Stéphanie Noach conducts research, writes, teaches and curates exhibitions. Her current research focuses on the dynamic relations between the dark, opaque and black in contemporary art, especially in Latin America and the Caribbean, and departs from an oceanic and postcolonial perspective. In her curatorial practice, she explores alternative manners of doing exhibitions. She developed a series of curatorial experiments outside of the regular spaces for contemporary art, mostly in collaboration with curator Beatriz Gago: Delta (2018- 2019), a book-exhibition which was presented through discursive events with biologists, anthropologists, philosophers, oceanographers and poets at Stedelijk Museum in the Netherlands, Museo de Bellas Artes de La Habana in Cuba, MUAC in México, Lugar a dudas and Flora. Ars+Natura in Colombia; Pórtate Bien (2016), a performative exhibition in the night club Fábrica de Arte Cubano, La Habana; and Sin oficio ni beneficio/Handmade Twitting (2015), a virtual exhibition at Cuba’s largest online auction site, Revolico (Twelfth Havana Biennial). She worked as a curator and assistant of the director at the Havana Biennial (2011-2015), and as invited curator at the Museo de Antioquia in Medellín (89 noches, 2017), and Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam (I would prefer not to, 2014). She initiated a platform for curatorial and theater studies at the University of Arts of Cuba (Havana), taught at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia (Medellín), and is now lecturer at Leiden University where she teaches courses on contemporary art, specially from Latin America and the Caribbean, exploring issues of ecology, politics and the relation between art and animals. She has an MA in Latin American and Caribbean Studies with a Concentration in Museum Studies (NYU) and a master in Art History (University of Amsterdam). She is currently doing a PhD about the potentialities of darkness in Latin American and Caribbean art at Leiden University.
My PhD dissertation, ‘Dark Matters,’ intends to reveal the largely unrecognized potentialities of darkness through a close reading of approximately ten contemporary artworks from Latin America and the Caribbean. It departs from the assumption that from the 1960s onwards, artists from this region have increasingly developed visually or symbolically dark artworks that provoke understanding of the potentials of darkness, and suggest a counter-narrative to the negative approach to this notion. By analyzing specific dark-colored or ‘gloomy’ installations, performances, photographs, and prints from diverse Latin American countries, my study disputes the engrained understanding of darkness as evil, barbarous, and uncivilized, and instead recasts it as a disruptive and liberating concept that can generate imageries that counterbalance enlightenment thinking, expose the arbitrariness of racial blackness, and provide possibilities to grieve and to remember victims of political violence and organized crime. This study assumes that darkness remains the ‘dark matter,’ the substance that to a great extent structures and divides the universe into black and white, civilized and barbarian, rational and superstitious, yet has never been directly observed or examined.
Contemporary Latin American and Caribbean Art Latin American and Caribbean Literature Art and Politics Feminist and Critical Theory Critical Ocean Studies Postcolonial Theory