"Smuggling as Curatorial Practice after the Ethnographic Turn" workshop with Christine Nippe and Teobaldo Lagos Preller

Lately, ethnographic oriented artistic works appear especially in Mid-European countries increasingly. These approaches are interested in foreign social, cultural, economic and political forms of life in society. This development results from the socio-cultural and national frictions of globalization in the post-coldwar-era and the interest in art to involve with the Others. On the backdrop of the new Humboldt Forum and the re-building of the Prussian castle in the city centre of Berlin discourses about the relationship between visual art, anthropology and art history are absolutely en vogue.

Is this great interest in artistic interpretations of the ethnographic because these questions touch production of identities and the question of Global Art in times of crisis? How do artists work with ethnography today? And how can we undermine the dichotomy of the North-West vs. the South-East after the Ethnographic Turn? We understand the workshop as a research-based practice and a reflexive contribution in the context of a globalized art world with new power constellations. Smuggling, a term raised by British art theoretician Irit Rogoff, is a reflexive entanglement of art historical and anthropological knowledge, since we believe that both disciplines can complement each other and expand.


Christine Nippe is of German and Swiss decent (1976). She lives and works in Berlin. Nippe is a curator and writer who has published widely on contemporary art, urbanism, transnationalism and networks. She studied Art and Cultural History, Aesthetics and European Ethnology at Humboldt University in Berlin, and published her PhD dissertation at Humboldt University Berlin entitled “Art and Cities. Artists in Berlin and New York: On the Symbolic Capital of Cities.” In this context she was as a Visiting Scholar at the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University in New York and has interviewed artists such as Nevin Aladag, Matthew Barney, Dan Graham, Anri Sala, and Rirkrit Tiravanija. Nippe was the curatorial research assistant at the 5th berlin biennial of contemporary art, programme coordinator for the exhibition of Candice Breitz at Temporäre Kunsthalle Berlin, guest curator and head of education at Kölnischer Kunstverein, editor at Haus der Kulturen der Welt, and director of Kunsthalle Koidl Berlin. She has curated several exhibitions such as for the 5th Prague Biennial and for the Center of Contemporary Art in Thesssaloniki.


Teobaldo Lagos Preller is based in Berlin and Barcelona as a writer and a PhD Associate Researcher at the research group Art, Globalization, Interculturality at the Universitat de Barcelona, after finishing the MA in Interdisciplinary Latin American Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin and the BA in Communication Sciences at the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana in Mexico City. His doctoral thesis is about the relationship between art and the public sphere in Berlin after the fall of the Berlin Wall, focusing on the production of liminal spaces through art practices. He has collaborated with the Freie Universität Berlin, the German Federal Foreign Office and the Jumex Foundation/Collection, as well as in art and theoretical projects as a curator and writer in Europe and Latin America.