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Curating Contemporary Art (MA)

Yeonjae Lee


Evolving from Chisenhale Gallery’s brief and our initial proposal to broaden notions of motherhood, our project delves into the dynamics of unconventional kinship in contemporary society. Titled Un/tied, our project strives to communicate the multitude of forms of kinship that extend beyond traditional biological frameworks. In Un/tied, we aim to reflect upon and recognise interweaving and diverse forms of kinship that are not necessarily limited to hereditary ties. Our approach involves a collective search for new possibilities and emergent structures.

Designed as an intimate reading room, complete with a curated library, the display is crafted to foster dialogue and interrogate how contemporary kinship is imagined, created and sustained. The library showcases relevant works that analyse concepts of kinship and study its manifestation in material, human and non-human, and temporal contexts. These texts are presented alongside portraits and films, which consider alternative and queer forms of kinship. Sculptures by artist Clementine Edwards invite viewers to think about material kinship beyond the nuclear family.

Our programmed live element focuses specifically upon kinship within the trans community. Featuring artist Donna Marcus Duke with collaborators Biogal, Amani and Jetsün Shenkyong-ma, the event incorporates elements of lecturing and cabaret. Radical, political, and spiritual expressions of trans kinship are explored through a series of readings and performances. The event aims to nurture a sense of community while simultaneously challenging established norms and navigating societal challenges and prejudices.

A picture in front of the Louvre.

Yeonjae Lee's graduate dissertation focuses on the profound influence of collective silence as a curatorial tool in contemporary practice. Inspired by Quaker values and their emphasis on introspection and communal understanding, the research explores the transformative power of silence within art museums and galleries.

Through a meticulous analysis that incorporates diverse curatorial theories and philosophical perspectives, Lee delves into the significance of silence in curatorial decision-making. Going beyond its association with Quaker values, the study considers silence as a universal concept with relevance across various cultural and religious contexts. This broader understanding reveals silence as a potent curatorial tool that transcends specific belief systems, inviting contemplation and engagement within art spaces.

The research aims to shed light on the transformative role of collective silence in curatorial practice and its implications for audience engagement and social change. By deepening our understanding of intentional silence, Lee seeks to create meaningful and immersive experiences that encourage profound reflection on artworks and pressing societal issues. This graduate dissertation contributes to the ongoing discourse in curatorial practice, expanding the knowledge base in the field and inspiring further research and critical thinking about the use of silence.