Best Quotes by Hans-Ulrich Obrist

By | January 6, 2016

Exhibitions are kind of ephemeral moments, sometimes magic moments, and when they’re gone, they’re gone.

Hans-Ulrich Obrist

During my time at high school and university in Kreuzlingen and St. Gallen, I traveled around Europe looking at art, visiting artists, studios, galleries and museums.

Hans-Ulrich Obrist

I see a curator as a catalyst, generator and motivator – a sparring partner, accompanying the artist while they build a show, and a bridge builder, creating a bridge to the public.

Hans-Ulrich Obrist

My job is art curator, not artist. All I have ever wanted to do is immerse myself in art, to enjoy it, to learn about it, to write about it, to talk to others about it.

Hans-Ulrich Obrist

I always have coffee and porridge for breakfast.

Hans-Ulrich Obrist

In this new age of GPS, Google Earth and multidimensional digital maps, mapping is suddenly hugely relevant again.

Hans-Ulrich Obrist

Everything I do is somehow connected to velocity.

Hans-Ulrich Obrist

Exhibitions usually are not collected; they disperse after they take place.

Hans-Ulrich Obrist

I would go from one city to the next, inspired by the monks in the Middle Ages, who would carry knowledge from one monastery to the next monastery.

Hans-Ulrich Obrist

I think the art fair is very much a form of urbanism. I think something really happens to the cities when such a fair happens. The city becomes an exhibition; it’s amazing.

Hans-Ulrich Obrist

Numerous are the posthumous museums and memorials devoted exclusively to one artist, architect or author and designed to preserve or artificially reconstruct the namesake’s original working or living conditions.

Hans-Ulrich Obrist

Making art is not the matter of a moment, and nor is making an exhibition; curating follows art.

Hans-Ulrich Obrist

I remember going to a monastery library when I was very young and being surrounded by ancient books. I fell in love.

Hans-Ulrich Obrist

The 21st-century curator works in a supremely globalised reality.

Hans-Ulrich Obrist

I don’t wake up in the morning and think about Franz Kline.

Hans-Ulrich Obrist

There is nothing deeper than to work for a year with the same artist.

Hans-Ulrich Obrist

I started going to exhibitions in Switzerland when I was 10 or 11. As a schoolboy, I would go every afternoon to see the long, thin figures of Giacometti.

Hans-Ulrich Obrist

Many artists have not been able to realise their fondest projects. My role is to help them.

Hans-Ulrich Obrist

I’m trying to expand the notion of curating. Exhibitions need not only take place in galleries, need not only involve displaying objects. Art can appear where we expect it least.

Hans-Ulrich Obrist

One of my favourite exhibitions is called ‘Do It,’ which I co-curated with the artists Christian Boltanski and Bertrand Lavier 21 years ago.

Hans-Ulrich Obrist

Switzerland felt incredibly narrow, growing up. It was good, in a way. There were so many museums. But it was always a no-brainer that I would have to leave, and I’m grateful for that.

Hans-Ulrich Obrist

I went to the studio of Fischli Weiss, and it was magical. I thought: ‘This is what I want to do with my life; I want to work with artists and be useful to them.’ I was magnetically attracted.

Hans-Ulrich Obrist

I spent 250 to 300 days of every year on the road. But in the end, I felt something was missing. I needed to be anchored so I could concentrate, so in 2000, I established a new methodology – the one I use today. I spent the week in my office and travelled every weekend, even at Christmas.

Hans-Ulrich Obrist

From 1991 to 2000, I was totally nomadic. I was travelling 300 days a year and building out my research. These were a bit like my learning and migrating years, so to say.

Hans-Ulrich Obrist

Mr. Koons’s work has always inspired architects, which I think is very interesting. I think he is an artist who has reinvented himself so many times and reinvented so many different series.

Hans-Ulrich Obrist

I founded a club, which is called the Brutally Early Club. It’s basically a breakfast salon for the 21st century where art meets science meets architecture meets literature.

Hans-Ulrich Obrist

My most famous show is the ‘Kitchen Show.’ More famous than any gallery show or museum show I curated.

Hans-Ulrich Obrist

I still remember my first Giacometti exhibition, and going back to the museum every day, whenever I could, to look again and again at these long, thin stick figures, so beautiful, so graceful. That, I think, was the moment I became really obsessed by art.

