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Museum MACAN exhibition focuses on relationship between people and place

Museum MACAN exhibition focuses on relationship between people and place
April 15, 2019

Indonesia's leading institution dedicated to modern and contemporary art, Museum MACAN presents a group presentation, Matter and Place, focusing on the exploration of relationship between people and place from 13th April to 21st July 2019 in the Museum’s Sculpture Garden.

Matter and Place presents a selection of artworks that investigate a connection between materials and our sensory observation, which help to define our understanding of identity. The presentation features an installation by respected Indonesian architect Andra Matin and Malaysia-based contemporary artist Shooshie Sulaiman, as well as works from key Indonesian, regional, and global artists part of MACAN’s collection: Danh Vō, FX Harsono, Genevieve Chua, and Theaster Gates.

The artists in this presentation employ a range of materials and approaches to examine some of the ideas surrounding identity, politics, economy and culture that are connected to specific locations and geographical regions.

Indonesian architect Andra Matin, who was awarded a special mention at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia (2018) presents Elevation - an installation that explores the elevational diversity in Indonesia’s vernacular architecture, which reflects the way people interact with nature and their culture. The installation is made from an intricately woven rattan shroud that encompasses a spiral staircase made of Jabon wood - which has been developed specifically for the woodworking industry - and welcomes visitors to discover nine different traditional Indonesian homes and dwellings, including Rumah Joglo from Java (a perfect blend of traditional Javanese and modern architecture), and Honai from Papua (with mushroom-shaped roofs made of wood and hay).

The façade of the installation features rattan weaving with a distinctive pattern inspired by an array of Indonesian textiles. Incorporating modern and technologically advanced materials together with components of tradition, Matin presents how the unique diversity and history of architecture in Indonesia are fundamental to understand contemporary ways of living in harmony with the environment.

Meanwhile, Shooshie Sulaiman creates a site-specific 2019 work Tadika Getah (translated as Rubber Kindergarten), which continues her work with materials used throughout her practice. The connection to rubber, and particularly to rubber plantations, comes from Sulaiman’s childhood and origin: playing in a rubber plantation owned by her father, and that Malaysia is one of the leading rubber producers in the world. The artist’s fascination with rubber milk (or latex) as an artistic material reinforces the intrinsic cultural value and economic and political context it holds to much of Southeast Asia’s history. Also, on view is Sulaiman’s installation for the current UOB Museum MACAN Children’s Art Space installation, Main Getah/Rubberscape.

Other works, which are also part of the Museum’s collection include: A Transgressive Wyoming (2017) by American artist Theaster Gates, which showcases a large bronze sculpture in the shape of the United States, whose surface is painted with tar. This work refers to suburban vernacular architecture, where he invokes the social conditions of local black communities, as well as the labour required to create housing.

Danh Vō’s 165° W (2011) is part of the artist’s ongoing series presenting cardboard boxes he has found from his birthplace of Vietnam and transformed them with the application of gold leaf referring to colonialisation, migration, displacement, and identity.

Aaron Seeto, Director of Museum MACAN, advised “Matter and Place is a bold step into presenting art with theory, and in turn, presenting that to our audiences, which we hope will further entice their curiosity and cultural appreciation.

“The exhibition imagines a view of Anthropocene - the term which refers to the current geological age we live in - and explores how human identities are manifested through materials, and how through art, these could disclose future worldly relationships.”

For more information visit

Image: Andra Matin, Elevation (2018). Installation view at Matter and Place group presentation, Museum MACAN, Jakarta, Indonesia. Mixed media. 660 x 660 x 600 cm. Collection of the artist. Courtesy of Museum MACAN

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