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Indonesian art in Frankfurt 2015

Exhibitions and events of visual arts, architecture, and performance art, related to Indonesia as Guest of Honour of the Frankfurt Book Fair 2015.
Sep 2015

Related to Indonesia as the Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2015, there is an extensive programme of art and cultural events in Frankfurt's museums and institutions.

Here are listed the exhibitions and events of visual arts, architecture, and performance art (based on the official press information), including links to related articles about Indonesian art published in Nafas since 2003:

Tropicality Revisited
Recent Approaches by Indonesian Architects
DAM - Deutsches Architekturmuseum
29 August - 22 November 2015
DAM will be showcasing Indonesian architects and their new approaches to architecture which have been adapted to suit Indonesia's tropical climate. Architecture in the tropics was never just about offering shelter from rain and sun. "Tropical architecture" gained instant global relevance with the emergence of Modernist Architecture and was adapted to suit all climates and cultures. During the post-war period, the science of climatic architectural design became an international success. For many generations of Indonesian architects, however, the tropics was never a romantic climate, but instead a harsh reality of torrential rains, heat and high humidity. Today, "tropical architecture" is often lost behind glazed and air-conditioned skyscrapers or the classic designs of tropical tourist resorts. Such designs are taken for granted – pitched roofs and long eaves are ready-to-use answers – but also represent a challenge for architects to find new solutions. Architecture adapted to the climate is making a triumphant comeback due to the modern problems of climate change and the energy crises. This exhibition will provide an overview of the latest architectural innovations in Indonesia.

DAM - Deutsches Architekturmuseum
Schaumainkai 43
60596 Frankfurt am Main
>> Website



Root. Indonesian Contemporary Art
Frankfurter Kunstverein
26 September - 10 January 2016
Jompet Kuswidananto, Eko Nugroho and Tromarama, three of the best-known Indonesian artists and artist collectives of the younger generation, will each be given a broad platform to present their new works in the spacious interior of the Frankfurter Kunstverein. Joko Avianto has been invited to create a custom bamboo installation for the façade.

Indonesia ranks as one of the most populous countries in the world and unites many different ethnicities, languages, religions and cultural influences from more than 17,000 islands that make up the archipelago. Under Dutch colonial rule, which lasted for nearly 350 years, Indonesian culture experienced severe socio-cultural upheavals. Although a modern, westernized society emerged by the middle of the twentieth century, the effects of its prolonged struggle for independence and political instability still reverberate in the tension permeating today’s society.

The four artists come from a generation that has experienced first-hand the most significant political reforms and fundamental changes in Indonesia’s contemporary social and political situation. While part of the change was brought about during the 1998 post-reformation transition, the artists' work creates the distance necessary to take a critical stance. Their work defines short-term change within a deeply rooted, complex socio-cultural tradition in which the tension between traditionalism and modernity, nationality and internationality, locality and globalism, universality and plurality becomes apparent.

Asikin Hasan, Rizki A. Zaelani, Franziska Nori

Joko Avianto
* 1976 Yogyakarta, Indonesia; lives there.
Jompet Kuswidananto
* 1976 Yogyakarta, Indonesia; lives there.
Eko Nugroho
* 1977 Yogyakarta, Indonesia; lives there.
Founded in 2004 by Febie Babyrose (* 1985 Jakarta), Herbert Hans Maruli (* 1984 Jakarta) and Ruddy Alexander Hatumena (*1984 in Bahrain), all living in Bandung.

Frankfurter Kunstverein
Steinernes Haus am Römerberg
Markt 44
60311 Frankfurt am Main
>> Website

Related articles in Nafas:

Jompet: Java's Machine
The Indonesian artist Jompet Kuswidananto about his installation "Java's Machine: Phantasmagoria".
Eko Nugroho: A Wrap of Heart in Freezer
Wayang Kulit performance (shadow puppet theater), based on Nugroho's comic figures. By Alia Swastika.
Tromarama: Serigala Militia
Video for the trash metal band Seringai from Jakarta, a woodcut animation made of 450 boards. By Joselina Cruz.


