Foreword

Jakarta Biennale Foundation  

Foreword

Jakarta Biennale Foundation

 

 

Taking a glance through the last four editions of the Jakarta Biennale (2009—2015), we can clearly see the salient role the event has played in offering a myriad of themes in the reading of contemporary realities. Over those four editions, the Jakarta Biennale brought urban issues to the table and provided space to accommodate artistic practices offered by artists, both in the forms of exhibitions and interventions of public spaces, as well as site and community-based art projects. The intersections and elements that were retained across editions were reflected in the Jakarta Biennale 2013 with its theme of “Siasat” (Strategy), which was aimed at re-examining the positions and artistic practices of society in an attempt to negotiate limitations, instabilities, issues, threats, potentials, or opportunities available in urban spaces. Several issues came under thorough scrutiny at the Jakarta Biennale 2015, with particular focus being given to city and history, water and environment, and gender and its relationship to other social dimensions that continue to structure society. As such, the Jakarta Biennale has served as a stimulus for critical reflection, and also celebration, of the ensuing boisterousness and noise surrounding us.

Amid the current system that is rife with fanaticism, the loss of politicians’ sanity, intolerance, and struggle for space, it is pertinent and crucial to rethink the forces underlying human desires, observe plural relationships, and make use of our senses, sensibilities, and knowledge. JIWA: Jakarta Biennale 2017 has been organized as an endeavor to perpetually enrich and widen the artistic experiences and critical thinking skills of the general public in approaching contemporary phenomena in a more contemplative and sensible manner. Such is the reason behind the appointment of Melati Suryodarmo as artistic director of the Jakarta Biennale 2017. She put forward the concept “Jiwa” (literally ‘soul’) to discuss wide-ranging issues and inquiries into contemporary arts and culture. Jiwa can be taken to mean a basic human impulse, togetherness, society, nature, or anything intangible and spiritual. Armed with broad experience and sensibilities as an artist, curator, and networker, Melati Suryodarmono is expected to bring about a new, inspiring perspective and approach that differ from the previous ones. After several stages of discussion, four curators were selected to work alongside Melati Suryodarmo in planning and artistically directing JIWA: Jakarta Biennale 2017. These curators include Annissa Gultom, Hendro Wiyanto, Phillipe Pirotte, and Vit Havranek.

JIWA: Jakarta Biennale 2017 is taking place at Gudang Sarinah Ekosistem, and in order to engage a broader audience, events and exhibitions are also being held at the Museum of Fine Arts and Ceramics and the Jakarta History Museum. JIWA: Jakarta Biennale 2017 is featuring 51 artists hailing from within and outside of Indonesia. With three exhibition venues, the Jakarta Biennale 2017 is mainly centered in two bustling areas of Jakarta, namely Pancoran, South Jakarta, and Kota Tua, West Jakarta. In addition to showcasing contemporary fine arts, the artistic team of JIWA: Jakarta Biennale 2017 has also placed particular focus on the publication of fine art books, something that has been on the agenda since the Jakarta Biennale 2013. Three books will be published in parallel with the Jakarta Biennale 2017, namely a book of Bambang Bujono’s selected articles from 1968—2017; a book on the fine art accounts of Siti Adiyati from 1975—1997; and a book that contains reviews, writings, and archival material pertaining to Semsar Siahaan. At each and every event, the Jakarta Biennale is invariably committed to continually providing fine art education to the public. One manifestation of this commitment has been a multitude of workshops that train the public on how to make use of post-exhibition objects. We also invite artists to visit and teach at schools with which the Jakarta Biennale is in collaboration. All of these activities are carried out in order to bring fine arts closer to the public, especially the younger generation.

Besides the aforementioned activities, the Jakarta Biennale Foundation will continue to strive for the development of educational and cultural activities outside of the Jakarta Biennale itself. We are hoping to play a significant role in the development of fine arts in the country. We put together these activities as an attempt to widen our network and expand our collaboration so that knowledge can be disseminated more broadly.

I would like to extend my gratitude to all of the parties involved in making this exhibition possible, and also for the ideas, spirit, and camaraderie that together enrich the Jakarta Biennale 2017.

 

ADE DARMAWAN

Executive Director of the Jakarta Biennale 2017