Rob Ritzen (Maastricht, 1985) works as an curator, exhibition maker and writer. He holds a BA in Museology from the Amsterdam University of the Arts (Reinwardt), a MA in Philosophy and Ethics from the Free University of Brussels, and he participated in the research master in philosophy at the KU Leuven. He has worked at a number of institutions including Museum de Paviljoens, SALT, VanAbbemuseum, Onomatopee, and Extra City. He was an associate researcher at a.pass institute for artistic research.
His curatorial practice mainly goes out from self-organised and co-operative formats in close association with cultural practitioners. On the margin of established institutions and outside of market oriented spaces, but in the middle of communities of cultural practitioners. Together with Paoletta Holst he initiated That Might Be Right, an organisation run by cultural practitioners dedicated to (re)searching, developing and supporting alternatives to the present. He is a founding member of Level Five a cooperative studio floor in Brussel, and was influential in shaping its organisational, social and political form.
Recent projects include Forms of Life of Forms (2019), M’ (2018), All Work No Pay (2018), the video installation Borderscapes: From the Margin to the Centre (2017) at PeriFeria, Brussels; the series of cultural assemblies Between the Sheets (2017) at That Might Be Right, Brussels; the initiative to visit places of work eavesdropping (2017-ongoing); the evening of reading performances TMBR reading performance event (2017) at WOLKE, Brussels; the educational summercamp UTOPIA Camp (2016) at ArtEZ, Zwolle; the mobile commons print lab MANE’FESTO (2015) at Nuit Debout, Brussels; the group exhibition Frame of Mind (2015) at Corridor, Amsterdam; the group exhibition The Stone That Was a Bone (2015) at Corridor, Amsterdam; the audio installation Reflecting on the Edge (2015), at État des Lieux, Brussel; the group exhibition We Tell Stories (2012) at DE KIJKDOOS, Amsterdam; the group exhibition When Squares [Re]Frame Meaning (2011) at DE KIJKDOOS, Amsterdam.
He has contributed to a number of magazines and journals such as Archined, Krisis, Mister Motley, Tubelight.
My curatorial practice is focused on self-organised and collaborative formats in close association with cultural practitioners. In my research I am concerned with social and political constellations that have a hold on everyday life. Cultural practices are a way to dislodge the hold the present has on us, they enable the exploration and experimentation with alternative forms of life and the organisation of things among us. This can be done by reappropriating the past, reshuffling the present, and (re)claiming the time to come.
In my projects there are some recurring curatorial tactics. As a curator I aim to set out parameters within which different articulations and constellations can occur. For this I make use of a practice of assembly. Spatially this practice is translated in the form of scenographies that enable collective exchange or organisational forms in which critical mutual care can flourish. In the content assembly comes back by bringing apparently disparate practices and perspectives together in order to converge and deflect. Consequently, my projects are characterized by an emphasis on the process. The outcome can result in an exhibition or publication in which I try to keep the playful but brisk character of an essay.
With my curatorial practice I want to reconfigure ways of seeing and doing by giving room to a plurality of voices and narratives. Only in this way can the complexities, difficulties and potentialities of our present become apparent.