Artistic Direction of documenta 15
Nominated unanimously by the International Finding Committee the Supervisory Board appointed ruangrupa, a collective of artists and creatives from Jakarta, Indonesia, with a ten-member core as the artistic direction of documenta 15. This was announced by the general director of documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH, Dr. Sabine Schormann, today.

For the eight-member Finding Committee, Elvira Dyangani Ose (director of The Showroom, London) and Philippe Pirotte (director of the Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Künste – Städelschule, and director of Portikus, Frankfurt am Main) gave the following reasons for the unanimous decision: “We have appointed ruangrupa because they have demonstrated the ability to appeal to various groups, including groups that go beyond pure art audiences, and to promote local commitment and participation. Their curatorial approach is based on an international network of local community-based art organizations. We are eager to see how ruangrupa will develop a concrete project for and from Kassel. At a time when innovative strength particularly stems from independent organizations active on the community level, it seems only logical to offer this collective approach a platform with documenta.”

The Indonesian word ruangrupa loosely translates as “a space for art” or “a space form.” This field of tension is already apparent from the collective’s central curatorial approach. Farid Rakun and Ade Darmawan, who represented ruangrupa today in Kassel, formulated their decidedly participatory curatorial goals for the international art exhibition in 2022 as follows: “We want to create a globally oriented, cooperative, interdisciplinary art and culture platform that will have an impact beyond the 100 days of documenta 15. Our curatorial approach aims at a different community-oriented model of resource usage – economical, but also taking ideas, knowledge, programs and innovations into account. If documenta was launched in 1955 to heal war wounds, why shouldn’t we focus documenta 15 on today’s injuries, especially ones rooted in colonialism, capitalism, or patriarchal structures, and contrast them with partnership-based models that enable people to have a different view of the world.”

The collective was founded in 2000 in Jakarta, Indonesia. ruangrupa runs an art space in South Jakarta and realizes exhibitions, festivals, publications and radio formats. The collective has participated in many cooperation and exhibition projects, including the Gwangju Biennale (2002 und 2018), the Istanbul Biennale (2005), the Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (Brisbane, 2012), the Singapore Biennale (2011), the São Paulo Biennale (2014), the Aichi Triennale (Nagoya, 2016) and Cosmopolis at Centre Pompidou (Paris, 2017). In 2016, ruangrupa curated TRANSaction: Sonsbeek 2016 in Arnhem, the Netherlands. In 2018, the participants founded GUDSKUL, an educational and networking project for creatives based on cooperative work. At documenta 14, ruangrupa participated with its internet radio station as a partner of the decentralized radio project Every Time a Ear di Soun, which brought together eight worldwide radio stations. ruangrupa is a nonprofit organisation. At least one member of the organisation will spend a lot of time in Kassel for the preparation of documenta 15. Director General of documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH Sabine Schormann is looking forward to the cooperation and is eager to see how the participatory approaches will be implemented.

The Finding Committee for documenta 15 is composed of the following experts: Ute Meta Bauer, founding director, NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore; Charles Esche, director of the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, the Netherlands; Amar Kanwar, artist and filmmaker, New Delhi, India; Frances Morris, director of Tate Modern in London, Great Britain; Gabi Ngcobo, curator of the 10th Berlin Biennale 2018 in Germany (South Africa); Elvira Dyangani Ose, director of The Showroom London, England; Philippe Pirotte, director of the Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Künste – Städelschule Frankfurt/M., Germany (Belgium); Jochen Volz, director of Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, Brazil.

Dr. Sabine Schormann, Director General of documenta and Museum Fridericianum gGmbH on the death of Okwui Enwezor:  "The team at documenta are extremely saddened by the news of Okwui Enwezor’s passing. As Artistic Director of documenta 11 and a singular voice in contemporary curatorial discourse, he broadened perspectives on art on a global scale. His absence will be truly felt in the space his early death leaves behind.”

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