New Proposals Curator Mirjam Varadinis

Mirjam Varadinis is an art historian and has served as curator at Kunsthaus Zürich since September 2002, heading the division of Contemporary art.  In 2013 Varadinis was invited by the 5th Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art to curate a large Special Project called 0 Performance – The Fragile Beauty of Crisis.  In 2012 she was the co-curator of TRACK a large-scale, city-wide international group exhibition in Ghent, Belgium.  In 2006 Mirjam Varadinis was also curator of Printemps de Septembre, an annual festival of contemporary arts in Toulouse (France).  In 2005 she launched the Internet-Platform Azple in collaboration with Annie Wu.

What is the criteria that an artist or gallery must meet to be a part of “New Proposals?”

The New Proposal section is intended to be a platform for young emerging artists.  All the participating artists and galleries have been selected based on a specific proposal for a solo presentation.  It was an open call.  As you can imagine the numbers of applications was much higher than what you finally see in the fair and the selection process was not easy.  The main criterion was of course the high quality of the artistic proposal.  This means that I was looking for projects that convinced me both conceptually and formally and that I felt had a special relevance in the context of Mexico and Latin America.  Also, I was looking at the experience and profile of the gallery representing the artist.  And of course it was important to have a mix of Latin American artists and galleries coming from abroad.

How many galleries have been selected to participate in this section of the fair?

Altogether 19 galleries have been selected.  All of the participating galleries came up with a very strong artistic proposal that visitors can discover in the New Proposals section.  As the name of the section indicates most of the artists are introduced for the first time to the Mexican audience and developed their projects especially for the fair.  So it will certainly be an inspiring tour to visit the 19 solo exhibitions in the New Proposals section.

Do you see a theme throughout your selection of galleries or artists?

Contemporary art production is characterized by a variety of interests and formal experiments.  This corresponds to our times that is defined by plurality.  Artists are using all different kinds of media and reflect on various subjects in their art.  And this is also what New Proposals will show.

Some of the artists work with video, others with painting and others again with sculpture or installation.  It’s exactly this complexity and richness in Contemporary Art that I wanted to show.  But still there is certainly a thematic line as many of the artists in the New Proposal section approach socio-political questions – related both to the area of Mexico/Latin America as well as to other parts of the world.  And it’s exactly this dialogue that was important to me for the selection.

What galleries or artists stand out?

I have to say that I am very happy with the overall selection that came together for New Proposals.  It’s a very fresh and inspiring group of works.  The projects are very varied – both on a formal and a thematic level.  And it’s this richness in the artistic proposals that makes this section so interesting.  Therefore I don’t really want to pick out certain artists or galleries but advise to go and visit the section in its full length.  There is a lot to see and you certainly won’t be disappointed.


All images © Zona MACO