Documenta fiffteen has officially ended yesterday. I couldn’t be more proud of ruangrupa as the first Indonesian artistic director of this world renowned and prestigious art exhibition! Their approach was radical, focused on collaboration and networking/ shared value (hence ‘lumbung’ as a concept), rather than curator-led. ruangrupa invited art collectives, organisations, and institutions from around the world, and they invited another artists/collaborators for their project, and so on. So God knows the exact number of participating artists in this documenta edition!
Despite the controversies that were surrounding (you can google it yourself, but it’s safe to say I’m on their side), ruangrupa has shown us what a non-eurocentric art exhibition looked like.
Although I live 11,000 km away from Kassel, Germany, where documenta fifteen took place, I can feel how heartwarming and full of solidarity this whole ‘lumbung’ and ‘ecosystem’ exhibition was through their well organized virtual programs and daily updates on social media. Of course I didn’t hesitate when ruangrupa asked me to be the editor for their Indonesian and English edition of Lumbung magazine.
As part of the exhibition, documenta fifteen was publishing two issues of a magazine that hone in on the core idea of the exhibition, which is collective working. In total there are 26 works, written by Indonesian (spread from Aceh to Papua) writers, researchers, and contributors. It’s a humbling experience to be able to work (even just to edit and proofread her writing) with prominent figures, such as Prof. Melani Budianta, M.A., PhD.
(Read my previous writing about Majalah Lumbung magazine here.)
I guess 2022 to me is about bidding farewell and gaining something new from it. Congratulations once again to ruangrupa, organising committee, and to all collectives, organisation, and institutions! My highest respect to all Indonesian artists involved, I’m a proud friend/ collaborator! ✊
Amazing piece by Samanth Subramanian in New York Times about ruangrupa and their collective approach and direction for the upcoming documenta fifteen.
Journalism requires dedication, and I can only wonder how long does it take to write this article since I can trace back his interview to September 2021 in here!
If someone ever asked me again about ruangrupa and/or their involvement in documenta fifteen, I’ll just send them over this long-but-satisfying feature article.
As someone who was once part of the collective and in charge for OK. Video, I can say nothing but proud to see them evolve and ‘takes over one of the world’s biggest art shows’! I actually also took part in one of documenta fifteen’s publications called ‘majalah lumbung’. Read the full story here.
If you’re in Gemany or have a plan to fly there, make sure to pay a visit to Kassel to experience documenta fifteen (Sat, Jun 18, 2022 – Sun, Sep 25, 2022).
In less than 2 weeks, documenta fifteen will be officially opened in Kassel, Germany, from 18 June – 25 September 2022. ruangrupa, a Jakarta-based collective was appointed as the curator—the first Asian curator to be precise—of this world renowned art exhibition.
For those who are not familiar with the art world, documenta is considered as one of the most prestigious high-quality global art event and even holds special position or on par with other world class biennales, such as the Venice Biennale or the São Paulo Art Biennial.
Judging by the scale of the project, it’s only natural if the collective has prepared for this project since 2019. The official announcement of ruangrupa appointed as the curator itself was on 22 February 2019 by the general director of documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH, Dr. Sabine Schormann.
The concept ruangrupa has prepared for documenta 15 is “Lumbung”. A lumbung – or rice barn – is a place to store communally-produced rice as a common resource for future use. If documenta was launched with the noble intention to heal European war wounds, this concept will expand that motive in order to heal today’s injuries, especially ones rooted in colonialism, capitalism, and patriarchal structures. (read more about the concept here)
So in short, it’s a communal work where curators, technologists and economists, as well as other initiatives and collectives in different corners of the world are working closely for this exhibition. These collaborators are then expected to employ their respective strategies in reality by grafting their existing practices, to then be staged in Kassel in 2022.
Now, here’s the exciting part.
I’m excited to share my involvement in documenta fifteen as editor for both Majalah lumbung and lumbung Kios publication. But since the work for lumbung Kios is still ongoing, I will only share about majalah lumbung. The use of Indonesian words for ‘majalah, ‘lumbung’, and ‘kios’ is intentional.
As part of the exhibition, documenta fifteen is publishing two issues of a magazine that hone in on the core idea of the exhibition – collective working. The lumbung component in the title refers to the communal rice barn where Indonesian farmers store surplus crops to share. The two issues, Harvesting and Sharing, will be published together in one volume to accompany the exhibition.
