Defne Ayas is a curator and consultant actively working at the intersection of contemporary art, media, and politics. Ayas has served as a director and curator to several cultural institutions and research initiatives across the world, including the Netherlands, China, the United States and Russia. Until recently, she was the director of the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam (2012-2017) where she commissioned and organised long-term projects, group exhibitions and solo projects, including Kunsthalle for Music (2017-2018), Öğüt & Macuga by Ahmet Öğüt and Goshka Macuga (2017), The Ten Murders of Josephine by Rana Hamadeh (2017), The Music of Ramon Raquello and his Orchestra by Eric Baudelaire (2017), Art in the Age of… (2015), Bit Rot by Douglas Coupland (2015) and Tulkus 1880 to 2018 by Paola Pivi (2013-2018), amidst others. Prior to that, she was a director of Arthub Asia, a former Prince Claus Fund Network Partner. Ayas acted as the curator of the Pavilion of Turkey in the 56th Venice Biennale; co-curator of the 6th Moscow Biennale; co-curator of the 11th Baltic Triennale, and curator of Performa, New York’s visual art performance biennial, in its first four editions. She is currently advising the expansions plans of VAC Foundation (Moscow).
Curator, educator, and publisher in the field of visual art