Hi, my name is
Keith Whittle

I am an English, London-based academic, writer and curator.

Currently on an extended period of research in Tokyo, Japan.

Working collaboratively with artists, galleries and cultural organisations internationally. Previously specialising in commissioning artists’ moving-image work presented in collaboration with galleries across the UK, more recently on monographic and thematic group and solo exhibitions, and projects working with leading contemporary artists such as Adam Chodzko, Sutapa Biswas, Fan Con Hoo, Mark Leckey, Michael Lin, Isaac Julien, Laure Prouvost, Erika Tan, Michael Landy, Chikako Yamashiro, Chim↑Pom, Aki Sasamoto, Taro Izumi, Meiro Koizumi, Mari Katayama and Sun Xun.

Recipient, The Cultural Leadership Programme, UK. A programme to nurture and develop emerging to established world-class, dynamic and diverse leaders for the 21st Century.

Research Fellow at The Japan Foundation and Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, and Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Japanese Art, Sotheby’s Institute of Art.

Long-standing interest in Modern and Contemporary Japanese Art. Research focused on the aesthetic, cultural and political histories, and processes that shape its production.

Associate Curator, White Rainbow, London
2015 ~

Research Fellow, Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, London
2016 ~

Lecturer, Sotheby’s Institute of Art, London
2013 ~

Visiting Lecturer, Tokyo University of the Arts
2013 ~

Research Fellow, Japan Foundation, Tokyo

Recipient, The Cultural Leadership Programme, UK Government, Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, London  2009

August, 2021.

With artist Atsuko Mochida, to view her site-specific project located in the area of Mito city.

THE REVOLVING HOUSE OT T. , Ibaraki, Japan (2017)
Atsuko Mochida, The Revolving House of T., Mito city, Ibaraki, Japan (2017)

PHOTO: Atsuko Mochida
WORK: The Revolving House of T
LOCATION: Mito city, Ibaraki, Japan
YEAR: 2017

This particular site-specific project is located in the area of Mito city, where Atsuko Mochida researched for over a year the history of an old wooden family house that has been abandoned for about a decade.

While developing this project Atsuko Mochida collaborated with local carpenters and printing establishments.

Delving together with her grandmother into the history of the house, the artist came to realise an almost organic sense/dimension of this process, which revealed to somehow even mimic the evolution of human biological features.



Featured #01.

Interview with Jonathan Watkins who has led Ikon for over 20 years, joining the gallery in 1999.

Jonathan Watkins
Jonathan Watkins, Director, Ikon Gallery, UK

PHOTO: Jonathan Watkins

Previously he worked for a number of years in London, as Curator of the Serpentine Gallery (1995-1997) and Director of Chisenhale Gallery (1990-1995).

He has curated a number of large international exhibitions including the Biennale of Sydney (1998), Facts of Life: Contemporary Japanese Art (Hayward Gallery, London 2001), Quotidiana (Castello di Rivoli, Turin 1999, Tate Triennial (2003), Shanghai Biennale (2006), Sharjah Biennial (2007), Negotiations (Today Art Museum, Beijing 2010) and the Guangzhou Triennial (2012). 

He was on the curatorial team for Europarte (Venice Biennale, 1997), Milano Europa 2000, (Palazzo di Triennale, Milan 2000), and Riwaq (Palestinian Biennial 2007). He curated the Iraqi Pavilion for the Venice Biennale in 2013 and Floating World, Bahrain in 2017. In 2019 Watkins was the curator of Small Between the Stars, Large Against the Sky, the 9th Manif d’art Quebec City Biennial.

Jonathan Watkins has written extensively on contemporary art. Essays have focused on the work of Giuseppe Penone, Martin Creed, Semyon Faibisovich, Yang Zhenzhong, Noguchi Rika, Oliver Beer, Beat Streuli and Cornelia Parker. He was the author of the Phaidon monograph on Japanese artist On Kawara.



Featured #02.

Interview with Mami Kataoka who was appointed director of Mori Art Museum in 2020.

Mami Kataoka, Director, Mori Art Museum, Japan

PHOTO: Mami Kataoka
INSTITUTION: Mori Art Museum, Japan

She was formally Chief Curator at Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery (1997-2002) and Mori Art Museum (2003-2020).

International Curator at the Hayward Gallery, London (2007-2009); Co-Artistic Director for the 9th Gwangju Biennale, South Korea (2012); Artistic Director of the 21st Biennale of Sydney (2018); and Artistic Director of the Aichi Triennale 2022. She has been serving as a Board Member of CIMAM International Committee for Museums and Collections of Modern Art and is currently the President of CIMAM 2020-2022.

Her other roles include Chair of Contemporary Art Committee Japan, Art Platform Japan [Initiative by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Japan]; Councilor of Tokyo Council for the Arts [Initiative by Tokyo Metropolis, Japan]; and Member of AICA [International Association of Art Critics]. Visiting Professor at Kyoto University of the Arts Graduate School; Visiting Professor at Tokyo University of the Arts (Faculty of Fine Arts, Graduate School of Fine Arts).

Kataoka frequently writes, lectures, and juries on contemporary art from Japan, Asia and beyond.



Featured #03.

One Place After Another: What can periodical International Contemporary Art Projects actually share?

Carston Hollier, Rolling Cylinder, 2012. Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale.

PHOTO: Osamu Nakamura.
ORGANISATION: Art Front Gallery, Japan

Exploring the proliferation of large-scale international recurrent exhibitions of contemporary art across the globe. This talk by Keith Whittle took place within the same year that in the UK, saw the presentation of the Liverpool Biennial, third Folkestone Triennial, and in Japan the fifth Yokohama Triennial and inaugural Sapporo International Art Festival.

He was joined by internationally recognised curators, Yuko Hasegawa and Lewis Biggs, both responsible for curating a number of major exhibitions, including in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates and Aichi, Japan respectively, and Koki Tanaka representative artist, Japan Pavilion, 55th International Art Exhibition, Venice Biennale and Mark Rappolt, Editor, Art Review.

The talk and discussion explored amongst other questions if these art projects and international exhibitions can expand and democratise access to culture, for a diversified public, creating a meaningful cultural social space for a general public and tourist majority generally less directly engaged with Art?

Talk organised in partnership with and staged at Japan Foundation, London, 2015


Featured #04.

Catalogue essay for Satoru Aoyama exhibition Division of Labour, White Rainbow Gallery, London, 2016

Division of Labour, solo exhibition at White Rainbow by Satoru Aoyama, 2016

PHOTO: Damian Griffiths
GALLERY: White Rainbow, London

Division of Labour, was a solo exhibition at White Rainbow by Satoru Aoyama (b. 1973). The focus of the exhibition was a new series of work: ‘Map of the World (Dedicated to unknown embroiderers)’ (2012-). The works reference the Afghan craftswomen who assisted in the making of Alighiero Boetti’s ‘Mappa’ series (1971-1989)

For his new series, Aoyama has embroidered four world maps, along with a map of Europe. Reflecting the passage of time since Boetti’s works, new countries such as Ukraine and Serbia are now visible on the contemporary world map. Aoyama’s maps are embroidered using a fluorescent thread. In daylight, they reveal little detail, but when shown in a darkened space each country and border is revealed. With this theatrical presentation, the artist offers a suggestion of the often immaterial and intangible quality of borders and the geopolitics that underpin them.

Where Boetti hired craftswomen to implement the technique necessary to realise his ideas, Aoyama undertakes the skilled labour himself on an old Singer sewing machine, in order to reflect on the notion of the individual craftsman in an age of outsourcing and mechanised labour.

Exhibition organised and curated by White Rainbow.