artist / participant


press release

An on-ongoing installation, an exhibition, multiple encounters and ‘Causeries’, rehearsals and a play.

Witte de With, Center for Contemporary Art presents the on-site realization of The Humans, a theatrical play that aims to ‘create a new world' by visual artist and writer Alexandre Singh. This project, on view from 26 April to 28 October 2012, came into being after seven years of correspondence between Alexandre Singh and Defne Ayas, Witte de With’s newly appointed director.

The Humans – with ‘creation' as its central theme – is set before the Earth’s beginning in a proto-world populated by spirits, gods, artisans and men of clay and plaster, The Humans is modelled after the ancient Greek plays of Aristophanes. Whilst the theatrical references are ancient, the satire is utterly modern: religion, morality and human hubris are all mocked with an irreverent and biting tone.

Leading up to the final live presentation of his play, Singh will transform Witte de With's second floor into a part artist's studio, part script-room and part display area; where visitors will be able to follow the development of this ambitious play. This on-site realization of the artwork allows the audience to gain a unique insight into the inner dynamics of artistic creation. The process of makingThe Humans will also be embodied in a growing display of the props that Singh produces whilst working within the walls of the institution. By pursuing the opportunity to actively engage with the artist's work, the aim is not only to forge a collaboration between experts coming from different disciplines that will inform and be informed, inspire and be inspired by the artworks on view but also to interface with theatre groups, youth choirs, set designers, prop-makers and costume-designers.

The Humans will evolve and change over a six-month period and include a variety of formats from exhibition, presentations, rehearsals to discursive events that are informed by the props to be produced on site.

Witte de With welcomes art enthusiasts across the spectrum as well as scholars such as classicists and students over the course of the project, to follow the making-of and development of the play. And also to engage, take part in or simply converse with the artist, join the process, and visit this on-going and changing production more than once!

First manifestation: Friday 1 and Saturday 2 June 2012 Kick-off of ‘Causeries' as part of Witte de With’s School Of School Concurrent with The Humans, Singh 's ongoing production is to inform Witte de With’s upcoming series of public programs and act as a main point of inspiration to the lectures, seminars and classroom discussions that will be held as part of Witte de With’s School Of School (26 April - ongoing). The tailored courses and workshops will engage The Humans as to further activate reflection on the subject-matters underlying Singh’s work and explore key concepts and people including: creation mythologies, the poetry of Hesiod, the work of Jonathan Swift, Aristophanes, satire and dance. The kick-off weekend on 1 and 2 June will be organized, in collaboration with critic and writer Donatien Grau.

About Alexandre Singh Alexandre Singh (1980) is a visual artist and writer based in New York. Singh, who was born in Bordeaux, France to Indian and French parents was brought up in Manchester, UK before studying Fine Art at the University of Oxford, UK. Singh’s work derives at once from traditions in literature, performance, photo-conceptualism and object-based installation art. Often starting with elaborate, publicly presented lectures that blend historical fact with narrative fiction, Singh’s practice resists categorization. His work has been exhibited in venues throughout Europe and the United States including The Serpentine Gallery, London; New Museum, New York; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Palais de Tokyo, Paris and Sprüth Magers, Berlin. Singh’s work is held by a number of private and public collections including MoMA, New York and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.

Alexandre Singh
The Humans