Meet the curator: Aura Seikkula

aura_seikkula_web”My brain works like an excel spreadsheet”, says Aura Seikkula, curator of the Finnish exhibition at Untitled Art Fair in Miami.

Initiatives for Individuality is open to public from 3 to 7 December.

You work as an independent curator and you live in Stockholm. How do you feel about Stockholm as your new home city?
I have lived here for almost three years. Now I am about to start my work as a curator for Artipelag art hall. Previously I worked as a curator at Studio Mossutställningar, which is an art studio complex a bit like the Finnish Cable Factory. In addition I am finalizing my PhD in philosophy. Stockholm is a great art city, compact and international. The art and museum scene is really good here.

What did you do before your career as a curator?
I studied social sciences, acted as a human rights activist and taught social skills in Helsinki city schools. I also worked in India as an assistant social worker in an orphanage. After I got into art, I have curated exhibitions and events in 17 countries and biennials in countries like Sweden, Norway and Mali. I also participated in the Athens biennial as an artist.

What does it take to be a good curator?
Flexibility and patience. You need to find a balance between your own curatorial approach and that of an artist. The aim is to support the artistic practice, but simultaneoulsy to contextualize and mediate your own vision.

In addition to your curatorial activity, you are working on your doctoral thesis and lecture abroad every now and then. How do you organize your days so that you have time to do everything?
Sometimes I wonder that myself. I am good at organizing but it is also a skill that constantly evolves. I would say my brain works like an Excel spreadsheet, but at the final stages of a production, such as right now, everything must be printed and hung on the wall. This line of work requires an ability to schedule and follow dead-lines.

As an independent curator you have a number of employers. How do you take into account the views of each employer?
I curate by invitation. Thus, I assume that the inviting organization also has an understanding of what I do. I do a lot of background research. You also have to find out what the expectations of the inviter are.

How did you end up working with the Untitled art fair?
I appreciate the invitation to curate for Untitled a lot. All my past experiences have led me here.

What is the main theme of the fair?
Untitled is very ambitiously curated. Among the participants, there are both commercial galleries and independent initiatives. Each gallery and their presentation have been carefully selected. Untitled seeks alternative ways to present art in a fair format. In addition they have a strong thematic additional programme.

Which galleries have you chosen to the exhibition and why?
Finnish contemporary art is still quite unknown in the US. With my exhibition concept I aim to show the different methods and models of the Finnish art scene, to create an art scene in itself.
ARTag presents a new gallery concept as they do not represent artists but commission artworks. SIC is an artist-run collective and Sinne a foundation-based gallery. Having Brussels-based Komplot involved, as well as our collaboration with Colombian Rincon Projects, reflects the relevance of international collaboration in Finland.

The fair is almost here. Are you excited?
Yes, I am expecting the event to be a great success.

What kind of projects would you like to work with in the future?
Writing my doctoral thesis has had great relevance to me. There are so many interesting events, as well as countries with a great art scene. I would like to continue working with my research thematics in a biennial context.

Read more: UNTITLED.

Isa Kuronen
The writer is a trainee at Frame Visual Art Finland