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PRESS RELEASE Life, Once More - Forms of Reenactment in Contemporary Art Guest curator: Sven Lütticken January 27 – March 28, 2005 Opening: Thursday, January 27, 6 p.m. From January 27 to March 28, 2005, guest curator Sven Lütticken is presenting a group exhibition with the title Life, Once More that explores the notion of “reenactment" in the spaces of Witte de With, center for contemporary art. In Life, Once More, recordings and documentation of reenactments of performances are coupled with artistic reflection on forms of reenactment that seem to take place outside the strictly artistic domain. Life, Once More includes work by Bik Van der Pol, Mike Bidlo, Rod Dickinson, Omer Fast, Robert Longo, Eran Schaerf, Catherine Sullivan, and Barbara Visser. The term “reenactment” is most familiar because of live reconstructions of historic events, often military in nature, but in recent years, reenactment has increasingly been employed in the visual arts as well, from a viewpoint of artistic strategy. While in 1950 Jackson Pollock was confronted with an innovation (which he found intolerable) when he saw his existential “act” transformed into “acting” (when he had to “play” the action painter on command in front of the camera of Hans Namuth), since the 1990s it has been artists who consciously assume the role of actor and reenact historic performances. Examples of this include projects such as A Little Bit of History Repeated at KunstWerke, Berlin (2001), and A Short History of Performance Art at the Whitechapel Art Gallery, London (2002/2003). Besides the memories of the audience present that are associated with a factual staging of a classic performance, there is documentation in the form of photographs and other recordings. What exactly is being re-performed with a reenactment – is it the original happening or a representation of it? And is it not the fate of reenactment to eventually become a registration as well, as a representation in the form of film, photo, or video? In this situation, some artists regard the popular reenactment of historic battles and “living history” museums as models that must be analyzed and criticized. Performative art is thus a doubling and a critical questioning of a nostalgic event culture; it is an attempt to combat repetition with repetition, in order to break open and activate the past. Life, Once More presents new works by Bik Van der Pol and Eran Schaerf. Life, Once More includes the première of the first part of Bik Van der Pol’s Past Imperfect. Based on people who, in one way or another, have disappeared from the public gaze (e.g. Lee Lozano or Bas Jan Ader), the Past Imperfect installation for Witte de With will be centered on the character Howard Hughes, the legendary aviator and film producer. Eran Schaerf will show a new version of his Scenario Data (# 39). The artists Rod Dickinson, Omer Fast, Bik Van der Pol, and Eran Schaerf, as well as the guest curator, will be in Rotterdam in the week prior to the opening. If you are interested in speaking to or interviewing one or more of these participants, please contact Witte de With. A publication with texts by Jennifer Allen, Bik Van der Pol, Andrea Fraser, Sven Lütticken, Peggy Phelan, Eran Schaerf, and Barbara Visser is appearing in conjunction with the exhibition.

Witte de With, center for contemporary art, Witte de Withstraat 50, 3012 BR, Rotterdam Tel. +31 (0)10-411 0144, fax +31 (0)10-411 7924, e-mail:,

SIDE PROGRAM Life, Once More - Forms of Reenactment in Contemporary Art January 27 – March 27, 2005 Exploding Cinema From February 4 to 6, a series of performances, debates, and film presentations will take place during the Exploding Cinema program, curated by Sven Lütticken in the auditorium of TENT. and Witte de With. Daily from 15.00 - 17.00 hours. Free entrance. Februari 4: Barbara Visser : Screening and discussion. The video Lecture on Lecture with Actress (2004) by Barbara Visser reflects on an earlier work by the artist, in which an actress gave an artist's talk as Barbara Visser, while Visser told her what to say through an earpiece. Barbara Visser will show a special version of the video and discuss her artistic practice, with its questioning of common conceptions concerning the boundaries between fact and fiction and between reality and representation. Februari 5: Catherine Sullivan in discussion with Tom Holert Catherine Sullivan combines two scandals within the history of theater and performance art in a work titled ’Tis Pity She's a Fluxus Whore (2003): A 1943 version of John Ford's ’Tis Pity she's a Whore’ and the 1964 Fluxus festival in Aachen. Parts of the Fluxus happening and of Ford's play are performed by one actor, sometimes in the “wrong” style of performance. Tom Holert is a critic and theorist based in Berlin. A frequent contributor to magazines such as Texte zur Kunst and Artforum, in 2004 Holert also curated the exhibition The Future has a Silver Lining: Genealogies of Glamour at the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst in Zurich. Februari 6: Screening of a new film by Eva Meyer and Eran Schaerf, flashforward (2004) Since 1997 art theoretician Eva Meyer and artist Eran Schaerf have been collaborating on films and radio plays. Their new essay film flashforward (2004) employs an unusual roster of actors (from Elfriede Jelinek and artist Suchan Kinoshita to Bert and Ernie) to develop the idea of the “flashforward” and to praise the passion for and of the possible. Both Meyer and Schaerf will be present at the screening. Film evening Life, Once More On Wednesday evenings every other week during the exhibition, a selection of (historical) reenactments in film and the visual arts will be presented. The screenings include films by Peter Watkins (Culloden, 1964), Jeremy Deller (The Battle of Orgreave, 2001), Ant Farm (Eternal Frame, 1976), and Harun Farocki and Andrei Ujica (Videogramme einer Revolution, 1992). Of particular interest is the Dutch release of the film Flash Forward, a co-production by Eran Schaerf (also a participant in the Life, Once More exhibition) and Eva Meyer. Please visit Witte de With’s website for the latest information:

TENT. shows within the framework of Exploding Cinema murmur, a groupshow made in association with curator Edwin Carels. The murmur topic is elaborated in a series of dialogues, entitled Chinese Whispers from 28 January to 1 February. Daily from 15.00 - 17.00 hours in the auditorium. Free entrance. [link TENT. ??]

Opening hours: Tuesday – Sunday, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. (during the Film Festival we are open seven days a week) Admission: € 2.30 (Witte de With and TENT.) Discount: € 1.10 (<18, Students, CJP, Groups >10, MJK, 65+) Free: <6, CKV, Rotterdampas Witte de With, center for contemporary art, Witte de Withstraat 50, 3012 BR, Rotterdam Tel. +31 (0)10-411 0144, fax +31 (0)10-411 7924, e-mail:,

Life Once More Press ENG  

Life Once More Press ENG