Ade Darmawan

Ade Darmawan is an artist and co-founder of ruangrupa, the Jakarta-based collective who have taken on the role of Artistic Director of documenta 15.

As each documenta takes its character from the ideas and concept of its Artistic Director, ruangrupa invited documenta to embrace the concept of Lumbung that lies at the core of ruangrupa’s practice, as a future economy for art.

“Lumbung, directly translatable as ‘rice barn’, is a collective pot or accumulation system, where crops produced by a community are stored as a future shared common resource.  If documenta was founded on the noble intention to heal European post-war wounds, shouldn’t we enlarge this intention to heal areas suffering from other wounds that are rooted in colonialism, capitalism, remoteness and patriarchism—just to name a few possible causes?

Learning from the accumulation of ruangrupa’s collective experiences in directly practicing institutional building as an artistic form, the collective proposed a collaboration to documenta in imagining, tinkering, experimenting and executing models of koperasi (closely but not exactly translatable to cooperative). These models are based on the democratic principles of rapat(assembly), mufakat (agreement), gotong royong (commons), hak mengadakan protes bersama (right to stage collective protest) and hak menyingkirkan diri dari kekuasaan absolut (right to abolish absolute power). And  Lumbung , as a model of resource governance, will serve as the center point of this practice.  Ruangrupa are considering documenta as a pool of resources, located in the city of Kassel but functioning on a global scale through a contemporary art ecosystem. In that sense documenta could be the perfect partner for ruangrupa to implement a different model, and therefore understanding, of sustainability in supporting socially impactful contemporary art practice.

We envision an edition of documenta that is based on the city and the systems existing within and celebrate it with several strategies that focus on current interests like alternative education, regenerative economy models and the importance of art in social practice. These strategies include, but are not limited to, a sizeable art exhibition in regular documenta venues, series of 1:1 real practice in Kassel’s public services (such as schools, universities, banks and hospitals) and public programs. This to-and-fro scheme by putting Kassel in the middle of the process is conversational, intended to give birth to unforeseen hybrid art praxis and forms.

In the process, ruangrupa will begin by working closely and collectively with curators, technologists and economists, as well as other initiatives and collectives in different corners of the world. These collaborators are then expected to employ their respective strategies in reality by grafting their existing practices, first in each of their particular contexts, to then be staged in Kassel in 2022.”


Ade Darmawan (1974) lives and works in Jakarta as an artist, curator and director of ruangrupa. He studied at Indonesia Art Institute (I.S.I), in Graphic Art Department. A year after his first solo exhibition in 1997 at the Cemeti Contemporary Art Gallery, Yogyakarta (now Cemeti Art House), he moved to Amsterdam for his residency at the Rijksakademie. In 2000, he founded ruangrupa, together with five other Jakarta based artists. Ruangrupa is an artists' initiative, which focuses in visual arts and its relation with the social cultural context especially in urban environment.

Ade Darmawan's works range from installations, objects, digital print, video and public art. As an artist and curator he has been participated in many art projects and exhibitions in several cities in Indonesia and International. He was involved in a collaboration project Riverscape in-flux (2012), and Media Art Kitchen (2013) with several South East Asia curators and artists. From 2006–2009 he was a member of the Jakarta Arts Council and in 2009 he became the artistic director of the Jakarta Biennale. Since 2013 he is also the executive director of the Jakarta Biennale.

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