artists: Anneke de Boer; Aloysius Donia; Florian Göttke; Hein Hage; Mathilde ter Heijne; Philippine Hoegen; Rob Johannesma; Jeroen Jongeleen; Laurent Malherbe; Aernout Mik; Jeroen Offerman; Vanessa Jane Phaff; Jan Rothuizen; Julika Rudelius; Gerco de Ruijter; Frank van der Salm; Peter Stel; Nasrin Tabatabai; Erik Wesselo; Edwin Zwakman
The catalogue accompanies the exhibition that Bartomeu Marí, director of Witte de With, center for contemporary art in Rotterdam has curated for Porto 2001, Cultural Capital. Taking a bilingual format, the catalogue (English / Portuguese) contains essays by Bartomeu Marí and Carel Blotkamp, professor of art history at the Free University of Amsterdam, plus entries and biographies about the participating artists.
The title of the exhibition refers to the Dutch democratic tradition whose legendary openness and tolerance are the product of an intense social organization, spreading over every aspect of government, interest groups and human relations. This organization even extends to the Dutch landscape, which is almost entirely manmade, deftly designed and maintained by innumerable committees and rules. Dutch art, rather than resisting this organizational impulse by seeking a new relation with nature, functions as its ironic corollary. Closing the gap between art and artifice, it replicates the landscape ideal in miniature, presents the choreography of human interaction and orchestrates an altogether alien nether-land in which it is possible “to present the unfathomable and think the unthinkable.”