Category Archives: Netherlands

Exhibition: Informality: Art, economics, precarity

Art, economics, precarity
14 August–2 October 2011

Stedelijk Museum Bureau
Rozenstraat 59
1016 NN Amsterdam
The Netherlands

Open: Tuesday to Sunday, 11 a.m.–5 p.m.
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The exhibition ‘Informality’ arises from the increasing attention being given to the role of banks in our economy, and the interest in alternatives to their role. It is also a first reflection on the role of art and artists in an atmosphere of crisis and cuts in cultural funding.

‘Informality’ focuses specifically on the concept of the informal economy. The informal economy is that part of commercial and the service sector that operates outside of the circuit of formal financial transactions—and thus is hidden from the sight of the Revenue Service and other governmental institutions that control business and economic affairs, and the banks themselves. In the West the informal economy makes up about 11% of the total economy. On other continents, such as Africa and Latin America, but also in former East Bloc countries, the informal economy often makes up the largest part of the total economy.

‘Informality’ examines the phenomenon from the perspective of art, involving certain informal aspects of the art world itself in doing so, including the precarious position of the artist in society.

The Domestic Workers Union (a section of the Dutch Trade Union Congress) is one of the parties responsible for the creation of the Trash Museum, which was unveiled earlier this year, to commemorate the great cleaner’s strike of 2010. The artist Matthijs de Bruijne and the designers at Detour were called in to assist in its realization. The project is an example of a campaign that was an outcome of what is called the organizer’s model: a labor union campaign built from the bottom up, rather than directed from the top down. For ‘Informality’ the cleansers were asked to supply notes about their work—analogous to the domestic memos on refrigerators and kitchen counters that are often the only form of communication between them and their bosses.

The informal economy is in a certain sense related to the concept of ‘informal art’, as is the case with sculptures made of discarded or reused objects and thus connected with the visible recycling strategies in informal economies. The contribution by Kaleb de Groot consists of recycling his own work and the contents of a small, neglected storage room at SMBA. Among the things De Groot includes are the publications which were lying there, discarded exhibition materials, and even the remains of what must once have been art objects.

The Spanish artist Marc Roig Blesa bases his Werker series on the representation of the worker, and the history of the representation of workers. With the aid of the designer Rogier Delfos this has led to a variety of publications and other graphic expressions. For ‘Informality’ Roig Blesa focuses on several artists and their kaleidoscopic blend of sidelines in fields outside the art world. Roig Blesa and Delfos appropriate this material for an idiosyncratic series of posters.

In the video It’s not you, it’s me by the British/American artist Doug Fishbone we see the artist speaking, trying to convince the viewer to make a financial contribution toward bankrolling a new project, a film. An artist will do anything to be able to realize his work.

The Mexican Jose Antonio Vega Macotela worked a total of 365 days on an exchange with the inmates of the Santa Martha Acatitla Prison in Mexico City. The prisoners could make their wishes known to the artist regarding tasks they wanted to have done outside the prison, which he then performed. In exchange Macotela asked the prisoners to perform a specific assignment for him, which resulted in a work which then became his property.

Senam Okudzeto presents a part of her installation Capitalism and Schizophrenia. The work is based on the contents of a Swiss apartment that was abandoned when its resident fled from Interpol. His lodgings proved to contain a vast archive of not only of his own notes but also of hundreds of self-help books of the ‘how I got rich’ variety, written by respected representatives of high finance. Among the things found there were documents pointing to a scam, in the form of a protracted e-mail correspondence from the criminal with a victim/collaborator in a fraud case, the owner of a Dutch lumber business.

SMBA Newsletter
SMBA Newsletter nr. 123 has appeared to accompany ‘Informality’. It contains a brief introduction to the exhibition in Dutch and English. It is available at the exhibition and can be downloaded at

In addition, SMBA together with the artist Matthijs de Bruijne is organizing an evening with presentations by artists and groups for whom this quest for greater social solidarity is central.

The precise date of this presentation will be announced later.

Suggested other exhibitions and projects
-Stroom Den Haag: Time/Bank and Time/Store,
-Casco, Utrecht: Grand Domestic Revolution,
-De Appel, Amsterdam: Genius without Talent,

‘Informality’ has been organized as part of Project ‘1975’ and made possible by the Mondriaan Foundation and the Amsterdam Fund for the Arts

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Exhibition: The End of Money

Witte de With
Center for Contemporary Art
Witte de Withstraat 50
3012 BR Rotterdam
The Netherlands

Witte de With is pleased to present two events in May: The opening of the group exhibition The End of Money and the first two lectures in the series To Tell The Truth.

Group exhibition
22 May–7 August 2011

Saturday 21 May 2011 (6 to 9 pm)
Performance by Goldin+Senneby at 7 pm

Film Screening
Sunday 26 June 2011 (12 to 6 pm)

The End of Money is a group exhibition about time and value. Bringing together works by a host of international artists, this exhibition reflects upon the fears, hopes, and expectations associated with the end of money and its ominous consequence: the dissolution of an absolute standard of value.

What limits does the economy impose on our collective imagination, and how is the collective imagination responsible for the current economy? The End of Money focuses on the multiple relationships that could and those that should exist between culture and economy. Informing this curatorial project is the utopian notion that, in a world without money—a world where money has been factored out of the collective memory, other suppressed forms of value may emerge, leading to another social bond and a different relationship to time.

