Artsy Fartsy: K-Pop & Curation – What the heck is T.O.P doing, exactly?


T.O.P of Big Bang recently co-curated an exhibition in Singapore. The exhibition is called Prudential Eye Zone, which is a selection of 17 multidisciplinary works from artists across Southeast Asia. The exhibit is currently ongoing until the 28th of June, so if you live in the area, time to get off the couch and go see it.

As far as T.O.P goes, from what I saw of “Doom Dada“, I’m not surprised he’s going this route, but a Curator? What the heck is it, and why is oppar so invested in this?!


Curator comes from the Latin word of “Curare”, which means “Caregiver”. The first example of someone curating is questionable, but a lot of art historians would argue that cavemen were the first since cavemen marked their surroundings with drawings.

Regardless, the first recorded Curator was Robert Hooke (1635-1703), philosopher of nature. Hooke was the complete opposite of what modern day Curator would be, as he used to do experiments on dead dogs (yeah), and his first curation was called “Keeping A Dog Alive By Blowing Through Its Lungs With Bellows” … says it all really. Around the same time, a German Prince named Johann Wilhelm II Von Der Pfalz decided it would be brilliant to construct a separate building (attached to the palace) to showcase his belongings/artwork, and to show those dreadful peasants the real meaning of life or whatever.

Such were the noble, sophisticated beginnings of being a Curator.


Throughout Renaissance Europe there was a trend of a “Cabinet Of Curiosities”, which sums up curating today: finding/collecting art, putting it into a room, and looking after it. So it’s basically just showing off, a ‘Pimp My Ride‘ for arts.

Fast forwarding to the 1900s, Kazimir Malevich was a Polish-Russian artist who co-founded Suprematism, and he curated a collection of his own paintings in 1915. Instead of the museum-like mannerly order you see today, it was hectic and rather a hot mess, but curating his own works set the stage for how it’s commonly done today.


Just five years later, the DADA movement started to curate their own exhibits as well. “The First DADA Berlin Messe” was also hectic, with paintings everywhere and a man bear pig on the ceiling. It was also the first exhibit for things other than paintings, i.e. found objects, collage, performance, mixed media.


In modern times, you are welcomed by the White Cube, which is a real term for a gallery space. Curations like these are likely to have a concept or theme throughout, so finding artists to match can be hard. Thus, a lot of Curators today are actually artists themselves. This also happens because their works are their belongings, and they would prefer to know where it’s going and how.

What’s great about being a curator in modern times is that it doesn’t necessarily have to be “art” on display, and curators can thank the DADA movement for that. Now a display can be full of found objects as well (like Marcel Duchamp), which is almost just archiving, and it’s pretty nerdy to begin with. Thus, as a Curator, if you want to do an exhibition of old-school manga, just fucking do it! You’re the boss, and nothing is too ridiculous.

T.O.P is obviously involved in the modern version of curation, and that creative freedom over the art was likely what drew his particular interest. Overall, it’s a wonderful passion for him to pursue, and his Instagram? Probably just practice.

About Howe

Asian Junkie's resident boob demon & IATFB's favourite unnie.