MINSU meets... Maggie Matić 021
We've followed the work of trustmemaggie for some time and really admire the fearlessness and execution of everything she does - a true creative force, with interesting work across many fields including art curation, writing and philosophy she has built up an impressive resume.
Where are you from and when did you start working in the creative industries?
I was born in Australia but moved to Liverpool when I was 10 so that's really where I call home. I started working in the creative industries when I was about 18. I started interning at fashion houses and always thought that was where I would end up, but when I went to the University of Liverpool I studied philosophy and psychology and became really interested in art and philosophical aesthetics. That's where my interest in curating and contemporary practices was sparked. I did an MA in aesthetics, alongside which I started working in galleries and cultural institutions like Tate, FACT (Foundation for Art & Creative Technology), The British Society of Aesthetics and The Royal Standard.
What projects are you currently working on?
I'm currently in the process of finishing my PhD so that's my main focus at the moment. During my Masters I also spent some time working as a research assistant in the philosophy department and I really enjoyed research. I was approached and asked if I'd like to do a PhD project researching contemporary feminist culture. The project really was the convergence of all my interests - feminism, visual culture and consumption, and so I went for it. In my research I have focused on contemporary art and zine culture, as I saw these as two key sites of feminist organising and dissemination. I feel so luck because the project has allowed me to meet the most amazing people working on some incredible projects. Just being able to document their work and hear about their experiences has been such a life changing experience. Now I have to write the thesis and make sure I do them all justice! When it's done my dream is to publish it as a book so that it can reach a wider audience and serve as a kind of snapshot of feminist activism now.
What is the creative scene like where you are?
I have recently moved to London because my wife, Rene has come to study here. There are so many different things happening here it's hard to keep up with everything. The artist-led scene in Liverpool is really strong. I spent just over a year working as one of the Artistic Directors at The Royal Standard, an artist-led studio and gallery space. I think because spaces are cheaper to rent in Liverpool there is a lot of independent project spaces and artists self-organising. That felt quite exciting about Liverpool because if you wanted to link up with someone and curate a show or host an event, it felt viable. In London things are more expensive and the scene is vaster. I'm just navigating the creative scene here at the moment. So far I have noticed that the creative scene here is much more inclusive. There are more spaces and events focused on QTIPOC creatives which is somewhat lacking in Liverpool.
What would you say have been your career highlights so far?
Working on Glenn Ligon’s Encounters & Collisions exhibition during my time at Tate Liverpool was definitely a highlight. I got to see artworks in the flesh that I had only ever read about. Glenn Ligon curated the show in collaboration with Francesco Manacorda, then Artistic Director at Tate Liverpool, and being around to see that process was incredible. I think another one of my biggest career highlights was working on Seen By Everyone, an exhibition comprising work by artists Zarina Muhammad and Leanne Cook at The Royal Standard. We built a ceiling of flowers and it was a really welcoming space that saw a lot of new visitors come and enjoy the gallery. We also had a flower ceremony with ice cream designed by Food Sketz and the whole event just had a really beautiful, tender feel to it.
We are all about collaboration - do you think this is an important part of creating and if so then how has it changed the way you work?
I think collaboration is absolutely vital if you’re going to create something that truly reflects the times. Whether that be an artwork, an exhibition or a brand. It gives depth and authenticity to the creative process. I also think collaboration makes your outputs more accessible because if your projects are founded on conversations and open discussions, then they will prompt more of the same. This is definitely the case with curating. I think it’s particularly important for cross-collaboration between curators, artists and audiences. Bringing together a range of different perspectives and ideas is necessary in an art world that has traditionally privileged the ideas and creative visions of a select few. This has definitely something I have tried to implement in all my projects.
Who was/is your main influence?
My wife is definitely my main influence. She keeps me in check and has helped me find my voice and vision. Through my PhD research I have met such incredible people who have been hugely influential, not only in my research project but also in my personal life. These are people who have initiated some of the most exciting platforms and movements in the UK and many of them have done so off their own back and in the face of great adversity. They have shown me that nothing is too ambitious if you’re willing to work hard enough for it.
3 creators we should be checking out?
My wife Rene Matić, of course. She is an amazing multidisciplinary visual activist exploring her identity as a queer woman of colour through her practice. IG : bad.gal.rene
Ayesha Tan-Jones is another incredible visual artist who also runs a project called Shadow Sistxrs Fight Club, a self-defense class for women, non-binary people and QTIPOC. IG : ayeshatanjones
Liv Wynter is an artist whose spoken word poetry pretty much changed my life. Liv is also currently doing amazing work as artist in residence at Tate and Project Indigo. IG : livresearch
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