Beyond Transisi
Photographs, Multi-media and Books from Indonesia
Fotografie Forum Frankfurt
1 October - 15 November 2015
The exhibition premiere of "Beyond Transisi (Transition)" introduces the most influential photographic artists working in Indonesia today. As the largest archipelago in the world, Indonesia offers diverse microcosms that represent numerous global themes: rich cultural diversity, environmental and natural disasters, the wide gulf between poverty and wealth, immigration, industrial and real-estate expansion, over-population and isolation. What are the messages that Indonesian photographers choose to present in their works beyond the usual images of a tropical paradise or reports of natural disasters? To what extent can current events or past history be detected in their photographs? Every photographer has a defining approach to their chosen subject matter. The artists seek to expand our visual interest using literature, books and digital media with styles ranging from documentary tradition to surreal imagery.

Visiting artists include: Octa Christi, Muhammad Fadli, Kemal Jufri, Paul Kadarisman, Fanny Octavianus, Ari Setiadi, Rony Zakaria.

Fotografie Forum Frankfurt
Braubachstrasse 30-32
60311 Frankfurt am Main
>> Website



Arahmaiani: Violence No More
Retrospective of works by Indonesian artist
Haus am Dom
12 - 15 October 2015
Indonesian artist Arahmaiani is known for her performances, social sculptures, installations, large-scale paintings, body art and poetic works.

The motto for the Violence No More exhibition in Frankfurt is "Waking up – Growing up". As a young artist Arahmaiani was literally 'woken up' by the brutal methods of suppression used by Indonesia's military dictatorship and by the aggressive intervention in cultural policies within her homeland by radical Islamic groups, who stormed her exhibitions and threatened her with violence. She grew up with the belief that an artist must stand up for the rights of women, minorities and economically and socially marginalised groups. This creates a link to Ascan Breuer's Trilogi Jawa, which will also be showcased at the preview and in the Filmmuseum. For Arahmaiani, the knowledge that social change means nothing unless it also protects the ecological heritage of the planet for the benefit of all is what gave her a sense of direction. She links this to the Indonesian concept of the oneness of all beings. In the profound spiritual depth of her thinking and her work, social and cosmic developments are inextricably linked, a belief that has only recently received greater recognition and been explored in greater depth.

Curator: Dr. Werner Kraus (Center for Southeast Asian Art, Passau)

Organisation: Gunnar Stange (Goethe University), Lisa Straßberger (Katholische Akademie Rabanus Maurus, Haus am Dom, Frankfurt).


Haus am Dom
Domplatz 3
60311 Frankfurt
>> Website

Related article in Nafas:

Notes after an interview with this socially involved artist, who is a key figure in the art scene of Indonesia. By Pat Binder & Gerhard Haupt.


Indonesia LAB
Festival of Contemporary Arts – Music Dance Performance Visual Arts
6 - 15 October 2015
Together with Indonesia LAB, the six partners of the Frankfurt LAB – the Ensemble Modern, the Künstlerhaus Mousonturm, the Städelschule and Portikus, the Hessian Theatre Academy, the Frankfurt University of Music and Performing Arts and the Forsythe Company – are embarking on a new project. In cooperation with the Goethe Institute in Indonesia and the KfW Foundation in Frankfurt, these prestigious cultural organisations have joined forces to develop activities in the fields of music, dance, performance and fine arts, encouraging the exchange between outstanding artists from Indonesia and Germany. Intensive dialogue has been conducted over the past ten months between composers, musicians, dancers and visual artists from both countries. Both live and virtual workshops have been held in Indonesia and Germany to prepare joint concerts, dance performances, exhibitions and events that will premiere during the two-week festival starting shortly before and overlapping with the Frankfurt Book Fair. Subsequently, some of the projects will also be showcased as part of the German Season in Indonesia. Indonesia LAB provides a platform for unique encounters and an opportunity to experience exceptional German and Indonesian artists of different generations, while inspiring new perspectives in the relationship between contemporary art and society in a global context.

>> Website


Ade Darmawan: Magic Centre
19 September - 15 November 2015
In the scope of Indonesia LAB, Portikus presents the first institutional solo exhibition by Indonesian artist Ade Darmawan in Germany. Darmawan, who works both as curator and artist, is also a founding member of the Indonesian artist collective ruangrupa, who deals with social-cultural developments in urban society. In his exhibition "Magic Centre", Ade Darmawan focuses on the eponymous publishing house from Indonesia, which was active in the 1960s. These were years marked by nationalism and the government propaganda machine of Sukarno, who was president at the time. The "Magic Centre" publishing house was probably best known for publications on how to improve intellectual capacities. Initially, many of the books focused on topics such as hypnosis, the magical arts and the occult. Later, the focus shifted to how-to manuals, motivational books and career planning literature meant to provide support in various life situations in a capitalist society. Darmawan now uses these publications in an installation that explores this period of upheaval in Indonesia, the growing middle-class and the increasing influence of capitalism.

