Substitutes engages with queer history and discourses around the body, gender, and sexuality. It features artists across several generations working in a variety of mediums to contextualise and converse with these discourses. The exhibition is about the absence of bodies, the abstraction of the body, and the tools and language we use to maintain or describe our bodies—costuming, staging, masks, layering, clothing. It questions the normative frameworks that queer and functionally diverse people are subjected to. The human body is, paradoxically, both absent and present within the exhibition. 

Initiated by the artist Philipp Gufler, Substitutes brings together works of Lorenza Böttner, Johanna Gonschorek, Elisàr von Kupffer, Rabe perplexum, Louwrien Wijers, Johannes Büttner, and Bruno Zhu. Philipp Gufler will show a new work titled Body/Text: a large-scale silk screen printed textile piece that draws inspiration from Elisàr von Kupffer’s panorama painting Klarwelt der Seligen (Clear World of the Blissful). By connecting contemporary discussions to historical perspectives, the exhibition aims to create a ‘living archive’. Drawing together artistic positions from then and now, the exhibition traces queer lives and networks from the past to our present. 

Download the exhibition handout here: Zine substitutes

Photography by Pieter Kers.

Visual identity by Jacob Hoving.

This exhibition is generously supported by Mondriaan Fonds, Gieskes-Strijbis Fonds, Amsterdam Fonds voor de Kunst, Fonds21, Goethe Institut, Centro Elisarion, Pro Elisarion Association, Monacensia im Hildebrandhaus, Forum Queeres Archiv München and Grafisch Atelier Hilversum. 


8 – 30 July 2023
Salwa’s Internet Cafe @ W139

SALWA’s Internet Café is an invitation to re-imagine the potential of a landscape that was created by the internet. Through their Open Call, creatives are invited to explore questions revolving around the internet as a space, virtual, physical, or conceptual. Four migrant participants living in the Netherlands will be accepted for a three-month residency from April to June. Artists will meet to share literature, resources, stories and experiences in relation to the topic. The residency will conclude with an exhibition at W139 in July 2023.

8 September – 29 October 2023 
W139 Hosts…

W139 is excited to open up its space with W139 hosts…, a dynamic seven-week long programme, providing makers and initiatives with the opportunity to present new projects or work-in-progress. This initiative serves as a platform for communities to meet and exchange ideas while aiming to support, enhance, and contribute to the artistic ecosystem.

Through an open call, artists, designers, curators, mediators, collectives, local initiatives, and communities are invited to propose projects and ideas that they consider urgent and relevant. This can include new works, works-in-progress, experiments, durational pieces, installations, performances, screenings, sound works, workshops, gatherings, rehearsals, informal work presentations, and much more.

Look out for our open call!

November 2023
Art Market – Farida Sedoc

The Art Market departs from questions around how we can experiment with different forms of independent self-sufficiency within the cultural field. The exhibition aims to create a discursive space through which we’ll share, exchange knowledge, and learn about ways to exist under precarious conditions. Through an open call, artists, designers, and cultural workers will be invited to sell whatever they want in a market setting, with the ‘give and take’ dynamics of the art economy in mind.

opening hours

22 April – 18 June
Tue – Sun 12:00-18:00

public programme

Opening: Substitutes – Friday 21 April from 18:00 to 22:00

On Friday 21 April from 18.00 to 22.00, we invite the public to join us at W139 to celebrate the opening of Substitutes, an exhibition initiated by Philipp Gufler.

Keeping up with the Virus – Thursday 11 May from 20:00 to 21:00

A performance by Szymon Adamczak with Billy Mullaney exploring interdependency, connection seeking, risk-taking, and solidarity through the embodied metaphor of the virus performing in the artist’s body in the era of undetectability. Situated in relation to the unique constellation of artists gathered at W139, the performance looks to activate genealogies and dramaturgies of living with HIV across time.

Find out more here.

Tomorrow’s Language – Saturday 3 June from 16:00 to 17:30

A dialogue between the artists Louwrien Wijers, Rory Pilgrim, and Philipp Gufler. Together they will explore Louwrien’s artworks, the significance of food, intergenerational friendships among artists, and the importance of learning from one another. To accompany the discussion, chef, artist and longtime collaborator of Louwrien, Egon Hanfstingl, will be preparing a saffron honey yogurt for all attendees to enjoy at the end of the event.

Find out more here.

Guided Tour of the Exhibition – Sunday 4 June from 15:00 to 16:00

by Philipp Gufler and Tomas Adolfs.

Guided Tour of the Exhibition – Friday 9 June from 18:30 to 19:30

by Philipp Gufler and Wilfred van Buuren in collaboration with IHLIA.

Find out more here.

Rabe perplexum and the Eccentric 80s – Friday 9 June from 20:00 to 21:30

A film screening and book presentation with Angela Stiegler and Philipp Gufler in collaboration with the Goethe Institut Amsterdam. With their performative and collaborative works, Rabe perplexum was a subversive voice of queer subculture in the 1980s. In conversation with Fabian Reichle, the artists Gufler and Stiegler will discuss artistic practices of the ‘Eccentric 80s’, their exhibition and publication of the same name, from today’s perspective.

Find out more here.

T-shirt Fundraiser for Turkey and Syria 

W139 is selling screen printed t-shirts designed by the artist EMIRHAKIN to raise funds for Turkey and Syria after the recent double earthquake. 80% of the proceeds will be transferred to Artists in Solidarity

To find out more, click here.

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