Jeanne Graff is an independent curator and writer. She has been founding member and director of the art spaces 1m3 in Lausanne (2006–2014), Graff Mourgue d’Algue in Geneva (2011–2014). She has been curated solo shows by John Armleder, Ericka Beckman, Anne Imhof, Louise Nevelson, Sylvère Lotringer, Juliana Huxtable, Isabelle Cornaro, Vittorio Brodmann, Dewar & Gicquel, Stefan Tcherepnin among others. She has organized exhibitions and performances at the Musée d’art Moderne of the city of Paris, at the gallery Francesca Pia in Zürich, at the Anthology Film Archives in New York, at the Instituto Svizzero in Milan, at the Mamco (Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain) in Geneva, at the Power Station in Dallas, and I:Project Space in Beijing and at the Hepworth Wakefield Museum. Jeanne Graff has been contributing to the monograph catalogues of Ericka Beckman (Kunsthalle Bern – JRP/ Ringier), and Drip Event (Power Station, Dallas) among others. She is currently writing a novel linked to her curatorial practice.
Since 2014, she is the director of 186fKepler, an international non-for profit institution ‘without walls’ that she founded in 2014 and which travels between Basel, Paris, Milan and New York. Its name, taken from NASA’s mission Kepler, evokes both an imaginary address and an architectural construction which is not still. It resonates with an experimental structure, linked and reacting to the exhibition and institution’s models of the contemporary art world.
186f Kepler’s “rooms” have already served as a restaurant, a white cube, a theater, a cinema, a deconsecrated church, a bar, and as an exhibition and performance space: those places are composing an architecture which is inspired by a collage system.
SAA: What are the current priorities within your practice / What are you currently concerned with in regards to your artistic agenda?
JG: I’m constantly trying to develop new contexts to show art, that are interesting for the artists I’m working with and for the audience, and also to challenge my habits and my ways of thinking as a curator. I am looking for new point of view, and traveling is one of many tools I use for that.
SAA: In reference to this year’s graphic and thematic superstructure “migration”: what was / is your route and how has it changed your perception? How relevant is the notion of “Heimat” or “identity” for you?
JG: I’ve been working with a open group of artists since several years now. We spend a lot of time together when we’re working on a show – it’s an ongoing conversation. I lived in different places, mostly Switzerland, Europe and New York. I just spent a month working in China with New York based artist Juliana Huxtable. Heimat doesn’t really mean anything for me anymore – it’s a moving place. That’s why I founded 186f Kepler two years ago, it reflects this idea; it’s an institution without walls, whose architecture is not still.
SAA: This year’s Grand Award for Art laureate Adelina von Fürstenberg’s “numerous initiatives have encouraged the Swiss art scene”. Who are you striving to reach or what do you want to change with your curatorial / critical practice?
JG: Adelina von Fürstenberg has done many good exhibitions, and indeed, has managed to give impulse and to gather enthusiasm around her. That’s very important for me, to give enthusiasm through an exhibition, and to create a context where the artists and the audience feel good.