Veronika Ivanova, an MFA candidate in the Criticism and Curatorial Practice program, is also the director and co-founder of Bunker 2 Contemporary Art Container, a contemporary gallery housed in a repurposed and mobile shipping container in Toronto. The gallery is committed to pushing curatorial and artistic boundaries and exhibiting emerging artists with diverse artistic practices.
Ivanova focuses on similar themes in her own practice: “I’m interested in curating difficult, transgressive content, and I’m also interested in the ethical implications of doing so from a curator’s perspective,” she says. “How does a curator care for their varied publics? What are the ethical implications in exhibiting trauma? How can we bridge pedagogy and contemporary art through curatorial practice?”
Ivanova is also an independent writer with a philosophy background. While studying at Portland State University, she wrote about the ethical implications of exhibiting transgressive art for her undergraduate thesis. She’s also written about the history of aesthetics, the Kantian sublime, failure as a subject of investigation, the liberating subversion of humour in art and beauty and contemporary art engaged with the everyday. She recently wrote a critique of the rise of the curator as an influential force, arguing instead to emphasize the role of the artist in shaping the exhibition. In fact, when asked what she envisioned as the ideal role and function of a curator in the world, she replied: “curator as artist’s assistant.”
One of her recent curatorial projects, “The Bomb Party, or What Goes Up,” featuring work by Grayson Alabiso-Cahill, explored the relationships among, farce, spectacle, war and capitalism.
Ivanova credits the Criticism and Curatorial Practice program for facilitating opportunities for her to take risks in her emerging curatorial practice and for providing her with the support she needs to succeed. While noting that the program is demanding, she says she finds the collaborative working space invaluable. “I talk through many, if not all, of my ideas with my cohort.”
“The instructors I’ve had have all been incredibly generous with me,” she says. In fact, meeting the faculty was why she decided to study at OCAD U: “I was actually preparing to go into a Master’s of Social Work program when I met Dr. Andrea Fatona (through a graduate of the program). She’s extraordinarily kind, encouraging and supportive of her students.”