Rotterdam is often touted as the most ethnically and culturally diverse city in the Netherlands, and one of the most diverse in Europe, but also as an ever-changing city, as a place under constant construction. How can this condition be perceived and, furthermore, articulated? Since the fall of 2007, Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art has produced a series of books focused on Rotterdam, each showcasing the vision of an artist mainly working with photography or video, who has a strong relationship to the city. Cumulatively, this loose series of artists’ books continues to bring into focus Rotterdam’s very different urban protagonists.
Erik van Lieshout’s Rotterdam Zuid—Home is the fifth volume in the series and one in which the focus shifts to a particular area: Rotterdam South. Van Lieshout is an artist who is often known for his controversial video installations and drawings that traverse the edges of vulgarity and the most uncensored realities of society, with a particular interest in the Netherlands and, more specifically, Rotterdam. Populist yet critical at its core, Van Lieshout’s work has the knack of, all in good humor, putting his viewer at an unease that makes us ultimately realize the gravity of the subject at hand and more crucially, give us insight into the logic and thinking of mentalities depicted. It is this peculiar perspective that Van Lieshout puts forth in this publication. Stepping away from the artist-catalogue format, this publication has been conceived as an artwork in itself.
The structure of the publication takes as a starting point, a bike tour organized by Witte de With Center for Contemporary in collaboration with ArchiGuides Rotterdam for which Van Lieshout was invited to select specific locations throughout the city that were relevant or meaningful in the production of his work. With this framework in mind, the publication opens with a mapping of the city where selected sites refer to the shooting location of one (or more) of the artist’s films.
Each essay is inspired by one of Van Lieshout’s film to give a perspective on the city and the role of the artist in society: journalist Ivo van Woerden’s article ‘Art Infection’ investigates the opinions of the protagonists in Van Lieshout’s Janus (2012) and their relationships to the production of artworks. Whereas professor Erika Balsom’s essay ‘Chronicles of a Summer at Zuidplein’ analyzes the use of video as a medium for depicting social realities and the artist’s particular style of working in Commission(2011).
Complemented by a meticulous design conceived by Remco van Bladel, this publication Rotterdam Zuid – Home in the end functions as homage to the people of the city of Rotterdam, a city often faced with misconceptions.
Erik van Lieshout
Defne Ayas, Amira Gad, Suzanne Weenink
Erika Balsom, Antoinette Laan, Ivo van Woerden
Solange de Boer
Translation into Dutch
Translation into English
Amira Gad, Suzanne Weenink
Aad Hoogendoorn, Erik van Lieshout, Jannes Linders, Suzanne Weenink
Remco van Bladel
Printed & bound at
Drukkerij Lecturis bv, Eindhoven
Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art
Rotterdam, The Netherlands
All rights reserved. © the artist, authors and Witte de With, Rotterdam, 2014.
Published with the support of:
Centrum Beeldende Kunst, Rotterdam
Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art is supported by:
The city of Rotterdam (DKC) and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW).
Special thanks to: Mariska Planken, ArchiGuides (Léon van Geest and Rutger van der Graaf), and the Witte de With staff.