Blouin Art Info
Read EVA International curator Koyo Kouoh's in Blouin Art Info
Koyo Kouoh is the curator of EVA International, Ireland’s Biennial.
Which works of art would you want to own and live with?
None. I have no sense of ownership or collecting when it comes to artworks. I believe that works of art should be made as accessible as possible to as many people as possible. Second, for my interiors I am really more interested in furniture, textiles, and design objects than works of art per se.
What advice might you offer to a young curator?
View your work as an important tool through which you can implement great change. Remember that an artistic project has a lot to offer, whatever its size; treat every project equally seriously and you will learn a great deal. Also, most important, keep pushing boundaries: politically and curatorially. I have been told in the past that my projects are too political, but I have always taken this as a compliment. It means that my work is provoking something.
What were some of the inspirations, thoughts, or artworks that guided your curation of EVA, the Irish biennial in Limerick, on view through July 17?
The biennial is taking place alongside Ireland’s 1916 Easter Rising centenary celebrations, so it was important to me that EVA respond to this context. Ireland is the first and foremost laboratory of the British colonial enterprise, subsequently exported across the globe. Colonialism’s physical domination, in terms of the shaping of architecture, civic spaces, and the wider landscape, is accompanied by a psychological domination through the imposition of language, social structures, religion, and prejudice. These are enduring considerations that continue to shape the world around us and are perceivable in Limerick’s landscape; mine is not an exhibition embedded in the past, but the past is always present, and the future never really arrives.
Of all the places where you have lived and worked, is there one whose creative community particularly excites and inspires you?
I may be expected to say Africa, of course, but I have grown beyond the idea of Africa as a geographical region. Rather, I treat it as a mind-set, a mental space that can be inhabited by anyone interested in the idea of Africa. I also nourish a deep love for Brazil and Cuba, and a growing fondness for the Southeast Asian region, particularly Vietnam.