities to navigate the complexities of curating art(s). Additionally, intuition helps discern the potential impact and identify the relevance of a particular exhibition theme or narrative.

Therefore, it could be said that intuition plays a crucial role in curatorial decision-making processes, such as selecting works, scenography design, audience involvement, or writing. It helps curators or culture practitioners to trust their judgment and follow their gut when making the way art is presented. However, as it will be said further in the text, intuition is not the lack of knowledge is the opposite. That is why intuition results from learning, research, and engagement. Overall, intuition in curatorial practice represents an intuitive understanding and response to artworks, artists, and audiences, enabling curators to create projects that resonate on emotional, intellectual, and aesthetic levels.

Of the many things I have learned during my Curatorial Studies program is that curating is not just one element; it is a set of parts, precisely. Curating not only enters through the eyes but also through the sensory, the bodily, physical, the mental, multidimensional, and emotional. That is why intuition's latency is so essential since intuition encompasses the same factors, or rather, from the same characteristics. Intuition in curating practices is sensitivity and intelligence.

Intuition is to bring all types of knowledge into the game.

Intuition is the whole bag of different kinds of knowledge.

Curating, like intuition, can be visceral.

The curatorial practice works with embodied knowledge, where intuition privileges sensations and sensory feelings; all this goes hand in hand.

Intuition makes us feel the complexity of curatorial practices by pointing out that curating should be reviewed in other conditions, not precisely as a discipline but as a meeting of many.

Intuition situates the curator's context to observe the possible paths and derivations until coherent 'narratives' are achieved in exhibitions.

The role of intuition within the elaboration of exhibitions has played a fundamental role in applying what interests and investigates the curator.

It is said that intuition comes from inaccuracies, but that is precisely what is interesting to review, the awareness of the self-production of being from another section outside the neoliberal voracity.

Adding the intuitive singularity to the action of curating exposes a typological differentiation, which projects the diversity of intentions achievable from the subjectivity of the curator.

Intuitive curating is the process that integrates creative ramifications that enhance the act of making.

Entrusting curatorial qualities to intuitive knowledge refers to applying accumulated individual knowledge to situate the relationships established in the narratives made.

By confronting curatorial thinking in intuition, an analysis speculates other possible ways of finding, communicating, and devising ways to activate the processual openness that signals a practice.

Given the dynamic nature of the curatorial process, using intuition as an argumentative and processual strategy should be highly valued.

Intuitive curating works by applying what is acquired individually but for a collective purpose. What is intended when pronouncing an intuitive curating is to recognize that which is accumulating, hoping to find a coherent and significant application. References that will later become particular elements of a discourse.

Intuition in curating is meaning-making.

Intuitive curating is not the result; it is a starting point that allows us to access other creative stimuli of our own, where it makes sense to talk about scales of intuitions.

Intuition is consciousness as well.

Trying to bet intuitively is to know where the needle can be threaded better, to weave something that can give more sense than the individual works, so that making the exhibition has justification so that it is worth seeing the exhibition even if one has seen the works a thousand times.

Intuition is also desire, and it has to do with desire. An almost incomprehensible desire.

The impulse to express my curatorial experience from the intuitive has the main objective of sharing the personal way in which I have developed projects so far. To activate places of conflict and debate to elaborate concrete narratives that take already validated elements to enunciate another type of connection.

Intuition is trust in yourself and all you have learned throughout your life.

Intuition is seeing a lot and knowing what you like for your practice. Or at least, try.

Intuition is part of self-reflection.

Experimenting with unconventional formats is also part of the intuitive path.

I place intuition in the first criterion to deploy possible connections with other disciplines, concepts, and elements.

Intuition is our visceral voice.

Intuition involves, to some extent, an autoethnographic or auto-theoretical investigation. Being more aware of our intuition can help us understand more of our processes.

Part of working with intuition is understanding and counterbalancing it with information, knowledge, and theory.

Intuitive curatorial decisions often involve trusting one's instincts, taking risks, and thinking outside the box.

Intuition can shape our understanding.

Saying no is sometimes part of the intuition journey.

Intuition is knowing without (or against) discursive thinking or ratiocination. (Reid, p 28)

I can't tell you why I studied curating, but I know it in my bones.

Reid, L. A. (1981). Intuition and Art. Journal of Aesthetic Education, 15(3), 27–38.