The artist collective ruangrupa has been selected as the artistic directors for Documenta 15, which will take place in Kassel, Germany in 2022. It marks the first time the quinquennial event has been organised by an artist collective.

The Jakarta, Indonesia-based group was selected by Documenta’s eight-strong ‘finding committee’, which includes Tate Modern director Frances Morris and Elvira Dyangani Ose, director of London’s Showroom gallery.

Explaining their choice, Dyangani Ose and fellow committee member Philippe Pirotte (director, Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Künste – Städelschule, and Portikus, Frankfurt am Main), said: “We have appointed ruangrupa because they have demonstrated the ability to appeal to various communities, 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.”

Other committee members include Charles Esche, director of the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, the artist and documentary maker Amar Kanwar, and Gabi Ngcobo, curator of the 10th Berlin Biennale in 2018.

Commenting for ruangrupa – an Indonesian word that loosely translates as ‘a space for art’ or ‘a space form’ –  collective members Farid Rakun and Ade Darmawan said they would be taking a participatory approach for Documenta 15: “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.”

They added: “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 ruangrupa collective was founded in 2000 in Jakarta where it runs an art space in the south of the city. The group has produced exhibitions, festivals and publications, and has taken part in many international projects.

These include the Gwangju Biennale (2002 and 2018), the Istanbul Biennale (2005), the Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (Brisbane, 2012), the Singapore Biennale (2011), the São Paulo Bien nale (2014), the Aichi Triennale (Nagoya, 2016), and Cosmopolis at Centre Pompidou (Paris, 2017).

In 2016, ruangrupa curated TRANSaction: Sonsbeek 2016 in Arnhem, the Netherlands. Last year, the collective founded an educational and networking project for creatives based on cooperative work.

Documenta 15 will take place from 18 June to 25 September 2022.

1. ruangrupa, 2019. Reza Afisina, Indra Ameng, Farid Rakun, Daniella Fitria Praptono, Iswanto Hartono, Ajeng Nurul Aini, Ade Darmawan, Julia Sarisetiati, Mirwan Andan. Photo: Gudskul / Jin Panji
2. The International Finding Committee, Documenta 15: Frances Morris, Amar Kanwar, Philippe Pirotte, Elvira Dyangani Ose, Ute Meta Bauer, Jochen Volz, Charles Esche, Gabi Ngcobo. Photo: Nicolas Wefers, 2019

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