White is in need of Black, Witte de With Centre for Contemporary Art Rotterdam
In a more recent performance at Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam, Kaersenhout painted the white walls of this institution — named after Witte Corneliszoon de With, a high-ranking VOC naval — black. She also signed an open letter, confronting the institute with its name and its superficial dedication in reflecting on its own position. “The bodies and artistic productions of Black and non-Black people of colour are de rigueur on institutional menus, the sought after flavour in these times of lip-service ‘intersectionality’. White art institutions, whether they carry the name of a colonizer or not, are ‘excited’ to engage with feminist, queer, Black, intersectional and decolonial perspectives as long as these critical interventions are framed as discourses and stripped of their radical potential and praxes.”
Kaersenhout has found a multitude of other places and platforms to reach out to a broad audience. She does not aim to be included in the canon of, for example, the Stedelijk. However, she feels a responsibility to penetrate those white spaces with her black body — to reclaim that space, to remind them of their (our) own whiteness.
Note: excerpt from REVEALING BLACK SPOTS IN THE RADIANT WHITE CUBE
Rosa te Velde