Blog — Nov 13, 2013 — Stedelijk

In late November, the first exhibition of the multiyear Global Collaborations project opens to the public. The group exhibition, Made in Commons, is the result of intensive collaboration with the KUNCI Cultural Studies Center in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Project curator Kerstin Winking traveled to Indonesia in August to visit the participating artists there. During her trip, with stops in Jakarta, Bandung, Jatiwangi and Yogyakarta, Kerstin was accompanied by KUNCI curator Syafiatudina (Dina) and the Dutch artist Vincent Vulsma, who was carrying out research for his own contribution to Made in Commons. This is Kerstin’s report.


Our first meeting in Jakarta was with Amir Sidharta, curator, writer, auctioneer and director of the Museum Universitas Pelita Harapan. Amir is a highly motivated and energetic researcher who is very well-informed about the history of modern art and architecture in Indonesia. Among other things, he is the author of the books, 25 Tropical Houses in Indonesia (2006) and S. Sudjojono: Visible Soul (2006).

My conversation with Amir was about something that he had called my attention to during our first meeting, a year ago. He then told me that between 1930 and 1940, the Dutch paint manufacturer and art collector Pierre Alexandre Regnault (1868-1954) had regularly exhibited his collection of early modern Dutch and international art in Jakarta. Today, many of these works are in the collection of the Stedelijk Museum. The investigation of the historical relationship between these works and Indonesia continues.


When we arrived at the home of Tita Salina & Irwan Ahmett, an artist couple who are participating in Made in Commons, their front garden was full of activity. Several young artists, Tita & Irwan’s assistants, were working on objects for the OK Video Festival 2013 in Jakarta. When Tita Salina & Irwan Ahmett are not traveling for one of their projects, they live and work in a quiet residential neighborhood in Jakarta, in the beautiful home they designed themselves and built with the help of an architect friend.


In Bandung, we visited Agung Hujatnika and the Selasar Sunaryo Art Space.Agung is curator of the Yogyakarta Biënnale and the Sunaryo Art Space, which was founded by the artist Selasar Sunaryo, and offers everything that makes an art center attractive to both art professionals and a broad public: exhibition spaces for contemporary art and Sunaryo’s own collection, a restaurant, an amphitheater, living and working space for an artist in residence, a projection space, a library and a bookshop. The list of artists who have exhibited there is long, and is presented with due pride at the entrance to the restaurant. It includes the names of Indonesian and international artists, such as Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Bjørn Melhus, Valie Export, Yang Fudong, Duto Hardono and the Dutch artist, Sara Blokland.


The Museum of the Asian-African Conference is an absolute must for visitors to Bandung. In an accessible, detailed way, it shows the historic importance of the Bandung Conference, the first large-scale meeting of young Asian and African nation states that had only just won their independence. The building where the conference took place in 1955 is now a museum, and even today, the room in which the leaders of the participating nations came together still seems perfectly appropriate for a major state visit.

The museum tells the story of the conference in photographs, dioramas, original objects such as lounge chairs, cameras, tripods and lighting, as well as the life-size wax figures of the attending statesmen, including Sukarno. My attention was especially drawn to photographs in which the politicians are standing together enjoying themselves, sometimes with a drink in their hands, laughing and engaging in animated conversations.

  • Meeting with Amir Sidharta
    Meeting with Amir Sidharta
  • Visiting Tita Salina & Irwan Ahmett
    Visiting Tita Salina & Irwan Ahmett
  • Livingroom and workspace of Tita & Irwan
    Livingroom and workspace of Tita & Irwan
  • Agung Hujatnika @ Selasar Sunaryo Art Space
    Agung Hujatnika @ Selasar Sunaryo Art Space
  • Bookstore of Selasar Sunaryo
    Bookstore of Selasar Sunaryo
  • Museum Konferensi Asia Afrika
    Museum Konferensi Asia Afrika


We then traveled to Jatiwangi, a small village east of Bandung. Most of the people of Jatiwangi earn their living through the production of roof tiles and other objects made of clay. The clay they use is locally dug, pressed and dried, and fired in a gigantic kiln. In the photograph below, we see employees working in the roof tile factory. In the background are the racks on which the tiles are dried before being fired. The owner of the roof tile factory, who is also the mayor of Jantiwangi, gives the profits from the factory to the workers, who in turn distribute it amongst themselves.

The Jatiwangi Art Factory is located in one of the buildings of the tile factory. The Jatiwangi Art Factory (JAF) was the initiative of a group of young people, and it was intended to provide creative ways of involving Jatiwangi residents in village life. For young people, life in small villages such as Jatiwangi often seems boring, and they tend to want to go to the big cities. To compensate for the lack of creative activities, the JAF organizes workshops, discussions, film screenings, performances, exhibitions, festivals and so on, inviting everyone to attend.


The Papermoon studio is full of theater requisites and puppets from their performances. The Papermoon Puppet Theatre was founded in 2006 by Maria Tri Sulistyani. Together with her husband, artist Iwan Effendi, she decided to use the puppet theater to reach a wider public, with expanded themes and subject matter. Ever since, they have been creating performances and interactive installations with puppets in theaters and on location. Papermoon draws inspiration for its puppets and stories from a range of contexts, but it is primarily founded on the histories of their own local communities.


KUNCI was founded in 1999 by Nuraini Juliastuti and Antariksa, both of whom are still associated with the center, Nuraini as codirector and Antariksa as researcher. They were later joined by Ferdiansyah Thajib (Ferdi). Other researchers and organizers at KUNCI include Syafiatudina (Dina), Brigitta Isabella (Gita) and Wok the Rock. KUNCI investigates and fully immerses itself in the wider discourse on contemporary culture. They organize performances, workshops, lectures and all kinds of events held either at the KUNCI location or in public spaces.

On our last evening in Indonesia, a public meeting was organized at which the KUNCI members, artist Vincent Vulsma, myself and others spoke about the SMBA, the Stedelijk Museum, Global Collaborations, and of course the collaboration between KUNCI & SMBA and the progress of the Made in Commons project.

Public Event Talking Commons @ KUNCI, Yogyakarta

Made in Commons opens on 29 November, 2013, at the Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam, and will be on view until 26 January, 2014. The exhibition also includes a publication on the project. In 2014, Made in Commons will be presented in Yogyakarta, with exhibitions and a program of lectures, performances and other activities.

© Foto’s KUNCI, Vincent Vulsma en Kerstin Winking