#ListeAsks Krist Gruijthuijsen, Director of KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin

Krist Gruijthuijsen, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin 2020, Credit: Frank Sperling
Krist Gruijthuijsen, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin 2020, Credit: Frank Sperling

As you won’t be in Basel this June, what are you doing instead?
This summer I’ll be working at KW in Berlin. We were able to reopen our doors on 30 May and have two exhibitions on view until 19 July. Then we will prepare for the last chapter of the 11th Berlin Biennale, which will open in September.

What is something that you never thought would happen but that has now happened as a result of the lockdown?
I never thought social distancing would be normalised.

In what ways has the current state of uncertainty and unpredictability changed your attitude or approach towards curating?
My aim with curating is to provide a platform for artists to speak. This will never change. 

What kinds of actions do you think are most needed and/or most effective in supporting young artists during the current situation?
Some of the most effective actions are buying young artists’ work, providing them with a basic income, supporting the production of new work and giving them visibility. 

How can younger and less established galleries that are representing emerging and yet-to-be-discovered artists approach you as a curator in a time of online-only exhibitions, fairs, etc.?
Even though I am a rather analogue person and prefer to engage with art physically, one can always casually write to me when they feel there might be overlapping interests out of which we can start a conversation. 

Have you discovered any new artist during the lockdown?
Yes, during the lockdown I continued doing studio visits and jury work via digital means. I recently discovered Merike Estna, an artist born in Tallinn and now living in London.

Can you tell us about one of the very first artists you discovered at Liste and how they’ve become important to or played a role in your curatorial practice?
One of the very first artists I discovered at Liste was the Lithuanian artist Gintaras Didžiapetris, who I ended up appointed as one of the main tutors of the Fine Arts Department at the Sandberg Instituut in Amsterdam.

A photo that for Krist Gruijthuijsen represents the current moment: Taken in the last weeks by Krist Gruijthuijsen
A photo that for Krist Gruijthuijsen represents the current moment: Taken in the last weeks by Krist Gruijthuijsen