Dineo Seshee Bopape — Lerole: footnotes (The struggle of memory against forgetting)

Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam, Netherlands
20 Oct 2017 - 18 Feb 2018

Dineo Seshee Bopape, ...struggle of memory against forgetting, 2017. Photo: Lisa Rastl.

Dineo Seshee Bopape, ...struggle of memory against forgetting, 2017. Photo: Lisa Rastl.

Para | Fictions, the two-year cycle of commissions that takes as its focus the relationship between literature and visual art at Witte de With’s ground floor gallery, concludes with an installation by artist Dineo Seshee Bopape.

Dineo Seshee Bopape is known for structuring her narratives through material and immaterial presences. For her latest work, Bopape takes cues from author James Baldwin’s influential lyrical prose and writing. Lerole: footnotes (The struggle of memory against forgetting) is an installation that meditates upon recorded pre-colonial revolts and acts of resistance against European invasion in Africa. In Dineo Seshee Bopape’s words, “this work is a meditation on time, ‘memory’, spirit and ‘no’, an ephemeral monument, a gesture made in commemoration of those acts and beings.”

The installation is comprised of bricks, gold leaf, and a sound composition made of collected recordings of the resplendent quetzal bird, mythologically known as the bird that commits suicide when held in captivity. The calls of the quetzal are mixed with sounds of the bodies of water that cradle and surround the African continent, as well as those that snake through its mass. Fired clumps of clay, formed with the artist’s own hands, stand as tangible remnants of the exertion of energy, of agency, the potential to ‘DO’.

“We look forward to the healing encounter that Dineo Seshee Bopape will be mediating on our site, especially between the historical, the spiritual, and the biological” said Defne Ayas, Director of Witte de With. “We were drawn to her nuanced and delicate work at the sixth edition of the Marrakech Biennale last year and are thrilled by working with her this year in Rotterdam to place a bookend to our Para | Fictions series.”

Opening: Thursday 19 October, 6 – 8 pm,
Artist talk with Dineo Seshee Bopape and Defne Ayas (Director Witte de With), 7 pm.



Dineo Seshee Bopape (Polokwane, South-Africa, 1981) is known for her experimental video montages, sculptural installations, paintings, and found objects. She graduated at De Ateliers in Amsterdam (2007) and completed an MFA at Columbia University, New York (2010). She is the winner of the Future Generation Prize 2016, and the recipient of Columbia University’s Toby Fund Award (2010). Her work has been featured in solo exhibitions at Art in General, New York (2016); Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2016); Hayward Gallery, London (2015); Hordaland Kunstsenter, Bergen (2015); August House, Johannesburg (2014); Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town (2013, 2011); and Mart House Gallery, Amsterdam (2010). Her work has also been included in group exhibitions at the Marrakech Biennale 6, Marrakech (2016); La Biennale de Montréal (2015); Bienial de São Paulo (2016); Tate Modern, London (2015); The Jewish Museum, New York (2015); Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia (2014); Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam (2014); and Biennale de Lyon (2013).

Para | Fictions is a two-year cycle of sustained investigations taking as its focus the relationship between literature and visual art through the practice of ten artists (2016-2017). Each project on display promises to present a different artistic methodology, which constitutes a combination of each artist’s visual interests and literary underpinnings, to seek the viability of repositioning ‘reference’ as ‘form’, and ‘translation’ as ‘co-authorship’. The Para | Fictions series has been provoked by the particular correspondences of literature and visual arts in contemporary culture; a landscape made up of disparate yet relatable topographies of influence branching into fiction as a research methodology, and theoretical discourse around the fictional nature of the contemporary itself. Para | Fictions team: Defne Ayas (Director), Natasha Hoare (Curator), Samuel Saelemakers (Curator). Lerole: footnotes (The struggle of memory against forgetting) is curated by Defne Ayas, together with Patrick C. Haas (Associate curator).

A publication dedicated to the series will be released by Witte de With Publishers in 2018, with contributions that respond to the work of each commissioned artist by, amongst others, Evan Calder Williams, Jean Max Colard, Deanna Havas, Aaron Peck, Samuel Saelemakers, Timotheus Vermeulen, and Robin van der Akker, along with an introduction by Defne Ayas. The publication is edited by Natasha Hoare and designed by Kristin Metho.

Para | Fictions is supported by AMMODO.


Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art is an international public institution with Rotterdam as its home base. Established in 1990, Witte de With explores developments in contemporary art worldwide. Witte de With has been commenting on the social and political predicament since its inception through the presentation of curated exhibitions, symposia, live events, educational programs, and a bold publishing arm.



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