Contemporary curating: Gift-giving in the Zürcher Theater Spektakel performing arts festival

Rahel Leupin*

*Corresponding author

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


This article aims to deepen the understanding of the distribution and reconfiguration of agency and power in relationships between artists from the South and curators from the North. Focusing on the Zürcher Theater Spektakel, an annual performing arts festival in Zürich, Switzerland, it scrutinises the artist-curator relationship through the perspective of the gift rationales. Gift-giving theory can contribute to understanding motifs and logics behind dealings between curator and artist. In order to qualify these interactions, the article fuses gift-giving with relational care ethics. In doing so, it foregrounds the values and ethics that inhabit curator-artist relationships and shows to what degree gift-givers and gift-recipients may influence each other’s work. From this perspective, the article suggests that contemporary curating not only implies that the curator and the artist coproduce artistic performances, rather contemporary curating entails that the curator and the artist coproduce curatorial formats, hence the festival.

TidsskriftEuropean Journal of Cultural Studies
Udgave nummer2
Sider (fra-til)640-658
Antal sider19
StatusUdgivet - apr. 2022


  • Curatorial studies
  • gift-giving
  • performance studies
  • performativity
  • postcolonialism
  • relational care ethics

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