Defne Ayas

Curator, educator, and publisher in the field of visual art

Defne AyasOriginally from Istanbul, Defne Ayas (b.1976) has worked as a curator,  publisher and teacher in the field of contemporary art and its institutions across the globe. Ayas most recently organized Kunsthalle for Music (2017); The Ten Murders of Josephine by Rana Hamadeh (2017), and three-part Art in the Age of…series (with focus on energy and raw materials, asymmetric warfare and planetary computation) (2015) at Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam, the institution which she directed in the years 2012-2017. Prior to her executive tenure, she (co-)founded many independent initiatives including Arthub Asia, a research and production agency across Asia, and Blind Dates, a platform for artists and cultural producers from the former Ottoman region. Ayas was the curator of the Pavilion of Turkey in the 56th Venice Biennale; co-curator the 6th Moscow Biennale; co-curator of the 11th Baltic Triennale. In New York, she was a curator of PERFORMA, and a public programs coordinator at New Museum, where she produced live performances, critical debates and print projects with visual artists, architects, and writers.