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  • Oct 22, 2018

Indonesia Announces Artists and Curators for 2019 Venice Biennale

HANDIWIRMAN SAPUTRA (left) and SYAGINI RATNA WULAN (right) have been named Indonesia’s representative artists for the 2019 Venice Biennale. Portrait of Handiwirman Saputra via video by Emanuele Cidonelli. Portrait of Syagini Ratna Wulan via video by IndoArtNow.

Badan Ekonomi Kreatif Indonesia (Indonesia Creative Economy Agency, Bekraf) and the foundation Yayasan Design+Art Indonesia announced on September 27 that curator Asmudjo Jono Irianto, co-curator Yacobus Ari Respati and artists Handiwirman Saputra and Syagini Ratna Wulan have been selected to represent Indonesia at the 58th Venice Biennale.

The team’s winning proposal was chosen from eight invited submissions and outlines a single interactive installation, titled Akal tak Sekali Datang, Runding tak Sekali Tiba ("Reason and Negotiation Never Come Just Once"). The collaborative work will include 400 lockers with objects of significance to Indonesian heritage and culture, a ferris wheel and a smoking room. According to Irianto, who was also part of the curatorial team for Indonesia’s non-official presentation featuring Heri Dono’s works at the 56th Venice Biennale, attendees will experience an immersive story, as if they are in an amusement park. The installation will examine and comment on the practices of the Indonesian contemporary art world. 

The selection panel was chaired by sculptor Dolorosa Sinaga and included researchers I. Bambang Sugiharto and St. Sunardi, critic and artist Jim Supangkat, as well as curator and critic Nirwan Dewanto. Curator Enin Supriyanto will be the national pavilion’s artistic director for the second time.

The jury also highlighted the proposal, Synthetic Estate, by the runners-up—artist collective Tromorama, artists Riar Rizaldi and Natasha Gabriella Tontey, and curator Bob Edrian Triadi—which probes identity in the context of today’s post-digital world. They have recommended that Bekraf consider staging the exhibition on another occasion. 

The Indonesia pavilion will be staged in the Arsenale from May 11 to November 24, 2019.

Dennis Mao is an editorial intern of ArtAsiaPacific.

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