A Place to go (to): Melanchotopia – between melancholy and utopia

3 September–27 November 2011. Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art
Witte de Withstraat 50
3012 BR Rotterdam

«Witte de With’s Melanchotopia is an exhibition that invites more than forty international artists to work with private and semi-public venues in the city-center of Rotterdam—places where people live, learn and work—to activate their potential as spaces for ideas, debate and invention. The exhibition addresses the very fundamental question: What makes a city livable? With this project, we invite the inhabitants of Rotterdam and their guests to join us in exploring new ways of experiencing public life today.
From large-scale interventions to very simple gestures, Melanchotopia supports a range of artistic practices that go beyond the classic approach of displaying art in public space. Transcending traditional venues for public art, the show reaches out and provokes dialogue by inserting art in everyday contexts: in supermarkets, offices, schools. By deliberately choosing such familiar environments, the project reiterates the vital role that art can play in shaping a thriving civil society.
Working with the existing dynamics of the city, Witte de With reveals the many layers of daily life in Rotterdam, creating a rich framework for subjective encounters. Melanchotopia is an exhibition about the multiple individual realities of Rotterdam, a city that seems to be on hold, caught between its past and its future: filled with nostalgia for the pre-war city, while waiting for the completion of the utopian future, which is perpetually stalled in unfinished developments and reconstructions.»