In total, there are 26 short stories and features by leading journalists, researchers, and writers from Indonesia, majalah lumbung touches on topics such as cosmology or architecture, food or eating together, thereby forming a foundation for the content featured at documenta fifteen. The individual contributions are conveyed through numerous illustrations and an attractive layout in magazine quality.
I worked along Putra Hidayatullah who also one of the lumbung members as Indonesian editors for this magazine. Each of us took one edition to work on, me with the ‘Harvest’ and him with ‘Sharing’. Then I continued the work as the editor and proofreader for the Indonesian and English languages. Zamira Loebis, a lecturer/ interpreter/ journalist/ TIME correspondent acted as the translator team leader for this magazine.
It was a pleasure to worked along great minds and amazing contributors from all over Indonesia, including one of my long-time idol in the field of social, art, and culture, Prof. Melani Budianta, M.A, Ph.D.
My favourite writing was from Rahmadiyah Tria Gayatri, a cross-media artist, producer, activist, and disaster literacy activist. Her piece is about collective movements after conflict and natural disasters in Central Sulawesi. She shared a haunting experience as a conflict and natural disaster survivor, but somehow managed to craft it beautifully and in a poetic way.
So if you’re in Germany or will be travel to west Europe around the same time of documenta fifteen will be held, make sure to pay a visit to this 100-days of world class art exhibition in Kassel and buy a copy of majalah lumbung!
The magazine is part of the four publications that are centered around documenta fifteen principles – like collectivity, sustainability, and shared resources – not only in terms of content, but also in their production process, appearance, and mode of distribution.
Majalah lumbung is published together with Hatje Cantz as partner publishing house and will be available in Indonesian, English, and German.
Approx. 320 p. | approx. 200 ill. | 20 x 26 cm | Softcover
€ 28,00 [D], € 32,00 [A] | ISBN 978-3-7757-5285-5 | June 2022
Discussion on “The Image of Dharma Wanita in Social Context”
Tuesday, 6 October 2015 | 3 – 5 pm
Speakers: Julia Suryakusuma and Manneke Budiman
Moderator: Maulida Raviola
At Galeri Cipta II
Jl. Cikini Raya 73
Taman Ismail Marzuki
Menteng, Central Jakarta, 10330
WANI DITATA: WOMEN CONSTRUCTION THROUGH STATE BUREAUCRACY
Preface by Irawan Karseno and Hafiz Rancajale
Authors: Angga Wijaya, Julia Suryakusuma, Manneke Budiman, and Maulida Raviola Editor: Deasy Elsara Translator: Ninus D Andarnuswari and Gesyada Annisa Namora Siregar
Info & order: firstname.lastname@example.org
*** Women’s Art Project
In the last few years, the phrase ‘art project’ has been appearing in various art discussions and writings in Indonesia. Art as a project—referring to various possibilities of art development, both in collaboration and individually—has not been familiar in our art history. However, with the gift of hindsight, what the founding fathers of our modern art did actually led to the art project the way we interpret it nowadays. One simply can look at the project of Indonesian post-independence revolution poster, initiated by S. Sudjojono and Affandi together with Seniman Muda Indonesia, SIM (Indonesian Young Artists). S. Sudjojono laid down the foundation of art not just as an activity to investigate the aesthetic, but also as a means of struggle in collaboration with writers of the era, such as Chairil Anwar. Art as an art project hasn’t seen much development in Indonesia due to artists’ inclination of subjectivity and orientation to produce materiality, meaning work of art or object-based, as the end result. An art project in its process requires openness to develop what constitutes as ‘art’. This openness takes collaborative form of carrying out an activity that seems to have nothing to do with art.
In 2015, the Art Committee of the Jakarta Arts Council started a women artists’ project called Wani Ditata Project. This project is the Art Committee’s response to the Indonesian contemporary art development, taking into account the fact that art activities based on research and focusing on certain issues are becoming increasingly relevant today. The relevance of such project shows how art activity developed within a certain period of time and delving into a subject of discourse will have a significant impact on the contemporary art development—in the process production of knowledge also takes place that will be distributed by the end of the project.
Wani Ditata Project deliberately invites eight women artists of Jakarta and a young curator, Angga Wijaya, to facilitate this project’s development. The objective of inviting these women artists is to read the Jakarta contemporary art development in which they become the main players nowadays. Since its conception, the Art Committee of JAC has never particularly raised women issues in its programs. Thus the committee felt the need to specifically establish a women artists’ project while at the same time collecting the cultural, social and political discourses read through these artists. Hopefully this project will thrive and contribute to our contemporary art development.
Chairman of Art Committee
Jakarta Art Council
2013 – 2015