Chus Martinez is a renowned and sought-for art curator whose background includes art history and philosophy. She was born in Spain in 1972, and currently lives in Barcelona, where she is the chief curator at the Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA). Her unique curatorial practice researches how thinking emerges through the substance of art. Martinez approaches art as a mental stimulus. Her emphasis is on the complete freedom and imagination of the artist. In her opinion an aspiring artist should be wise, and act like an idiot.
In addition to her role in MACBA, she is currently agent of the next Documenta D(13) and also has been a co-curator of this year's Sao Paulo Biennial. Previously, she directed the Frankfurt Kunstverein in Germany (2006-2008). The museum was included in the Frieze Art Fair 2007 with the project A Delicious Feeling of Confidence, which applied the idea of stand-up comedy to art presentations. Between 2002 and 2005 Martinez was Artistic Director of the Sala Rekalde in Bilbao, Spain, which followed a year-long program for the Sala Montcada at the "la Caixa” foundation in Barcelona titled Lowest Common Denominator. The latter looked at the future of the art institution (2001-2). While doing her MA in Curatorial Studies as a Fulbright Fellow at Bard College, New York, she co-ran Parkers Box art space in Williamsburg, NY.
The primary concern of Chus Martinez's curatorial practice is the question of how thinking emerges through the substance of art. Her most recent projects have focused on the development of logics that can help us to interpret the role of artistic research in relation to institutional forms and the wider cultural production of knowledge.
Imagination, as a political concept, is at the core of many of her research and exhibition projects. Considered as a faculty of the mind, imagination facilitates not only the emergence of the one who thinks (the theorist, the philosopher, the artist, the curator) but also the emergence of something like a minimal relation, event, or perception of thinking, from which "thinkers" are then affected. Like philosophy, art does not exist to solve problems but to make them appear under a certain form, to keep the mind moving. Art has complete freedom to generate ambiguity.
As her schedule was very tight, Chus Martinez came to the JCVA for just a week in the beginning of December 2010. Though short, the visit was packed with meetings; Martinez was very much impressed by the Israeli artists with whom she held studio visits and the art scene on the whole. The artists, in turn were inspired and provoked by her comments and unique outlook. This was her first professional visit here, and led her to hope to return very soon.
The highlight of Martinez’ residency was her superb lecture, which the JCVA organized with the MFA program of Bezalel in Tel Aviv. She talked about her philosophical approach to curatorial work and left a profound impact on the big audience of professionals as well as art students. The stimulating lecture became the talk of the week in the local art milieu, and many artists thanked the JCVA for the opportunity to hear Martinez.