“All the children will go to sleep, adults will marvel at each other and at an invisible object in the future, asking each other “How do we know if we are still alive?”; the radio will be playing Marvin Gaye (he always sits on one of the shelves upstairs(1)) and a blown up paper toy by Viktorija Rybakova will swirl around Jef Geys’ writings(2); It is 1993(3) and 2016 at once, or perhaps twice, in the same room, in the split gaze; Like that film shot from the perspective of someone whose identity multiplies or changes half way. “How many times you’ve been dead?” one may ask.”

R. Malašauskas

1 On the first floor landing, gracing a window looking into Witte de With’s offices, stands a vinyl record of Marvin Gaye’s hit single What’s Going On (1971). The record has been standing there for over twenty years; the song is the on-hold music for Witte de With’s telephone line.

2 “The words I am writing are mirrored in the red balls on the imaginary Christmas tree which is not in my hotel room in Bredene aan Zee. They assume shapes which even I can barely recognize: “black” is powdered with artificial snow, and “valid” rotates slowly round the tree’s green tip. “Division of labor” is reflected by the stomach of the pink-and-white mannequin onto the pale yellow fake straw before the words fade away between the ox and the ass. Mary’s blue cloak swallows up “working week” and “condensation,” and “demo” glides from one imitation pearl to another.”
Jef Geys, What are we going to read tonight?, Cahier #2, Witte de With Publishers, 1994

3 The 1993 exhibition Wat eten wij vandaag? (What Are We Having for Dinner Tonight?) at Witte de With was associated with the fifth Architecture International Rotterdam manifestation, whose theme was the postwar residential areas built in Rotterdam’s Alexanderpolder neighborhood. Jef Geys’s project commented on the abstract way architects, urban planners and politicians tend to think about the urban environment.

By inviting nine families from Alexanderpolder to contribute to his exhibition, Geys let the residents have their own say about the area they inhabit. The project was realized with the cooperation of the families Bast, Battes and Risse, De Bruin, Diepstraten, Groot and Van Halem, Roodbeen and Boode, Van Schouwen, Sevenhuijsen, and Verkade.

In the exhibition, the families presented photographs of their living area. Each evening, throughout the entire exhibition period, one of the nine participating families was filmed having dinner and broadcasted by the local television station.

Sculpture by Viktorija Rybakova
Photograph by Bob Goedewaagen

In Light Of 25 Years

Presented as part of In Light Of 25 Years, this project celebrates Witte de With’s 25th anniversary. For In Light Of 25 Years, ten artists and curators each create an image-based work that analyzes certain sediments of contemporary art history, departing from Witte de With’s archive.