Jonathan Watkins has been Director of Ikon Gallery since 1999. 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 2013.
I Am Driven By | Something Freudian. My parents must be held responsible!
My Highlights | My children are the highlights of my life. The proudest moment in my career was opening an exhibition by Japanese artist On Kawara in a kindergarten in Palestine
The Difference Between Good And Great | Passion
A Key Talent | Tenacity. Avoid fashion
The Characteristics Of Success | I try hard not to be pretentious. And there is nothing worse than a sense of entitlement.
Principles I Live By | Count your blessings
Critical Skills I Develop | Beware of anything that feels like religion. Faith is overrated.
How I Use My Mind | Don’t try to understand everything at once. There are countless known unknowns as well as unknown unknowns and your mind will reveal some of these in its own time.
Lessons I Have Learnt | We are very small between the stars.
Dealing With Doubt | Embrace it.
Performing At My Peak | I don’t think about it.
Resources I Use To Stay Inspired | It’s good to get back to nature. Lie down and look up at the sky.
My Future Dreams And Ambitions | I dream of having no ambitions, plans or goals that I would like to achieve.
The Meaning Of Life | There is no meaning of life.
The Best Advice I’ve Received | Imagine what it is like to be someone else.
I Am Inspired By | Hobie in Donna Tartt’s latest book, The Goldfinch.
The Legacy I Would Like To Leave | People happy to have known me.