Friday, September 08, 2006

Matt Stokes in 'Street: Behind The Cliché' at Witte de With, Rotterdam

Street: Behind The Cliché
Witte de With, Rotterdam
September 9, 2006 - November 19, 2006

Witte de With is pleased to present the thematic group exhibition Street: behind the cliché. Open from 9 September until 19 November 2006, it features work in a range of media by 28 international artists.
Opening 8 Sept. 2006, 6 p.m., in conjunction with De Appel (Amsterdam).

What – and who – fills the socio-cultural space of our day-to-day surroundings? Nowadays it is rare to encounter critical reflections on aesthetic representation that do not involve the concept of ‘space’. Especially in the Netherlands, where the notion of ‘public space’ is a perennially popular topic of discussion, the time is ripe for a reconsideration of how public space operates. As part of Witte de With’s ongoing self-examination, we seek with this exhibition to explore the institution’s complex and problematic position in relation to ‘the street’.

Transcending purely local situations, Street: behind the cliché investigates the public spaces of supermodernity – as defined by Marc Augé – presenting artists whose works embody alternatives to the anonymity of the globalized world and render visible the underlying structures and mechanisms of public space. For example, Martin Boyce’s installations dissociate street furniture from its usual context, presenting distorted bins or gleaming fences as theatrical props; Laura Horelli carries out a subjective analysis of post-Soviet public space; Tobias Buche and Sascha Hahn intertwine personal history with media images and historical references to create poetic documentaries in differing forms; David Blandy carries out a very personal quest to establish his own identity within the media-hyped stereotypes of hip-hop culture; and Gareth Moore will spend a month in Rotterdam, creating a site specific work in the building from materials and ideas found in the city.

Rather than presenting ‘the street’ as the infrastructure through which people move from A to B, the exhibition considers this particular section of ‘public space’ rather as a local theater, a stage on which the complex stratification of cultural codes is acted out and identity is formed. Street is an analysis of the interrelated phenomena that we encounter in our immediate surroundings, such as the fraught relationship between pop culture and subcultural identity, how ‘underground’ is now big business.

Following the exhibition, a publication will provide a platform from which to further explore the ideas proposed by the show. The writers will have the chance to visit the exhibition and incorporate an analysis of the experience in their texts. The book will then be presented in February 2007 on the occasion of the conference The Periphery Complex at Witte de With.

Artists: Joachim Baan (NL), David Blandy (UK), Henning Bohl (DE), Martin Boyce (UK), Tobias Buche (DE), Jason Dodge (US), Marius Engh (NO), Gardar Eide Einarsson (NO), Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard (UK), Isa Genzken (DE), Pieterjan Ginckels (BE), Sascha Hahn (DE), Laura Horelli (FIN), Pieter Hugo (ZA), Ian Kiaer (UK), Germaine Kruip (NL), Klara Liden (SE), Gareth Moore (CA), Alex Morrison (CA), Chloe Piene (US), Robin Rhode (ZA), Ugo Rondinone (CH), Matt Stokes (UK), Aram Tanis (NL), An Te Liu (CA), Luc Tuymans (BE), Silke Wagner (DE), and Tobias Zielony (DE).

Curators: Renske Janssen and Nicolaus Schafhausen.

Thursday 9 Nov
7:30 p.m. Artist’s talk
Matt Stokes (b. 1973), is a Newcastle-based artist and winner of the 2006 Becks Futures Prize. Interested in popular and particularly music culture, he is best known for his video Long After Tonight (2005) documenting the vibrant nostalgia of a 1960s Northern Soul venue. Stokes will be in conversation with Nicolaus Schafhausen at Witte de With prior to his performance Sacred Selections.
Language: English
9:00 p.m. Sacred Selections, a pipe organ recital featuring experimental transcriptions of underground music in St. Laurens Church, by Matt Stokes. Grotekerkplein 15, Rotterdam (nearest metro station: Blaak).
Entry € 3.50
The ticket to the performance gives one free entry to Witte de With and an exhibition ticket from Street gives free entry to the performance.