Witte de With is pleased to present Morality.

While there are certain moral principles that are usually unquestioned (the right to life, for instance), morality remains ambivalent and amorphous in terms of the principles it provides for humans acting in the world. It is these amorphous areas, these gray zones, that this project seeks to address, particularly in how they form a difficult aspect of our reality today.

Morality is an invitation to reflect and debate situations in contemporary life that refuse clear distinctions between right and wrong, what is and what ought to be. As a whole, the Morality project has been defined by a desire – inherent to contemporary art – to open spaces for active, engaged forms of spectatorship that are not pre-determined by either moral or ideological imperatives.

Morality is a provocative theme, especially in a world that is now determined by the experiences of war, displacement, political and economic crises, the rise of religious stereotypes, and the radicalization of seemingly old doctrines and ideologies. Morality is also a broad subject that affects everybody in many different ways. From the bathroom to the parliament, there is a total field of social engagement in which morality functions without boundaries, between a set of abstract, intangible and general ideas. Morality is neither a base nor a superstructure, but a smooth network of influences that operates outside the law, governing both regulated and unregulated social spaces, and affecting daily lives in subtle, seductive, unexpected ways. Yet, there is not a unique or purely affirmative sense that one can give to this notion. A number of moral attitudes – often at odds with one another – inform the positions that, as political subjects, we assume vis-a-vis the events that take place in our world.

Seemingly simple, but also disturbingly difficult to grasp, morality is an ideal leitmotiv for a project that seeks to explore critical points of fragmentation in everyday life. Rather than presenting statements that can be perceived as being right or wrong, good or evil, the projectMorality will create a space for showing a wide range of attitudes that problematize a total conception of morality, focusing on the less tangible forces and attitudes that shape common thinking and behavior.

The year-long Morality program at Witte de With is structured as a series of interrelated acts that began in the Fall of 2009 and will run until November 2010. Online visitors may also participate by contributing to the web-platform. The Morality project has included six in-house exhibitions, the exhibition Nether Land at the Dutch Culture Centre for the Shanghai World Expo, a film cycle, a performance program, and facade projects by the Russian collective AES+F, Isa Genzken and Maider López. The current facade project by Ayse Erkmen is titled 15-5519.

—Supported by

Morality is generously supported by the Mondriaan Foundation and SNS REAAL Fonds.