Lucy Cotter's Reclaiming Artistic Research

November 14, 2019

Lucy Cotter’s new book asks how art knows: how artistic thinking develops through artistic processes and takes shape in artworks. Cotter conducted twenty conversations with an international slate of artists to produce Reclaiming Artistic Research which she recently launched at the Research Pavilion at the 58th Venice Biennale.

Artist, curator, and faculty member in the MFA in Visual Studies program, Cotter is a widely published writer on contemporary art, contributing to books, catalogues, and such journals as Mousse, Artforum, Frieze online, and Flash Art.

This reclaiming is an effort to re-create space for artists to lead and shape conceptions of artistic research and its place in art, “responding to the relative isolation of academic-led discussions on artistic research, largely developed to support the institutional establishment of the PhD in Fine Art in the University system, rather than in the language of artists and the art world. … It invites its public to learn new languages, languages produced through art that cannot necessarily be "translated" in academic terms, while foregrounding the increasingly dynamic relationship with academic material sources manifest in contemporary artists' practices.”

Before coming to Portland and PNCA, Cotter was founding director of the Master Artistic Research at the Royal Academy of Art and Royal Conservatoire, The Hague from 2010-2015, developing an experimental educational program and initiating over 25 exhibitions in collaboration with venues throughout the Netherlands. She trained as an artist before turning to writing and curatorial practice and holds a PhD in Cultural Analysis from the University of Amsterdam. Among other curatorial projects, Cotter was co-curator of Here as the Centre of the World, a two-year artistic research project that took place in Damascus, Beirut, Taipei, Khartoum, Diyarbakir and Enschede. A former co-director of Public Space With a Roof gallery (Amsterdam), Cotter has also worked at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection and the Nuova Icona gallery (Venice) and Ludwig’s Forum for International Art (Aachen). She was curator of the Dutch pavilion of the 57th Venice Biennale 2017.

Cotter solicited contributions for the book from artists including Mario García Torres, Samson Young, Falke Pisano, Euridice Kala, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Grada Kilomba, Liam Gillick, Natasha Ginwala, Rabih Mroué, Em'kal Eyongakpa, Ryan Gander, Sarat Maharaj, Katayoun Arian, Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Sher Doruff, Emma Moore, Sarah Rifky, Katarina Zdjelar, Christian Nyampeta, Manuela Infante, Yuri Pattison and Sky Hopinka.

Reclaiming Artistic Research is published by Hatje Cantz with 17, Editorial, a division of 17, Institute of Critical Studies, Mexico City, in partnership with HKU, University of the Arts and LAPS Research Institute for Art and Public Space, The Netherlands.

Cotter is completing a book entitled Art Knowledge: Between the Known and the Unknown, which reflects on art's dynamic relationship with non-knowledge and the unknowable (with research funding from Mondriaan Fund).

And she currently is guest editor of the next edition of Art & Education’s Classroom. Closer to home, Cotter is curating an exhibition called The Unknown Artist, which will open at PNCA’s Center for Contemporary Art & Culture in March 2020.