Ade Darmawan (*1974) lives and works in Jakarta as an artist and curator. He studied at the Graphic Art Department of the Indonesia Art Institute (I.S.I). One year after his first solo presentation at the Cemeti Contemporary Art Gallery, Yogyakarta in 1997, he moved to Amsterdam for a two-year residency at the Rijksakademie Van Beeldende Kunsten. He is also director of the Indonesian artist initiative ruangrupa, which he founded in 2000 together with five other artists.


Maininsel, Alte Brücke 2,
60594 Frankfurt am Main
>> Website

ruangrupa and contact Gonzo
6 - 12 October
Künstlerhaus Mousonturm and throughout Frankfurt
Two of the most innovative artists’ collectives in Asia will come together for the first time during the Indonesia LAB. With its festivals, exhibitions and research projects, the ruangrupa collective – an interdisciplinary group of artists including fine artists, graphic designers, comic artists, film-makers and performance artists – has been making its mark on Indonesia‘s alternative art scene for the past fifteen years and has featured at some of the world’s leading art biennials. ruangrupa uses cities as their working arena or laboratory, especially the fast-changing mega city of Jakarta. The artists draw their inspiration from everyday situations, urban rituals and popular trends such as music videos produced in backrooms, improvised film screenings and illegal flea markets, which provide orientation for the city’s citizens and also lend the city its character. The performance collective ‘contact Gonzo’ from Osaka shares its great passion for anything odd and popular with ruangrupa. They have taken their performances – which are a random mixture of contact improvisation, martial arts, conceptualism and the Gonzo aesthetic of Hunter S. Thompson – to public spaces, theatres and museums around the globe. Their next stop, together with ruangrupa, will be at the Mousonturm. The Indonesian and Japanese artists will use this as a base to go out in search of the customs and traditions of Frankfurt, as well as hidden narratives that form a link between the people in Frankfurt, Jakarta and Osaka. In the week leading up to the Book Fair, they will present the findings of their research in numerous workshops, performances and events in and around the Mousonturm.

>> Website


Related article in Nafas:

ruangrupa. Alternative Space & Culture Analysis
Artists' group and alternative art space in Jakarta. Interview with the director Ade Darmawan. By Hendro Wiyanto.


More about Indonesian art in Nafas and UiU:

Indonesia - Country Archive
All the articles published since 2003
UiU Index of Artists: Indonesia
Links to articles, information, image pages of all the artists from Indonesia presented in Nafas and UiU

Indonesia - Guest of Honour
at Frankfurt Book Fair
14 - 18 October 2015

Related exhibitions and events of visual arts, architecture, and performance art in Frankfurt

Related Content:

Indonesian artists Joko Avianto, Jompet Kuswidananto, Eko Nugroho and Tromarama show site-specific works at Frankfurter Kunstverein, Germany, 26 Sept. 2015 - 10 Jan. 2016.
01 Riyadi
40 works by 16 Indonesian artists from 3 generations at ARNDT Berlin, 27 April - 1 June 2013. Curatorial text, photo tour.
01-135 Taman Budaya
Equator #2. Indonesia Encounters the Arab Region. Artistic director: Farah Wardani. Curators: Agung Hujatnikajennong, Sarah Rifky; Nov. 2013 - Jan. 2014.
04 Yee I-Lann
Eleven artists reflect on the role of the Van Loon family in the Dutch East India Company. Museum Van Loon, Amsterdam; curator: Thomas Berghuis.
The founders N. Adipurnomo and M. Jaarsma about their concept and problems in the Indonesian art scene.
01 Prilla Tania
Finding one’s identity in hypercultural space. A German-Indonesian exchange project.
07 Bayu Widodo
Indonesian Mythologies. Review of the exhibition at Espace culturel Louis Vuitton, Paris.
Key art institution of Indonesia, located in Bandung. Interview with curator Agung Hujatnikajennong.
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