Saâdane Afif and Annette Kelm

Saâdane Afif and Annette Kelm

Kunstinstituut Melly

Saâdane Afif, Blue Time (Sunburst), detail, 2004
Courtesy: Galerie Michel Rein, Paris / Annette Kelm
Big Print #6 (Jungle Leaves -cotton twill 1947 design Dorothy Draper,
courtesy Schumacher &Co), 2007
Courtesy: Johann Koenig, Berlin

May 30, 2008

Saâdane Afif
Annette Kelm

13 June – 24 August

Saâdane Afif: Technical Specifications

Saâdane Afif practices a form of artistic delegation, creating an extensive network of commissions to artists, writers, designers and musicians. In 2004, he began inviting writers to create lyrics based upon his own sculptures and installations. These were presented in exhibitions as wall texts alongside Afif’s original works. He then gave these lyrics to musicians and commissioned them to write accompanying music. The resulting songs were played in gallery spaces and released on various CDs.

At Witte de With, in dialogue with the curators, Afif takes this process of translating his own work a step further. The exhibition consists of several new productions, each of which is an adaptation by Afif of a previous work. The exhibition’s title sets the parameters for this transformation: each new work is determined by the technical specifications of the original.

Visitors to Witte de With will also find radios playing a program of the works’ related songs, broadcast in a loop for the duration of the exhibition. The exhibition Technical Specifications is thus an implosion and explosion of Afif’s practice, as he simultaneously reduces his own works to the sum of their parts and opens them up to new readings, new formats and new audiences beyond the institution’s walls.

Annette Kelm

Opening the same evening, Witte de With presents a solo exhibition of new and existing works by the Berlin-based photographer Annette Kelm. This is the last installment in the series of shows-within-a-show presented within the “institutional zones” that Liam Gillick delineated with his architectural meta-structure, which has dominated the 2nd floor galleries since January.

Kelm’s photographs are at once sober and lyrical, displaying a conceptual bent and a subtle sense of humor. With intense visual clarity, she portrays objects dislocated from their usual context. Contrary to their apparent simplicity and reduced aesthetic, her images contain a wealth of references, from interior design and architecture, to Hollywood films or current day concerns with exoticism and global trade.

For this exhibition, Kelm has produced a new body of work exploring the pre-fabricated houses that emerged in Germany in the post-war years. Intrigued by the high level of ornamentation they display – quite at odds with usual notions of pre-fab architecture – Kelm photographed these houses using a 4×5 large format plate camera, a slow process with only one shot per plate. The resulting images treat each house as an object, but avoid a Becher-like categorization, capturing instead the poetic quality of these “Swiss” chalets and
“Swedish” villas.

Thursday 12 June
5 p.m. Tour of Annette Kelm’s exhibition by Nicolaus Schafhausen.
6 p.m. Opening begins.
7 p.m. Saâdane Afif in conversation with Sam Steverlynck (Gonzo magazine)

Both exhibitions are curated by Nicolaus Schafhausen and Zoë Gray and will be accompanied by a monograph to be published in the fall.

With thanks to: Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen e.V.; CULTURESFRANCE – Ministère des Affaires étrangères; Institut Français des Pays-Bas; Goethe Institut; Johann Koenig; Galerie Mehdi Chouakri; Galerie Michel Rein; Galerie Xavier Hufkens.


Continuing the highly successful Cornerstones lecture series, Witte de With welcomes two more key speakers this summer:
7 p.m. Thursday 5th June, Peter Osborne on Robert Smithson.
7 p.m. Thursday 3rd July, John C. Welchman on Mike Kelley.
Please see our website for the program continuing in September.

In May 2008 Witte de With, de Appel and the Fonds BKVB launched the bi-annual Prize for Young Dutch Art Criticism (De Prijs voor de Jonge Kunstkritiek). Please see the website for more details.


13 September – 26 October: William Hunt & Sung Hwan Kim
7 November – 8 February 2009: Ian Wallace

Witte de With, Center for Contemporary Art
Witte de Withstraat 50
3012 BR Rotterdam
The Netherlands
+31 10 411 0144

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Kunstinstituut Melly
May 30, 2008

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