This is reality is the graduation exhibition of the Piet Zwart Institute Master Fine Art class of 2022. This year, the exhibitions are installed in Showroom MAMA, UBIK and the S/ash Gallery, all located on or around the Witte de Withstraat in the centre of Rotterdam.

Artists: Andrea Celeste La Forgia, Emma van Noort, Grazia Gallo, Kate Price, Madeleine Ruggi, María José Crespo, Oliver Doe, Xiaofeini Liu, Samboleap Tol, Shertise Solano.

Curated by Kim de Haas

July 8 5–10pm / Open from July 9 till July 16 from 2–7pm (July 15 open until 9pm) / Closed: July 11 and 12.

Showroom MAMA – Witte de Withstraat 29 – 31, 3012 BL Rotterdam
UBIK – Boomgaardsstraat 69, 3012 XA Rotterdam
The S/ash Gallery – Boomgaardsstraat 69, 3012 XA Rotterdam

By Andrea Celeste La Forgia 

Performed by Andrea Celeste La Forgia, Silvia Arenas, Niloufar Nematollahi, Sarah Atzori, Tiago Santos, Linus Bonduelle
July 8 – 7.30 – 8pm and  July 9, 6.15 – 6.45pm at Showroom MAMA

I keep changing the way I have to address you
By Oliver Doe
July 8  (Duration variable)

Witnessing as a method of getting through gateways
By María José Crespo and Madeleine Ruggi
July 15 6pm – 6.45pm at Kunstinstituut Melly

Becoming an observer, then a mediator. Witnessing gains access to information around the realities and fictions of borders, territories, and the currencies and values which bodies are subjected to in these zones.

Madeleine Ruggi and María José Crespo draw together their separate processings of information within their artistic research by sharing ideas and working methodologies into an audiovisual performance presentation. The presentation will navigate different ways of collecting information, and the translation of found materials as research.

Where is my karaoke?
By Samboleap Tol
July 15, 6.40 – 6.55pm  at Kunstinstituut Melly

For this lecture performance, Tol has deviced a sonic and textual response to the prompt ‘Where is my karaoke?’. Through storytelling she takes us through her musical bicultural childhood, flashing back through different sonic memories and questions, out loud, how it all relates to her now.

This is reality and it was but a chat away

A real chat is hard to come by. Trust is in short supply. But trust is needed to get a chat going, and let it generate what may qualify as social reality.

Reality is trembling. Where desire, grief, and power are at stake, many demons populate society, pulling people together and apart. Orange letters rub up against their lavender grounds in Oliver Doe’s large canvases, boldly making viewers’ retinas vibrate as performers lingering nearby signal, to whom it appeals, a readiness to engage in the poetry of clandestinely scripted encounters. Seeds, plants, clay plate poetry for garden beds, and fermented vegetable paintings are elements Kate Price offers up as tokens of trust, inspiring a commitment to fostering future ecologies. In her paintings and videos, Shertise Solano summons the multidimensional beings her grandmother in Curaçao still knew how to converse with, and who, channeled afresh, voice unaccounted traumata and limitless powers arising from the recollected history of Black families.

Places of encounter are ripe with tensions. Grazia Gallo trusts sculpture to rebuild a sense of a home, where generations clash, as the family improvises in close quarters a state-imposed architecture of social housing, to keep spirits up, and claim dignity in everyday matters. María José Crespo takes you to the Tijuana border, and in her sculptural environments makes you feel the intensities governing a strip of land where police lights color reality red and blue on CCTV, and paths are blocked, but the will to get by asserts itself with full defiance. Meanwhile, at the Metal Exchange all things solid melt into air with a flick of a trader’s hand, as Madeleine Ruggi shows. Her installation portrays how capital puts its spell on materials, and turns heavy scrap into currency flowing through Rotterdam harbor. Tracking the current make-over of port city real estate, Emma van Noort messes with the building blocks of model architecture: her sculptures scramble its vocabulary and recast it in the spirit of high precision slapstick engineering.

Stories build worlds. Xiaofeini Liu calls a universe into being with few objects and words, as she recounts the fate of a Mice Folk leaving their Salt Marshes in search of a Sugar Book, a taste of which was prophesied to bring bliss. Universities, like factories, once promised a future. In her paintings and performance, Andrea Celeste La Forgia commemorates the toll workers pay when that promise is broken, and the mill of wage labor grinds away time and health. La Forgia paints from photos her mother sends of her factory work, and relays her stories of everyday sabotage. A better life cannot be built unless communal mourning prepares the ground. In this key Samboleap Tol addresses displacement and death, yet also parenting and spiritual practice in her paintings and sound installation. After colonial modernities have destroyed and uprooted countless lives, she observes, restless spirits abound who must be engaged for justice to come. Across multidimensional realities, liaising with ghosts can be done, says Tol: Chat with them daily!

Jan Verwoert

Image: courtesy of The PZI Archipelago (Urte Baranauskaite, Oliver Doe, Shiila Infriccioli)