Defne Ayas (Rotterdam & New York)

Witte de With Director and curator-at-large Defne Ayas evaluated the extent to which performance has been a vital trigger for the current cultural ecology across Asia and how this factor has allowed for liberation from examining art in Asia solely through the lens of European Modernism.

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Defne Ayas is the Director and Curator of the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam. In 2015, she curated the Pavillion of Turkey in the 56th International Art Exhibition, la Biennale di Venezia, and co-curated the 6th Moscow Biennale. In September 2012, Ayas co-curated the 11th Baltic Triennale (with Benjamin Cook, LUX, in collaboration with artists Ieva Misevičiūtė and Michael Portnoy) to great acclaim, as well as the Istanbul and Bandung city pavilions as part of the Intercity Project of the 9th Shanghai Biennale. She co-founded Arthub Asia in 2007– an Asia-wide active research and production initiative– (co-) producing a number of projects including Double Infinity (with Van Abbemuseum 2010), Final Cut (with the Shanghai Cultural Development Foundation, 2009), RMB City opera by Cao Fei (with Artissima, 2009), and The Making of the New Silk Roads symposium (2009 and remains a Director of Arthub Asia today. Since 2005, Ayas has been a curator of Performa, where she remains a curator-at-large. She managed the biennial’s collaborative programming and curated projects such as Broken English by Julieta Aranda & Carlos Motta (2011) and THE FIRST/LAST NEWSPAPER by Dexter Sinister (2009) and Performa Institute (2011), and introduced first-time collaborations with Storefront for Art and Architecture, Common Room, Van Alen, Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) and Public School (for Architecture).

Right Top: Image courtesy of Carol Haggerty.
Left Bottom: Image courtesy of Defne Ayas.