Kunstsammlung NRW
Till Fellrath und Sam Bardaouil (v.l.) in der ständigen Sammlung von K20 Grabbeplatz.
Foto: Kunstsammlung

Three questions for… Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath

They have just pitched their tents in Düsseldorf: in early July, the curators Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath – much-traveled and passionate art organizers by profession – begin installing the exhibition “Art et Liberté,” previously on view in Paris and Madrid, at the K20.

For #32, the duo responded to three questions:

: Sam and Till, you have worked together for the past nine years under the name Art Reoriented: what does this title mean for your work? Is it time for art to experience a reorientation? And if so, in what way?

TF: With Art Reoriented, we are not concerned with traditional interpretations of art. We showcase new perspectives of art, we see things differently. It is not just art that must reorient itself, is not a question of art alone. Through this label, we are concerned with the beholder. We provide as much space as possible for experimentation, so that something new can emerge.
Extremely important: we believe that art is always contemporary. When we exhibit older works of art or feature artists from other cultural milieus, there is always a present-day reference - one that goes beyond art-historical or geopolitical categorizations.

: For the duration of the installation of “Art et Liberté,” you have been living in Düsseldorf. Is this your first extended stay here? What is your impression of the art scene in this city?

TF: People may not realize this, but I grew up in Düsseldorf, I know every inch of the place. It might be more interesting to see what Sam has to say…

SB: For me, Düsseldorf is underrated internationally. An important experience for me in Germany is the realization that everything is so decentralized here. Upon arrival, you discover that every small town has its own museum, its own collection. I believe this is related to the history of collecting, a great deal has come out of the private collections of affluent families. There is art here at so many marvelous places, just waiting to be discovered.

TF: But are people in New York aware of Düsseldorf? Earlier, I believe, the city was more familiar on the international scene, before Reunification, during the glory days of Beuys and others from Düsseldorf Art Academy. Today, the focus is mainly on the capitals - London, Paris, New York, Berlin. But that’s not a problem with the cities themselves, the art world has changed.

: In an interview from last year with the New York Times, you reported that you travel for more than half the year, visiting something like 200-250 exhibitions to find new inspiration. What are your forthcoming projects? What are you working on at the moment?

TF: We always work on a number of projects simultaneously. “Art et Liberté” will keep us busy until mid–2018. After the Düsseldorf venue, we travel on to the Tate Liverpool, and then to the final station, the Moderna Museet in Stockholm.

SB: Our latest exhibition is called “Ways of Seeing,” it’s currently on view in Istanbul, and will be shown later this year in Brussels. It’s an international group exhibition that showcases highly contrasting approaches, the different ways artists perceive the world.

TF: We’re planning our next major exhibition project for Berlin for 2019/20. But unfortunately, we can't really speak about it now…

SB: Then there are our activities for the Montblanc Cultural Foundation, which we have co-chaired since last year. Here, the approach is something different: we want to promote young, as-yet unknown artists, who need a place to work and exhibition opportunities, it is also question of curatorial mentoring. Recently, we appointed a five-member advisory board that includes well-known curators and directors from various institutions. This year, we were already able to bring two artists from Manila to Venice: works by Katherine Nuñez and Issay Rodriguez will be on view in the main exhibition until the close of the Biennale.


Further information on all current and past projects, as well as on the duo's numerous publications and contributions, is available at the homepage of Art Reoriented.

If you would like to learn more, we recommend the
portrait of Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath that appeared in the New York Times on September 8, 2016 as well as the Instagram channel @sbardaouil