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We Move Amongst Ghosts* at the Museum of Fine Arts and Ceramics in Jakarta

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We Move Amongst Ghosts* at the Museum of Fine Arts and Ceramics in Jakarta
Exhibition View, Image Courtesy of Kayu Lucie Fontaine, Image by Evelyn Pritt

“We Move Amongst Ghosts” recently opened at the Museum of Fine Arts and Ceramics in Jakarta, Indonesia. This is Lucie Fontaine’s eleventh project and the first in a series of group exhibitions in collaboration with YMMJ. The series, showcasing artists from Indonesia and abroad, will be held at a selection of Jakarta museums and is their inaugural show, includes works by Arahmaiani, Ashley Bickerton, Chris Bunjamin, Marco Cassani, Rafram Chaddad, Cian Dayrit, Fendry Ekel, J. W. Heydt, Agnieszka Kurant, Goshka Macuga, Michelangelo Pistoletto and Rirkrit Tiravanija.

*The title is taken from the article “We Move Amongst Ghosts” by British artist Laura Grace Ford. The article introduces her book, Savage Messiah (Verso Books, 2019), which gathers together a complete set of the artist’s fanzines to date. Part graphic novel, part artwork, the book is both an angry polemic against the marginalization of the urban working class and an exploration of the cracks that open up within an urban context.

The show looks at the interface between object and space on the one hand, and memory on the other. In particular, they have focused on how objects and spaces conjure historical and communal memories. This underlying idea harks back to Kayu’s fifth project in 2016, “Ritiro,” in which a group of artworks ‘went’ on a retreat from Bali to Java, thus suggesting the idea that space and object, things without life in themselves, might have a kind of existence – an internal life – of their own.

Exhibition View, Image Courtesy of Kayu Lucie Fontaine, Image by Evelyn Pritt

Image of 'Grande Arcipelago', 2018 Michelangelo Pistoletto, Image Courtesy Kayu Lucie Fontaine, Image by Evelyn Pritt

'The End Of Signature', 2015-2016 by Agnieszka Kurant, Image Courtesy of the artist and Kayu Lucie Fontaine, Image by Evelyn Pritt

“We Move Amongst Ghosts | Justice” builds on this suggestion in relation to the definition and meaning of a museum, particularly its role as a nexus between the past and the present. Their starting point is the work of YMMJ since 2017 in conservation and documentation. In 2018, YMMJ commissioned the Indonesian artist Chris Bunjamin to document seven of the eleven museums belonging to the Special Capital Region of Jakarta, all of them eminent landmarks in the Indonesian capital and in the Indonesian national consciousness. These include: the National Monument [Monas], the Jakarta History Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts and Ceramics, the Textile Museum, the Wayang Museum, the Prasasti Museum and Gedong Joang ’45.

Side Note: Yayasan Mitra Museum Jakarta [Friends of Jakarta Museums Foundation] envisions Jakarta museums, starting with museums under the Jakarta provincial government, to become excellent centres of education, entertainment, and recreation; where citizens of and visitors to the city will be able to gain historical, artistic, and cultural knowledge and experience.

'The Good and Bad Painting' by Ashley Bickerton, 'Untitled, State Du Mirror' by Rirkrit Tiravanija, 'Prison Chess, 2010-2020', by Rafram Chaddad, and 'The End Of Signature', by Agnieszka Kurant,  Image Courtesy of Kayu Lucie Fontaine, Image by Evelyn Pritt

'The Good and Bad Painting' by Ashley Bickerton , 2008, and 'Untitled State Du Mirror', by Rirkrit Tiravanija, Image Courtesy of Kayu Lucie Fontaine, Image by Evelyn Pritt

'Three Storey, 2018 -2020' by Chris Bunjamin, Image Courtesy of Kayu Lucie Fontaine, Image by Evelyn Pritt

'Three Storey, 2018 -2020' by Chris Bunjamin, Image Courtesy of Kayu Lucie Fontaine, Image by Evelyn Pritt

Bunjamin produced a series of seven black and white photographs of these buildings, conveying a personal impression of Jakarta’s collective memory. As one of the documented sites, the Museum of Fine Arts and Ceramics – the venue of the exhibition – brings the artworks on show into a dialogue with the museum’s past, its permanent collection and its urban context, Kota Tua (Jakarta’s historically-charged old town).

The show recalls the museum’s earlier role as the Raad van Justitie, which served as the highest court of justice in colonial Indonesia. A mental space – with “Justice” as its theme – is created in the main hall of the museum, within which the artworks are displayed. The overall effect is a play on the building’s former function as a judicial seat, but one now in which artworks present themselves before the court of public of opinion. It is an invitation to explore the memories conjured up by both space and object, memories that form the linkages between our past and present.

“We Move Amongst Ghosts” will be on view from February 11 until March 15, 2020.

For further information, please contact Kayu | Lucie Fontaine at kayu@luciefontaine.com


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