Erik van Lieshout
Nicoline van Harskamp
Two exhibitions in the Morality program begun in the Fall of 2009. The exhibition Remember Humanity includes the work of artists who approach 'our' present as a field on fragmented existences and isolated interests. The works here included do not set out to affirm 'humanity' in a nostalgic way, or attempt to 'retrieve' it from the record of lost ideas. 'Of Facts and Fables' brings together a selection of works presenting a critical image of the world and its fictions, operating in a space of representation that relies on fabulous motifs.
Witte de With is pleased to present two upcoming exhibitions in the Morality program begun in the Fall of 2009: Act VI: Remember Humanity, and Act VII: Of Facts and Fables. They open simultaneously on 12 May. Act VI runs until 29 August and Act VII continues until 26 September 2010.
Act VI: Remember Humanity
Curated by Juan A. Gaitan and Nicolaus Schafhausen; assisted by Amira Gad.
Many of the themes that have dominated contemporary political thought point to the ominous view that 'humanity' has become an historical subject, no longer essential to contemporary economic and political considerations. For instance, the notion of 'bare life' taken up by Giorgio Agamben, suggests a bankruptcy of the human rights charter in terms of humanity's capacity to hold to its principles of freedom and equality. The notion of 'immaterial labor' most famously developed by Maurizio Lazzarato, indicates a further alienation of the world from its material fabric and concrete foundations. The imperative suggested in the title of this exhibition, to 'remember humanity,' is therefore an allusion to a present condition in which humanity has become an historical subject rather than part of our objective reality.
The exhibition Remember Humanity starts from this hypothesis and includes the work of artists who approach 'our' present as a field on fragmented existences and isolated interests. Together, these works provide a partial sense of how the construction of the world and the construction of the idea of humanity are mutually conditioned. The works here included do not set out to affirm 'humanity' in a nostalgic way, or attempt to 'retrieve' it from the record of lost ideas. More central to the logic of these works is an examination of how the notion of human is constructed in opposition to the animal, to madness, to the idea of the primitive, in contraposition to War, and also in the affirmation of 'labor' and 'consciousness.'
Artists: Ziad Antar, Julieta Aranda, Miroslaw Balka, Milena Bonilla, Lee Bul, Luke Fowler, Minouk Lim, Goshka Macuga, Kent Monkman, Christodoulos Panayiotou, Julika Rudelius, Michael Stevenson, Rosemarie Trockel.
Act VII: Of Facts and Fables
Curated by Juan A. Gaitan and Nicolaus Schafhausen; assisted by Amira Gad
There is a traditional distinction between the earth as the space of nature, and the world as the space of humanity. Fictions and abstractions belong to the world, as do thought and action. The fable, however, invariably returns to nature in search of motifs that are excluded from the principles and imperatives of morality: animals, plants, inanimate objects. Children are the fable's ideal audience, and are also exempt from the sphere of morality and moral imperatives, even if only temporarily - that is, for as long as they are children or remain 'child-like.' In this sense, that which is excepted from morality is susceptible to becoming an example - a negative example - of the seemingly chaotic and 'anarchic' state of nature. Animal behavior, for instance, is often mobilized by moralistic discourses in order to prove that the true nature of humanity is one of uninhibited impulses that morality is designed to set right.
Of Facts and Fables brings together a selection of works that mobilize this realm of exception, presenting a critical image of the world and its fictions, operating in a space of representation that relies on fabulous motifs. History, mysticism, fiction, and scientific discourse come together in this exhibition as both outmoded forms of thought, and as potential for new kinds of speculative critique.
Artists: Saadane Afif, Danai Anesiadou, Miroslaw Balka, Keren Cytter, Stan Douglas, Agnes Geoffray, Erik van Lieshout, Marko Lulic, Philippe Parreno, Lili Reynaud-Dewar, Luc Tuymans, Ola Vasiljeva, Danh Vo, Tris Vonna-Michell.
Morality is generously supported by the Mondriaan Foundation and SNS REAAL Fonds.
Image: Ziad Antar, Terres de Pommes de Terre, 2009
For press information, please contact Anne-Claire Schmitz phone: +31 (0) 10 4110144 fax: +31 (0) 10 4117924 e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Opening on Wednesday 12 May 2010; 6-9 p.m.
6.30 p.m. Expressive Power Series # 1
Max Bonner on The Phenomenology of Speech
A scripted public event that presents, through the words of an Interpersonal Dynamics Consultant and some members of his audience, directly opposing views on 'free speech ideology'.
Written and directed by Nicoline van Harskamp.
Witte de With
Witte de Withstraat 50, Rotterdam
Opening hours: Tuesday through Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
closed on Mondays and during installation periods
Admission prices: €5,00 Witte de With
€2,50 discount: < under 18 / students / CJP / seniors / groups (min. 10)
Free: < under 12 / CKV / Rotterdampas
MJK is valid