Chinese Artists, Texts and Interviews : Chinese Contemporary Art Awards (CCAA) 1998-2002
About the book
Harald Szeemann Biography
Harald Szeemann (11 June 1933 – 18 February 2005) was a Swiss curator, artist, and art historian. Having curated more than 200 exhibitions, many of which have been characterized as groundbreaking, Szeemann is said to have helped redefine the role of an art curator. It is believed that Szeemann elevated curating to a legitimate art-form itself.
Personal lifeSzeemann was born in Bern, Switzerland on June 11, 1933. He studied art history, archaeology and journalism in Bern and at the Sorbonne in Paris from 1953–60, and in 1956 to 1958 he began working as an actor, stage designer and painter, and produced many one-man shows. In 1958 he was married to Francoise Bonnefoy and in 1959 their son Jerome Patrice was born. In 1964 his daughter Valerie Claude was born. He was twice married, the second time to artist Ingeborg Lüscher. Their daughter is Una Szeemann. Szeemann was hospitalized for pleural cancer in Locarno, Switzerland and died in 2005 at the age of 71 in the Ticino region.
Curatorial careerSzeemann began organizing exhibitions in Switzerland in 1957, and in 1961 he was appointed as director of the Kunsthalle Bern at the age of 28. Despite being a somewhat "provincial institution" at the time Szeemann managed to open a new exhibition every month, often with young and promising artists.There he organised an exhibition of works by the "mentally ill" from the collection of the art historian and psychiatrist Hans Prinzhorn in 1963, and in 1968 gave Christo and Jeanne-Claude their first opportunity to wrap an entire building: the Kunsthalle itself. The Kunsthalle Bern is also where Szeemann mounted his "radical" landmark 1969 exhibition "Live in Your Head: When Attitudes Become Form" that included works by artists including Eva Hesse and Gary Kuehn, which caused such a reaction that it prompted his resignation as Kunsthalle director.For decades Szeemann worked out of a studio, which he referred to as "The Factory," in the Swiss village Tegna, where he conceived international exhibitions and experimented with traditional museological practices. After leaving the Kunsthalle he founded the "Museum of Obsessions" and the Agentur für Geistige Gastarbeit ("Agency for Spiritual Migrant Work"). In 1972 he was the youngest artistic director at documenta 5 in Kassel. He revolutionised the concept: conceived as a hundred-day event, he invited the artists to present not only paintings and sculptures, but also performances and "happenings" as well as photography. The show had various sections named "Artist's Museum" or "Individual Mythologies". In an interview in June 2001, he explained: "All the former Documentas followed the old-hat, thesis/antithesis dialectic: Constructivism/Surrealism, Pop/Minimalism, Realism/Concept. That’s why I invented the term, 'individual mythologies'—not a style, but a human right. An artist could be a geometric painter or a gestural artist; each can live his or her own mythology. Style is no longer the imp ... Read full biography
|Languages:||| English | | Chinese ||
|Illustrations:||146 colour & 12 b&w illustrations|
|Publication date:||Aug. 15, 2004|
|First Publication Date:||None|
|Publication City/Country:||Hong Kong, China|