Rotterdam Cultural Histories is a collaborative project between Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art and TENT. This long-term project, begun in 2014, articulates conceptual meeting points between the programs of these two institutions, both housed in this building, through the study of their common roots in Rotterdam.
This exhibition, bringing together work by Pamela Rosenkranz, Susana Mejia, and Anicka Yi, invites us to engage with a rarely visited part of the world: the Amazon. The largest tropical rainforest in the planet, Amazonia extends over nine different countries in South America, including Brazil and parts of Venezuela, Colombia, and Suriname. Scientists have likened its ecosystem to the lungs of our planet, like a larger-than-human organ taking in, but also producing, oxygen. Similarly, as an organism, art exhibitions operate as entities that make worldviews palpable. For, historically, artists have come to picture, and make visible, unknowns. In so doing, artists probe at what an image of a place, its experience and its mediations, may come to constitute or trigger; they explore the limits of an image, and what its ends could become.
Not too long ago, Colombians fled to Venezuela and elsewhere to avoid the escalating violence and insecurity associated to their country’s drug wars and guerillas groups. Today, it is Venezuelans that have been fleeing to Colombia. With an economic hyperinflation and a repressive government policy, Venezuela is facing a food shortage and health crisis, among many other challenges preventing social welfare and safety. On a daily basis, hundreds of Venezuelans cross the border of San Antonio de Táchira in Venezuela to the city of San José de Cúcuta, Colombia. They go there to look for work opportunities or simply to find safety. There, their work typically consists of carrying out odd-jobs or manual labor to purchase basic goods such as food and medicine.
Irene Kopelman, a solo exhibition presents a selection of artworks from four different projects created by the artist between 2012 and 2016. Each of these projects was made during, or after, Kopelman engaged in fieldwork, travelling to comprehend and, ultimately, to render these environments. For nearly two decades, Kopelman analyzes with scientific rigor the landscapes and ecosystems of remote places, or, at least, sites that are not easily accessible, from the volcanic islands of Hawaii in the Pacific to the mountainous heartland of Borneo in Asia to the Peruvian rainforest in South America. At each location, she develops a specific method of observation.
At Untitled, curatorial and educational goals are intertwined. With art installations and events, as well as a bookstore and an initiative dedicated to collective learning, this long-term project in our now freely accessible ground floor gallery will continuously evolve. The project is designed as a Matryoshka doll, where one work holds another work, which holds another work and so forth. To offer this multi-layered experience, Untitled uses a variety of display mechanisms and presentation formats. Each of these involve different exhibition time-periods, and engage with different attention spans in terms of how they’re experienced.
‘The Dark Side of Dick Bruna’ focuses on the Dutch Miffy creator’s alternative visual language. Between 1955 and 1970 he designed more than 2,000 covers for crime stories and other thrillers in the Zwarte Beertjes series of paperbacks published by A.W. Bruna & Zoon. The more than 350 book covers, sketches, posters and collages in the exhibition reveal Dick Bruna’s craftsmanship and eye for narrative. His designs made a major contribution to the distinctiveness of the series.
In the exhibition ‘Chinese Journey’, the Rotterdam-based photographer Eli Dijkers takes the viewer on a journey through China. Dijkers is fascinated by this ‘Land of the Dragon’ that is undergoing such a fast transition that it seems to have changed with every visit. The photographer is an eager observer and nothing seems to escape his attention. On his journeys through Shanghai and Fujian he pays considerable attention to capturing his surroundings as well as people and animals. Dijkers’s images show a photographer in transit; often with a poetic gaze and always driven by an eager passion.
Rotterdam crosses over to the third dimension with the exhibition ‘Hyperrealism Sculpture’. This exhibition will show a unique selection of three-dimensional works by all important hyperrealist sculptors of the past 50 years. From the early American pioneers, including George Segal, Duane Hanson and John DeAndrea, to the rise of the international movement, represented by Juan Muñoz (Spain), Maurizio Cattelan (Italy), Berlinde de Bruyckere (Belgium) and Ron Mueck, Sam Jinks and Patricia Piccinini (Australia).