The works included in The End of Money range from reflections on the arbitrary ways in which value is ascribed to things to explorations of the absolute loss of representative value. Some of the featured works highlight time, which is a persistent corollary of money in our efficiency-obsessed culture.

Alexander Apostol; Pierre Bismuth; Peter Fischli & David Weiss; Zachary Formwalt; Goldin+Senneby; Hadley+Maxwell; Toril Johannessen; Vishal Jugdeo; Agnieszka Kurant; Matts Leiderstam; Maha Maamoun; Christodoulos Panayiotou; Lili Reynaud-Dewar; Tomas Saraceno; Tonel; Vangelis Vlahos; and Lawrence Weiner.

Curated by
Juan A. Gaitán; assisted by Amira Gad.

To accompany the exhibition, a digital publication will be made available for free download via in July 2011 and will feature texts by: Dessislava Dimova, Donatien Grau, Dieter Roelstraete, and Carolina Sanin.

• Every Wednesday and Sunday, 3 pm: tours for individuals in English or Dutch. Free excluding exhibition entry price. No reservation necessary.
• Tours are available for groups of 10 to 15 people.

Witte de With Education offers ‘art confrontations,’ interactive tours for schools and universities.

Supported by
OCA, Pro Helvetia: Swiss Arts Council, Cypriot Ministry of Education & Culture. With thanks to the Fonds BKVB.

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Exhibition/Event: Test_Lab: What Crisis?!

Test_Lab: What Crisis?!
9 July 2009
V2 – Institute for the Unstable Media
Rotterdam, Netherlands

Featuring: David Hahlbrock (DE) Academy of Media Arts Cologne, Cesar Harada (FR/JP), Dot Mancando (TH), Thomas Thwaites (UK) Royal College of Art, Sander Veenhof (NL) Gerrit Rietveld Academy.
Opening: Mieke Gerritzen
Respondent: Koert van Mensvoort
Performance: TokTek vs VJ MNK

“Newspaper headlines report that our world is in crisis, but while the front page illustrates how bad the global situation is, a few pages down, positive tongues claim that the current global crisis provides us with unprecedented opportunities for creative technological innovation, social transformation, revisions of financial systems, environmental change, and entrepreneurship. But did we really need this crisis to generate these opportunities?! We think not. Our world is continuously in crisis, and therefore constantly requires critical reflection and rethinking. However, as the world’s future is said to be in the hands of the truly creative and critical thinkers, we are more than willing to soothe away any worries about the crisis by revealing a whole new generation of artists’ and designers’ views on the current state of affairs.

While elsewhere the crisis is being tackled by young scientists, policy makers, and entrepreneurs, through initiatives such as think tanks and campaigns, in this edition of Test_Lab, V2_ will create its own special think tank for young artists to address issues of a world in crisis with artistic reflection and creative vision. In order to do so, V2_ has made a selection of several outstanding graduation projects from this past academic year, that were proposed for the program by teachers and coordinators from various European art and design academies. The demonstrated works will lay out a young generation’s artistic view on our current conditions and ways of living: Featuring a truly objective coin-flipper, a revolutionary strategy for urban gardening, the first ever open source international ocean station, toast from a toaster made from scratch, and an interactively controlled greenhouse for growing graduation bouquets.”

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Exhibition: Weak Signal Wild Cards

Exhibition on Futurology in Amsterdam

Weak Signals, Wild Cards – an exhibition and a day of talks and performances.

Opening: 7pm, Friday 26th June 2009
Light refreshments will be served.

Exhibition: 12–6pm, Wed-Sun 27th June–27th July 2009
Talks & performances: 2–8pm, Sunday 28th June 2009

Venue: Shell Kantine, Shell Terrain, Tolhuisweg, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Weak Signals, Wild Cards is a commissioning project and exhibition by the participants of de Appel Curatorial Programme 08/09. Set in Amsterdam Noord, it invites ten artists and a number of speakers from other fields to react to the given plans for the area and conjure a set of alternative futures. The artists have created works for and from their envisioned future contexts, while the speakers will foretell their imagined futures of Amsterdam Noord, from the perspectives of their expertise.

The title of this project uses two terms from futurology. Weak signals form a pattern of phenomena that serves as an indicator of possible future developments. Wild cards refer to events that are difficult to predict but have a high impact. We are not alone in attempting to predict a future: Amsterdam Noord is currently faced with a bevy of visions of its imminent regeneration. The predictions being made revolve dizzyingly around of the ‘Creative City’, which implicates not only artists but an expanded creative subjectivity in its conception of a society made up of self-reliant, resourceful individuals on a constant quest for self-improvement. This combined vision of the future ‘Creative City’ is so strongly anticipated and visualised that one gets the feeling that one could already inhabit the space of this mirage.

Yet the criticality of the current global economic circumstances provides an opportunity to not only to question, but also to remake the foundations being laid. If the conditions on which urban regeneration is based no longer hold fast, it becomes necessary to rethink what other kinds of urban structures, environments, and imagined communities might be possible. What spoken and unspoken social and economic roles are currently presumed to be played by art in the ‘Creative Industries’ and their commissioning processes in city development? In the light of the current economic uncertainty, what other kinds of future communities are possible beyond those envisioned by private property developers? What kind of public artwork would be made for these imagined communities, and under what conditions would it be produced?

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