The graduation show of the Master Fine Art Programme at the Piet Zwart Institute, a postgraduate programme of the Willem de Kooning Academy/Rotterdam University. Twelve artists from various countries present new installations, photographs, videos and performances developed specifically for the exhibition. Curated by Mai Abu ElDahab in collaboration with artist Guy Ben-Ner.
curated by Mai Abu ElDahab in collaboration with artist Guy Ben-Ner
Ghislain Amar (FR), Derek Brunen (CA), Diana Duta (RO), Priscila Fernandes (PT), Bitsy Knox (CA), Tom Kok (NL), Sjoerd van Leeuwen (NL), Bat Sheva Ross (IL), Marnie Slater (NZ), Jay Tan (UK), Selina Taylor (UK), Annie Wu (AU)
From 9 July to 22 August, TENT. presents If you say something, see something., the graduation show of the Master Fine Art Programme at the Piet Zwart Institute, a postgraduate programme of the Willem de Kooning Academy/Rotterdam University. Twelve artists from various countries present new installations, photographs, videos and performances developed specifically for the exhibition at TENT. The exhibition is curated by Mai Abu ElDahab in collaboration with artist Guy Ben-Ner. The title of the exhibition If you say something, see something. is taken from the title of a poem by Charles Bernstein and like this word play, skews the habitual hierarchy of form and content.
Mai Abu ElDahab is director of the art space Objectif Exhibitions (Antwerp, BE) and was invited as guest curator for the final presentation. For the past six months she has been working together with the twelve participating artists, on the basis of a brief informed by the students interests and written by artist Ben-Ner on her request. The letter below, written by Abu ElDahab to the artists, serves as the exhibition’s press release.
Dear Annie, Bat Sheva, Bitsy, Derek, Diana, Ghislain, Jay, Marnie, Priscila, Selina, Sjoerd and Tom,
Finally I came up with a title for the show (with the help of a couple of Lithuanians and some good Belgian beer). It wasn’t easy to figure out because, like the show, it needed to accommodate disparate desires and artistic interests, and try to bring them all together as one whole that is finally not contrived but meaningful for everyone.
As am sure you recall, we started out discussing two possible options for the show: Either, you all go on doing what you are doing anyway, and we just try to place your work well in the given space, and I write some kind of legitimating text trying to articulate something about why this show is actually a show. The other option was to hand you a precise commission for which you had to produce new work in the hope that this backbone would bring together a coherent exhibition rather than an ad hoc group of artworks. Reluctantly, you opted to take me up on this second idea.
As a curator I don’t think it is my job to come up with random ideas for commissions, and since you seemed to find affinities between your works, I asked you to collectively come up with five or six sentences that you thought would represent your common interests. I took your list and without your knowledge passed it on to Guy Ben-Ner to see what he could do with it. I asked Guy in particular, not only because am a big fan of his work, but more because he’s an artist who thinks a lot about what it means to be an artist, what that implies about his own life and his practice. As his various schooling experiences have left a strong impression on him, I felt he was in a good position to think about where you are at and understand your state of mind. Being the class clown that he is, I thought he could help you lighten up a bit and have some fun with it too.
Guy suggested you “Go and get a life”; he encouraged you to insert fiction as a tangible reality into your lives and try to make that experience valuable. But as Mike Sperlinger says in his catalogue text, the brief is … “a prescription to be prescriptive” and … “that kind of structure of discipline, of self-consciousness and of engagement sits more easily with certain artists, certain practices than others...” and inevitably “generated its own rebels and Bartleby’s who would prefer not to.” But at the end of this experiment, we stand in a show and with a publication that speaks to us about the uncertainty of how knowledge structures come about (Jay, Tom and Sjoerd), the dubiousness of representation (Annie, Marnie and Priscila), the desire for the poetic (Bat Sheva, Ghislain and Diana) and of course where does taking action fit into all this (Bitsy, Derek and Selina). And I think that’s where we wanted to be all along...
Finally, “If you say something, see something.” is the title of a poem by Charles Bernstein and it is his word play on the New York anti-terror street campaign that said “If you see something, say something.” I guess the idea of those who came up with this campaign was to turn every day people into a fearful vigilante mob, but that’s another story altogether… It’s your title now because I think it is a reminder of the necessity to look around and be inspired by the world; a reminder that, as intriguing as research might be, what YOU make is the point. And of course, it is poetic and what’s more important than that? So here we are…
All the best,
Presentation of Promotieprijs 2010
Before the opening, the Promotieprijs 2010 will be awarded to one of the graduates of the Master Fine Art Programme of the Piet Zwart Institute. The Promotieprijs is an initiative of Stichting Promotieprijs. The jury for the Promotieprijs 2010 consists of: chairman Hugo Bongers (secretary Rotterdamse Raad voor Kunst en Cultuur), David Baars (architect), Elizabeth Kleinveld (artist, director Artstart). The Promotieprijs 2009 was won by Rachel Carey (US).
The exhibition is accompanied by a publication edited by Mai Abu ElDahab and the artists. Design: Kaisa Lassinaro. The publication is available from the reception desk in TENT. for € 4,-.
Friday July 9th 2010
20.00 hrs: opening
21.00 hrs: Performance “Presentations on the Raccoons in the Netherlands” by Sjoerd van Leeuwen.
Saturday July 10th, 14.00 hrs: Performance - Marnie Slater
Sunday July 11th, 15.00 hrs: Performance “Presentations on the Raccoons in the Netherlands” by Sjoerd van Leeuwen. Also on the following Saturdays at 15.00 hrs: July 17th, July 24th, August 7th and August 21st.
Saturday July 17th, 16.00 hrs: Performance “The mobilisation of the Dead Pelvis” – Annie Wu
Ongoing during the exhibition: Performance “An American Performance” – Selina Taylor.
For more information, please contact Esther van der Leer, communications TENT
email@example.com or +31 (0) 10 413 54 98
Opening Friday 09 July, 20.00 hrs
Witte de Withstraat 50, 3012 BR Rotterdam – Netherlands
Open Tuesday to Sunday from 11.00 – 18.00 hrs.
Admission € 4,- for TENT. € 7,- combi-ticket for TENT. and Witte de With.
50% discount Youths from 12 to 18 years of age, students, CJP, 65+, groups of 10 people or more.
Free Children up to 12 years of age, Rotterdampas, Museumkaart.