João Laia appointed chief curator of exhibitions at Kiasma

28 May 2019

João Laia - Foto by Mike Ghost.jpg
João Laia. Poto by Mike Ghost

João Laia (b. 1981) from Portugal has been appointed as the chief curator of exhibitions at Kiasma. He will be responsible for exhibition programming at Kiasma together with the museum director Leevi Haapala. Taking up his duties on 3rd of June, Laia succeeds Marja Sakari, who has been appointed as the director of the Ateneum Art Museum, Helsinki.

“João Laia is a highly networked curator of topical exhibitions, film series and performing arts. He is well versed in global contemporary art scene and the social theory of art. The visionary Laia has a clear interest in developing curatorial expertise and the presentation formats of art. Laia contributes regularly to leading European art publications such as frieze and Mousse. In recent years he has worked on exhibition projects and in expert positions in Brazil, Britain, Italy, Lithuania, Portugal, Russia, Spain and Sweden. We are very pleased to have him on our team to strengthen the international role of Kiasma and the Finnish National Gallery,” says Leevi Haapala, Director of Kiasma.

Laia is curator and writer with a background in social sciences, film theory and contemporary art. His projects explore the embedded relations between philosophy, representation, society and technology.

“I am thrilled to join Kiasma as the chief curator of temporary exhibitions. As part of the museum’s team, I look forward to present challenging, experimental and poetic work to engage the eclectic range of audiences that make the wide local, regional and international constituencies of the institution by addressing key social debates defining our present and near future”, João Laia says.

Recent theme exhibitions include Vanishing Point (2019) at Torreão Nascente, Lisbon City Hall Gallery, Drowning in a sea of Data (2019) and Transmissions from the Etherspace (2017) both at La Casa Encendida, Madrid, foreign bodies (2018) at P420, Bologna, 10000 Years Later Between Venus and Mars (2017-18) at Oporto City Hall Gallery, H Y P E R C O N N E C T E D (2016) at MMOMA - Moscow Museum of Modern Art, a strategic project of the 5th International Biennial of Young Art and Hybridize or Disappear (2015) at MNAC - National Museum of Contemporary Art in Lisbon. He co-curated the 19th and 20th editions of the Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil (2014–18) in São Paulo. Other exhibitions, performance programs and screenings were held at Parque Lage (Rio de Janeiro) Moderna Museet (Stockholm), Xcèntric / CCCB (Barcelona), Videoex (Zürich), Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, ZDB and MAAT - Museum for Art, Architecture and Technology (all in Lisbon), CAC – Contemporary Art Center (Vilnius), Kurzfilmtage – International Short Film Festival Oberhausen and Cell Project Space, DRAF – David Roberts Art Foundation, Delfina Foundation, South London Gallery and Whitechapel Gallery (all in London).

Laia holds an MA in Film Studies from King’s College, London (2010), and an MA in Film Curating from the London Consortium (2011). During 2012-13, Laia completed the post-graduate research programme CuratorLab at Konstfack, Stockholm, followed in 2014 by the curatorial residency programme of Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin. He edited A Multiple Community (SESC publishing 2018) and co-edited the monograph dedicated to the work of Daniel Steegmann Mangrané Spiral Forest (Mousse Publishing 2018).

The new chief curator will assume his duties on 3rd of June. His duties will include planning of Kiasma’s exhibition programme together with the director and programming teams of the museum. One key project in the near future will be to curate the upcoming ARS22 exhibition.