She was a highly respected curator of contemporary art in Poland and abroad, author of texts, theoretician and creator of many eminent institutions. At the National Museum in Gdańsk, she managed NOMUS, of which she was the originator and creator. She also ran the Wyspa Progress Foundation and was a co-founder of the Łaźnia Center for Contemporary Art and the Wyspa Institute of Art, which she managed. She was also the president and artistic director of the Alternativa Foundation.
She was passionate about the theory of curatorial practices and the role of artists outside the field of art. She described her vision of the museum in the NOMUS manifesto - as a space for participation and a source of knowledge that equalizes access to culture that is democratic and open. A community of artists, researchers and audiences.
She was a curator of many important exhibitions at home and abroad, including “Collection in Action” (Gdańsk, NOMUS, 2021), Joanna Rajkowska’s “Rhizopolis” (Warszawa, Zachęta, 2021), “May Flames Pave the Way For You” (Białystok, Arsenał, 2020), “Hiwa K: Highly Unlikely, But Not Impossible” (Warszawa, Zachęta, 2019), “Slowness” (Szczecin, Trafostacja Sztuki, 2018), “Estrangement” (Lublin, Open City Festival of Art in the Public Space, 2017), “Damage and Loss” (Gdańsk, Alternativa 2016), “What’s Plain Invites Pattern” (public space, Sicily, 2015), “Vernacularity” (Gdańsk, Alternativa 2015), “Everydayness” (Gdańsk, Alternativa 2014), “Hito Steyerl: Abstract” (Gdańsk, Wyspa Institute of Art, 2014), “Oliver Ressler: Political Imaginaries: Making the World Anew” (Gdańsk, Wyspa Institute of Art, 2014), “The Field is to the Sky, Only Backwards” (New York, ISCP Gallery, 2013), "Till Tomorrow! Ideologies of City Planning" (Gdańsk, Alternativa 2013), “Materiality” (Gdańsk, Alternativa 2012), “Buildings and Remnants” (Guimarães, 2012), “Labour & Leisure” (Gdańsk, Alternativa 2011), “Estrangement” (Gdańsk, Alternativa 2011), “Dockwatchers” (Gdańsk, Wyspa Institute of Art, 2005), “Palimpsest Museum” (Łódź Biennale 2004), “BHP” (Gdańsk, 2004), “Architectures of Gender” (New York, Sculpture Center, 2003). She delivered lectures at Bard College, New School, Queens College and NYU; she worked as a guest at the Mainz Academy of Arts and at the University of Copenhagen.
She was editor and author of important books and catalogues, including “Avant Garde Hypothesis” (2017) and the catalogue of “Collection in Action” (2022) published by the National Museum in Gdańsk, and co-authored “The Curatorial. A Philosophy of Curating” (Bloomsbury Publishing, London 2013).
We will miss her very much.
Friends and colleuges from the National Museum in Gdańsk.
A memorial book dedicated to Aneta Szyłak will be presented at NOMUS from November 2 (ul. Jaracza 14) from 11:00-18:00.