Saâdane Afif

Witte de With presents a solo exhibition by Saâdane Afif. The exhibition consists of new sculptures and installations, each of which is an adaptation by Afif of one of his previous works. The exhibition’s title sets the parameters for this transformation: each new work uses as a starting point the technical specifications of the original.

Visitors to Witte de With will also find three radios playing a program of songs inspired by Afif’s sculptures. Their introductions are scripted by Afif and read aloud in the style of a popular radio DJ, citing the technical specifications of the work, the author of the lyrics and the composer of the song. This radio program is recorded live during the opening and broadcast in a loop from the roof of a neighbouring building to the surrounding area for the duration of the exhibition at FM 107.5 Mhz and after the ending of the exhibition streamed online:

Afif’s work vibrates with multiple meanings and reveals a fascination with music and music culture. His sculptures often adopt the forms of microphones, amplifiers, speakers, of musical instruments and their decorative finishes. And many of his works include music as an active ingredient. Another recurring element in Afif’s oeuvre is the passing of time, sometimes represented through a vanitas trope (particularly the image of a skull) or through the use of clocks as part of his formal vocabulary.

Abandoning the position of the isolated artist taking sole responsibility for the outcome of his work, Afif adopts an unusual artistic approach. He practices a form of artistic delegation, creating an extensive network of commissions to artists, writers, designers and musicians. Starting in 2004, Afif began to invite writers to create lyrics based upon his own artworks. These were presented in several exhibitions as wall texts (in place of the usual didactic institutional labels) alongside Afif’s original works. He then gave these lyrics to musicians and commissioned them to write music based upon the words. The resulting songs were then presented in the gallery spaces and released on various CDs.

Afif’s generous and dialogical approach to the creation – and mediation – of art explores the relationship between the original and the reproduction. At Witte de With, in dialogue with the curators, Afif takes this process of translating his work a step further, by reworking for the first time his own sculptures and installations. Additionally, broadcasting the radio show will create an alternative space and time frame in which to experience his works. In this way, the exhibition Technical Specifications represents an implosion and explosion of Afif’s practice, as he simultaneously reduces his own works to the sum of their parts and opens them up to new authors, new readings, new formats and new audiences beyond the institution’s walls.


Witte de With is pleased to announce the forthcoming publication of Saâdane Afif’s monograph “Technical Specifications”. Featuring essays by Daniel Baumann and Ina Blom, and an introduction and summary by Zoë Gray and Nicolaus Schafhausen.
ISBN: 978-9-07336-284-0
Price €25.

See the publication page for more information.