Aneta Szyłak is a curator, art theorist, institution maker and writer currently based in Gdansk, Poland. Recently she is responsible for the making of NOMUS (New Art Museum) – a branch of National Museum in Gdansk.
Previously, Aneta Szyłak founded and directed the Laznia Centre for Contemporary Art (1998 – 2001) in Gdańsk and Wyspa Institute of Art in 2004, a contemporary arts centre for contextual curatorial practice housed in the Gdańsk shipyard, which she directed until 2014. Her history also includes artistic directorship of Alternativa International Visual Arts Festival in Gdansk (2010-2016). Over the past 20 years, she has curated numerous and often groundbreaking contemporary art exhibitions and festivals including: “Slaveness” at Trafostacja Sztuki, Szczecin (2018), “Damage and Loss” (2016) at Alternativa 2016, “Vernacularity” at the Alternativa Festival 2015, Gdansk, “What’s Plain Invites Pattern’” (2015), Alternativa Foundation, Palermo; “Hito Steyerl: Abstract” (2014), the first solo show in Poland of celebrated German artist Hito Steyerl, Wyspa Institute of Art, Gdansk; “Estrangement” (2010), “The Field is the Sky Only Backwards” (2013) ISCP, New York; “Estrangement” (2011) Alternativa, Gdansk, “Architectures of Gender: Contemporary Women’s Art in Poland” (2003), Sculpture Centre, New York.
Szyłak has written extensively on contemporary art theory and contemporary artists. Recent published works include: “Sherko Abbas: The Music of the Bush Era” in Archaic the exhibition catalogue for the Iraq Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale (Milan: Mousse, 2017), “Tactics of Arrival/Means of Knowing” in Don’t Shrink me to the Size of a Bullet: the works of Hiwa K (2017) edited by Anthony Downey (Koenig Books & Ibraaz Publishing), “Curating Context” in The Curatorial: A Philosophy of Curating edited by Jean-Paul Martinon (London: Bloomsbury, 2013). She has lectured and worked as a guest tutor at Bard College, the New School, Queen’s College and New York University all in New York, Dutch Art Institute in Arnhem, Art Academy in Helsinki and – as Doctoral Fellow – at the University of Copenhagen. She was a visiting fellow at the Museum of Contemporary Art (M KA) in Antwerp and a visiting professor at the Academy of Arts in Mainz. Currently she is on the final stage of her PhD thesis, Curating Context. The Palimpsest on the Quotidian and the Curatorial at Goldsmiths University and the University of Copenhagen.