The Crime Was Almost Perfect

The Crime Was Almost Perfect

Kunstinstituut Melly

Courtesy of APFEL (London).

January 15, 2014

The Crime Was Almost Perfect
24 January–27 April 2014

Opening: Friday, 24 January, 5–8pm

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

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New façade, expanded exhibition space
As of 24 January 2014, our building at Witte de Withstraat 50 in Rotterdam has a new façade; a renovated entrance and reception area, and an expanded exhibition space on the ground floor to profile Witte de  With’s programs more prominently at street level. The Crime Was Almost Perfect is the first exhibition to present works in this exhibition space.

The Crime Was Almost Perfect
Although the link between art and crime can be traced back to ancient times, Thomas De Quincey explicitly theorized this connection in his notorious essay “On Murder Considered As One Of The Fine Arts” (1827). 

The nineteenth century also saw the growing importance of photography both in the development of criminology and in the new sensationalism of the tabloid press—two phenomena that popularized the genre of the detective story. Cinema soon became the perfect medium for capturing the dubious charm of violence and transforming it into pleasurable images. 

Following De Quincey’s ironic proposal to analyze murder from an aesthetic point of view, The Crime Was Almost Perfect is an exhibition that brings together over forty artists who cross the bridges linking art and  the aesthetics of crime and invokes the spirits of visual art, architecture, cinema, criminology, and the modern crime genre, transforming the rooms of Witte de With into multiple ‘crime scenes.’

Curated by Cristina Ricupero (curator and art critic, Paris)

Artists: Saâdane Afif, Kader Attia, Dan Attoe, Dirk Bell, Guillaume Bijl, Bik Van der Pol, Jean-Luc Blanc, Monica Bonvicini, Ulla von Brandenburg, Aslı Çavuşoğlu, Mike Cooter, François Curlet, Brice Dellsperger, Jason Dodge, Claire Fontaine, Gardar Eide Einarsson, Matias Faldbakken, Keith Farquhar, Dora Garcia, Douglas Gordon, Eva Grubinger, Richard Hawkins, Karl Holmqvist, Pierre Huyghe, Joachim Koester, Onkar Kular, Gabriel Lester, Erik van Lieshout, Jonas Lund, Jill Magid, Teresa Margolles, Fabian Marti, Han van Meegeren, Dawn Mellor, Rupert Norfolk, Raymond Pettibon, Emilie Pitoiset, Olivia Plender, Michael Portnoy, Julien Prévieux, Rodolphe Archibald Reiss, Lili Reynaud-Dewar, Aïda Ruilova, Allen Ruppersberg, Markus Schinwald, Jim Shaw, Noam Toran, Herwig Weiser

Public Programs

More Than Meets The Eye
Film program
Saturday 25 January (2:30pm, 4pm, 4:45pm) 
Location: Cinérama, Rotterdam 

Narration, suspense, voyeurism, and the relation between design and crime are played out in selected films by Lene Berg, Keren Cytter, Dias & Riedweg, Beatrice Gibson, Michael Portnoy, Nicolas Provost, Aïda Ruilova, Hans Schabus, Tobias Zielony, among others. This film program is presented in cooperation with the International Film Festival Rotterdam. 

Cui Bono? (To Whose Benefit?) 
A symposium pitting truth against legal procedure 
Saturday 29 March
Location: Auditorium, Witte de With

What is the law, and how does it function? How are its rules written, interpreted, and implemented across different contexts? Moreover, what is really at stake when we say a case is lost or won? Beginning with a keynote lecture on the historical development of the legal system and its machinery, this day-long symposium seeks to understand how legal procedures either facilitate or complicate normative notions of what is fair through a series of interpretive case studies.

Crime Does Pay! The Impact of Forensics on the Production and Perception of Art 
Master class 
Thursday 13 February, 10am–5pm
With Michael Zinganel (artist and writer, Vienna)

Design for Crime 
Master class 
Thursday 24 April, 10am–5pm
With Alexandra Midal (historian of design, Paris)

More details on the film program, symposium and master classes will be announced on

WdW Review
Building on its long history of framing and instigating debate, Witte de With presents WdW Review, an online platform aimed at informing our ever-expanding spheres of action in an age of constant reformations be they aesthetic, geographic, economic, communal, ecological, and even spiritual. The WdW Review app is now available for iPhone and iPad in the Apple Store.

Support for participating artists in The Crime Was Almost Perfect has been provided by Bundesministerium für Unterricht und Kunst (Vienna), Institut Français, Pro Helvetia, Office for Contemporary Art Norway, Outset Netherlands, SAHA and Sjöcrona Van Stigt Advocaten (Rotterdam).

The renovation of Witte de Withstraat 50 is supported by the Rotterdam City Council, Stichting Job Dura Fonds, OVG, Stichting Bevordering van Volkskracht, the G.Ph. Verhagen-Stichting and Bouwfonds Cultuurfonds.

Witte de With is supported by the city of Rotterdam and the Dutch Ministry of Culture.

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Kunstinstituut Melly
January 15, 2014

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