Sunday 6 May, 2 - 6pm, sees the public opening of a new program of exhibitions and long-term projects at Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam. This is the inaugural program of the institution’s new director, Sofía Hernández Chong Cuy. Her program also entails special initiatives, including one that consists of offering free admission to Witte de With’s most visible exhibition space, its ground-floor gallery. This gallery space will house Untitled, a long-term and slowly-evolving exhibition.

Untitled includes a room-size painting commissioned to Federico Herrero from Costa Rica, and furniture by Muebles Manuel, a firm based in México and Germany. In this first iteration of Untitled, also included are two special displays: one about the latest project by New York artist Angie Keefer, and another an archival presentation of a 1993 project by Belgian artist Jef Geys (1934-2018) involving nine families from Alexanderpolder in Rotterdam. Untitled also includes a curated bookshop.

Not just a gallery or classroom, not fully a bookstore or café, Untitled is set-up as a site and occasion for collective learning. To make this systematically happen, a work-study fellowship program for Rotterdam youth kicks-off in fall 2018. This initiative, in development, includes courses ranging from art history to hospitality to business, and entails a hiring program that sees them collectively running the program and operations of Untitled with the Witte de With team.

Hernández Chong Cuy’s exhibition program will feature the work of artists with a strong research-based practice, and who are especially concerned with sensually spatializing their investigations. The programming engages artists, as well as the general public, to regard the intellectual nature of artistic production. “The artworks presented here are explicitly contemporary: they could not have been made at any other time than ours,” she explains, adding that, “for example, here we have work created by women artists who independently conducted expeditions to remote places.”

Hernández Chong Cuy has designated Witte de With’s second-floor galleries to present two solo exhibitions every exhibition season. Featured in this exhibition period is Irene Kopelman, a solo exhibition. It gathers four different projects created after this Argentinian artist, based in Amsterdam, carried out field-research between 2012 and 2016. On the same floor, A new work by Teresa Margolles, resulting from the Mexican artist’s field-work in the conflictual and unstable border region between Venezuela and Colombia.

Witte de With’s third floor gallery will give center stage to a new group exhibition or an artist retrospective every season, featuring, this time around, An exhibition with art installations by Susana Mejía, Pamela Rosenkranz, and Anicka Yi. This exhibition, featuring work by artists from Colombia, Switzerland and the United States, respectively, invites audiences to engage with a rarely visited part of the world: the Amazon rainforest. The art installations were created after artistic and field-research, and use a range of technologies drawn from scientific, digital, and indigenous knowledges. As part of this exhibition, a series of public programs will introduce the work by other artists who have also created work in the Amazon.

Also featured in this exhibition period is Rotterdam Cultural Histories #14: May 1968, a continuation of the longstanding program collaboratively produced between TENT and Witte de With. This edition focuses on the revolutionary times and spirit of May 1968, considered then, and still today, a turning point of our times. Documentary- and event-based, this exhibition presents an installation of the seven major Rotterdam newspapers and a series of public programs.

These exhibitions are curated by Sofia Hernández Chong Cuy and the Witte de With team: Samuel Saelemakers, curator; Rosa de Graaf, associate curator; and, Wendy van Slagmaat-Bos, production officer.

Finally, a note: At her appointment, Hernández Chong Cuy was given the task to address the name of the institution, which was questioned after a series of debates triggered by the project participants of Cinema Olanda: Platform at Witte de With last year. Since her tenure began, in January 2018, she initiated research and, at this stage, considers a politics of description. This is expressed in the exhibition titles.

Several events and programs take place throughout the year. For more information, please follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter or check our calendar.

A press pack with images for all exhibitions and biographies for all participating artists can be downloaded here. For press requests or for further information, please contact Jeroen Lavèn via [email protected] or call +31 10 411 01 44.