Pool VI: Decolonization & Institutional Critique

Herbstsemester 2018

4 Dates:

Di 13.11.2018, Mi 14.11.2018, Do 15.11.2018, Fr 16.11.2018

Time: 10:00 - 17:00

Place: Seminarraum ZT 3.K13 im Toni-Areal

Please notice that a 80% attendance is mandatory.


Universität / Haute École
ZHdK , Master of Arts in Fine Arts
Rory Rowan
Contact email
for student applications
Content description

Recent years have witnessed a growing movement to decolonize institutions of art and learning, public spaces, modes of representation and the conceptual architecture used to narrate and understand history and the complex power relationships structuring post-colonial, settler colonial and multicultural societies. Although decolonization is taken to mean different things in different national and disciplinary contexts and although different processes and entities have been identified as objects of critique or sites of intervention a common thread is an attempt to draw attention to, and actively undo, the legacies of colonialism and the persistence of colonial power relations in the present.
This course has two central aims. Firstly it seeks to map the relationship between contemporary movements to decolonize institutions, whether of learning or of contemporary art, and the history of institutional critique in contemporary art since the 1960s. The course aims to explore the continuities and distinction between these two traditions in order to explore what decolonial art practices might be in the present and their relationship to ltraditions of institutional critique within contemporary art. Secondly, it seeks to explore the less often remarked upon legacies of colonialism that have shaped institutional collections, modes of cultural representation and narratives of national history in Switzerland by engaging with institutions in and around Zurich
The course will closely engage key theoretical texts, a selection of contemporary artists’ work, cases drawn from the student’s own practices as well as excursions to institutions, archives and exhibitions (for example, Rietberg Museum, Johann Jacobs Museum, NONAM. Antikenmuseum Basel). All texts will be provided ahead of course start. The class will be joined by two guest artists and/or curators whose work engages the relationship between decolonization and institutional critique.