WERE IT AS IF. Beyond An Institution That Is

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Whom does a contemporary art institute like Witte de With belong to? How are its stories told and untold? And could a staging of its exhibition history through traces, remains, and scars constitute an act of resistance against the tide of accumulation? This publication follows WERE IT AS IF by Bik Van der Pol as a case study and much more. Many-voiced, it enlists the power of fragments as points of provocation to engage with methodologies of the contemporary.


—Year Published


Defne Ayas, Bik Van der Pol

Defne Ayas, Bik Van der Pol, Manuel Borja-Villel, Marianna Hovhannisyan, Brian Kuan Wood, Doreen Mende, Peter Osborne, Elizabeth A. Povinelli, Samuel Saelemakers, Terry Smith, Ana Teixeira Pinto

Associate Editors
Maria-Louiza Ouranou, Samuel Saelemakers

Editorial Advisor & Copy Editor
Tyler Considine

Publication Coordinator
Maria-Louiza Ouranou

Bardhi Haliti

Bob Goedewaagen (164–79)
Aad Hoogendoorn (1–13, 35, 37–8, 41–42, 71–72, 77–79, 105–8, 115, 129–30, 133–4, 139–141)
Jos van der Pol (14–16, 33, 36, 39–40, 43–44, 47–48, 65–70, 73–76, 80, 93–104, 109–114, 116, 125–28, 131–32, 135–38, 142–56, 192–290)

Cover photo
Two cardboard scale models of the Witte de With exhibition spaces by Paul van Gennip, used as a display module and storage unit for various remnants of past exhibitions and projects.

Printed & bound at
UNICUM | Gianotten Printed Media

Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam, the Netherlands


All rights reserved.
© the artists, the writers, and Witte de With, Rotterdam, 2017.

Thank you
Dennis Adams, Anke Bangma, Ed de Meijere, Eline Kersten, Marjolijn Kok (Archive), line kramer, Antoni Muntadas, Arnold Schalks, Frederike Sperling (Curatorial Project Assistant), Paul van Gennip (Deputy Director, Witte de With/Parrhesiast), Barbera van Kooij, Jack van Mildert, Jozef van Rossum

Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art is supported by The city of Rotterdam (DKC) and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW).

This publication is supported by
Mondriaan Fonds

This publication follows the exhibition WERE IT AS IF by artists Bik Van der Pol at Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam (27 May–21 August 2016), curated by Defne Ayas and Samuel Saelemakers.