7 April 2019 – 31 December 2021

Since 2018, this gallery space of Formerly known as Witte de With has been used as a site for displays and events. It also functions as bookshop and classroom. These developments on site developed in connection with an initiative on collective learning, which, among other things, entails a work/study program designed for Rotterdam youth. The first edition of this program took place from September 2018 to February 2019. It involved nine participants, and it thematically centered on identity issues, hospitality and entrepreneurship. As part of the program, the participants were tasked to propose a new identity for the space. They proposed naming it MELLY, towards creating a more welcoming environment and conversation-based program.

Some months ago, the participants presented this identity proposal to twelve visual artists, who were commissioned in turn to create a poster diptych or, alternatively, two posters in response. Their posters are here exhibited, and can also be purchased—all proceeds benefiting programs at MELLY. Also presented here is an archival display about the solo-exhibition of Ken Lum at the institution, which included the billboard Melly Shum Hates Her Job, and which, since 1990, still hangs on this building’s façade. This billboard inspires the identity of this space, and ultimately addresses emotional experiences about work. The program participants visually interpret the billboard as a proto-meme, and, conceptually, as a subject of collective experience.

MELLY was named by Gizem Adanur, Chloé Blansjaar, Tayler Calister, Mohamed Chajid, Sjoerd van Kampen, Stijn Kemper, Eva Langstraat, Joy Ravenswaaij and Sytze van der Wolk.

Download the press release.