Hans-Ulrich Obrist

I read whenever possible, and I buy books all the time, sometimes online, but mostly from bookshops. I love literature. If you want to understand art, it’s important to understand what is also happening in literature, in music, in science, in architecture.

Hans-Ulrich Obrist

When I was 17, I met many artists, and it started to become this conversation with artists out of which all of my exhibitions grew.

Hans-Ulrich Obrist

For me, it’s always been very essential to work on projects that one can work on almost for their entire life.

Hans-Ulrich Obrist

Since 2000, I’ve been based in Paris at the Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville, curating the programme there. Internationally, it’s a very open situation that goes beyond national boundaries; directors and curators move from one country to another, which has opened up the museum landscape.

Hans-Ulrich Obrist

At a certain time, an artist needs a big retrospective. At other times, they need a more focused exhibition. It’s a different story each time; it’s about establishing a dialogue.

Hans-Ulrich Obrist

Most cities have a centre surrounded by suburbs, but London has numerous centres: it’s the model of a twenty-first century metropolis.

Hans-Ulrich Obrist

For me, the idea of curating can be expanded. Curating science, curating art, music and theater and performance and not only bring those things into art but bring art into those areas.

Hans-Ulrich Obrist

At Performa in New York, there are a lot of commissions, but Manchester Festival is the only festival where everything is fully produced by the festival.

Hans-Ulrich Obrist

Alex Poots has always made a bridge between highly experimental and the mainstream.

Hans-Ulrich Obrist

To keep art stimulating, it’s important to open it up to new horizons, which includes showing it in unexpected contexts.

Hans-Ulrich Obrist

The non-utility of my kitchen could be transformed into its utility for art. To do a show there would mix art and life, naturally.

Hans-Ulrich Obrist

Our economy’s growth functions by inciting us to produce more and more with each passing year. In turn, we require cultural forms to enable us to sort through the glut, and our rituals are once again directed towards the immaterial, towards quality and not quantity.

Hans-Ulrich Obrist

I’m very interested in the idea of unusual museums, ones that are not necessarily contemporary art museums – more like historical collections or house museums.

Hans-Ulrich Obrist

For me, the making of exhibitions has always had to do with dialogue: a concentrated, in-depth, focused dialogue with artists, who keep teaching me that exhibitions should always invent new rules for the game.

Hans-Ulrich Obrist

Fly-in, fly-out curating nearly always produces superficial results; it’s a practice that goes hand in hand with the fashion for applying the word ‘curating’ to everything that involves simply making a choice – radio playlists, hotel decor, even the food stalls in New York’s High Line Park.

Hans-Ulrich Obrist

My great inspiration has always been Studs Terkel, who is a wonderful American oral historian. He was a radio DJ at first, interviewed a lot of jazz musicians, and at some point started to interview Americans about work.

Hans-Ulrich Obrist

To record is a process against forgetting. I do interviews because it’s what I’ve been doing every day for a few hours since I was a kid. I’ve always talked to artists.

Hans-Ulrich Obrist

I met Gerhard Richter and Alighiero Boetti when I was a teenager, and I was really inspired by them. When Boetti died, I realized I only vaguely remembered so many things he told me. It was such a pity. Had I only recorded his voice, he would still be with me, and I could listen to it from time to time.

Hans-Ulrich Obrist

When I was a kid and started to be obsessed by art in the 1980s, the art world was in this polarity Warhol/Beuys, Beuys/Warhol. Both expended the notion of art extremely, but in very different ways.

Hans-Ulrich Obrist

At a certain moment, when I started doing my own shows, I felt it would be really interesting to know what is the history of my profession. I realized that there was no book, which was kind of a shock.

Hans-Ulrich Obrist

It’s quite an obscure notion for a kid, no? To want to be a curator. But even then, I knew that I would do this.

Hans-Ulrich Obrist

I really do think artists are the most important people on the planet, and if what I do is a utility and helps them, then that makes me happy. I want to be helpful.

Hans-Ulrich Obrist

I have many intense friendships with artists. I don’t mean we have intense one-day conversations but ongoing conversations that last in some cases for years.

Hans-Ulrich Obrist

To be honest, I think, for me, the power is always with art. The art world clearly couldn’t happen without art.

Hans-Ulrich Obrist

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