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Kunstinstituut Melly Rotterdam

Exhibitions Sasha Huber and Simon Fujiwara

Kunstinstituut Melly in Rotterdam presents two solo exhibitions this Spring and launches a long-term initiative staging art installations, new commissions, and event-based activities.

For her first solo exhibition in The Netherlands, artist Sasha Huber presents over a decade’s worth of work prompted by the cultural and political activist campaign Demounting Louis Agassiz. Founded in 2007 by Swiss historian Hans Fässler, the campaign seeks to redress the legacy of the Swiss-born naturalist and glaciologist Louis Agassiz (1807–1873).

As a member of the Demounting Committee, for her part, Huber has staged numerous interventions at terrestrial and extraterrestrial sites that bear his name, of which there are eighty in total. She uses performance, photography, and film, among other media, to investigate colonial residues left in the environment. As part of the exhibition, Huber sets out to un-name the Agassiz Ice Cap on Ellesmere Island in Nunavut––one of the largest in Canada at 21’000 km2––in collaboration with Inuit throat singers Cynthia Pitsiulak and Charlotte Quamaniq.

For his first solo exhibition in the Netherlands, artist Simon Fujiwara presents a large body of works on paper centered around his creation of an original cartoon character, Who the Bær. Fujiwara began drawing and collaging versions of his bear during the first 2020 lockdown in Berlin, developing the concept of a contemporary subject that exists as a ‘total image searching for a self in the world of images’. Who the Bær since developed into a large-scale project manifesting in drawings, collages, sculptures, animations, and animatronics.

Taking a cartoon subject as a simplified lens to look at image culture, Fujiwara’s absurdist creations reflect on the complex mechanisms of defining a self in an image-dominated world. For this exhibition, the artist returns to the origins of his project presenting a personal archive of over 100 drawings and ‘thinking works.’ Together, they show the various ways the artist uses Who as a cartoon avatar through which to explore the pleasures and traumas, violence, and joys of life in the mediated modern world. Who the Bær can also be followed via their Instagram account @whothebaer.


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Opening alongside these two solo-exhibitions is 84 STEPS, which occupies an entire floor of Kunstinstituut Melly. The initiative features projects at the intersection of art and education. This transformation of a white-cube gallery into a dynamic space for socializing art follows our 2018 makeover of the ground-floor gallery, MELLY. The name - 84 STEPS - marks the distance from the ground-floor to the third-floor galleries, where the initiative is sited.

84 STEPS features immersive art installations by Afra Eisma, The Feminist Health Care Research Group (Inga Zimprich), Moosje M Goosen and Daily Practice (Suzanne Weenink), Raja’a Khalid, Lisa Tan, Domenico Mangano & Marieke van Rooy, and Romily Alice Walden. Unfolding over the course of a year, the programming within these installations will give special attention to issues surrounding mental health. The opening program is MINDSCAPES, an online conference co-organized with SICK! Festival in Manchester, 22-23 April 2021.

Kunstinstituut Melly is the new name of the institution formerly known as Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art. Conceived as an art house in Rotterdam, our mission is to present and discuss the work created by visual artists from here and afar. The exhibition of Sasha Huber is co-produced in collaboration with The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto, Canada, and is organized by Rosa de Graaf from Kunstinstituut Melly and Justine Kohleal from The Power Plant.

The exhibition of Simon Fujiwara is curated by De Graaf. 84 STEPS is led by Sofia Hernández Chong Cuy and De Graaf, and programmed with Veronika Babayan, Jessy Koeiman, Emmelie Mijs, Aqueene Wilson, and Vivian Ziherl; it is organized by Wendy van Slagmaat-Bos.

Originally scheduled to open on 9 April 2021, these will open April 21st or until further notice due to Covid-19 national lockdown.

Kunstinstituut Melly

Witte de Withstraat 50