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Sonsbeek ’16: transACTION

Last week after work I visited SONSBEEK ’16: transACTION with two friends of mine. SONSBEEK ’16: transACTION is a public art exhibition mainly located in the similarly called park Sonsbeek, Arnhem. The park shows 45 installations from 22 artists of several countries. Besides this there are workshops and giant murals spread downtown Arnhem. This 11th edition of the art exhibition was officially opened by King Willem Alexander on 3 June. From then on this 8 yearly art event is freely accessible for public from 4 June to 18 September.

SONSBEEK ’16: transACTION’s curator is Indonesian art collective, ruangrupa. The curators did a good job in arranging and selecting the artworks, triggering the visitors and stimulating the public for interaction. As an Indonesian where modern art is mostly seen as something abstract and difficult to understand, this made me proud.

One of my friends who went along, works as a volunteer in this event. She provided me with insight information about the installations. It was a long pleasant walk around downtown and in the park despite the gloomy Dutch summer weather. Let me guide you around virtually. All pics were taken with iPhone.

This is called Feldkuche from Iswanto Harjono (Jakarta). Feldkuche displays 80 wooden figures from the end of WW II until the commemoration of John Frost bridge, referring to Operation Market Garden. On the left is Soekarno Indonesia’s first president and Che Guevarra.  This installation is located on the Rhine riverbank, on the foot of John Frost bridge.

Feldkuche Iswanto Hartono Sonsbeek'16

This beautiful mural is from Fintan Magee (Sydney). Feast before flood. This is the artist explanation:

Despite their green image, cycling and recycling culture and history of liberal politics, The Netherlands is actually one of the worst carbon polluters in Europe per-capita. It has a famed reputation for floriculture and is the largest producer and exporter of flowers worldwide. Although the floral industry plays to the idealistic imagery of the beautiful flower-covered countryside you see in tourist brochures, it is in fact an energy-hungry business that generates almost three kilograms of CO2 for every rose stem grown.

This is the common discord between industry and environmentalists worldwide, if climate change continues then the low-lying Netherlands faces enormous pressure from rising sea levels that could destroy its industry, agriculture and even population centres. If the industry is dismantled now, thousands of people will lose jobs. 

This mural depicts a bunch of season flowers, purchased from a local market slowly being submerged in water from to right of the painting. The text features two words from a combination of sayings: ‘Feast or Famine’ and an Australian variant of the saying: ‘Flood or Drought’, both words relating to loss, gain, over-consumption and environmental disaster.

What a deep thought, it got me thinking too.

Fintan Magee Feast before flood Sonsbeek'16

Untitled mural from Nnamari (Arnhem) at the Coehoornpark.

Claws by Mark Salvatus (Manila). With the cast-offs of Arnhem’s population, Salvatus created a personal work of art: a playground for cats and their owners. These books make the cat’s nails sharper, as books make our human mind sharper. Mark sees books as a powerful means of disseminating or destroying ideas. They symbolize human evolution.

This is not an official installation. Kids of a school nearby made this site.

Paksi Human animal by Jatiwangi Art Factory (Jatiwangi, Indonesia). This is Buraq, mythical creature from Quran.

Paksi Human animal Jatiwangi Art Factory Sonsbeek'16

And this is my most favorite installation, the Bakehouse by Alphons ter Avest (Arnhem). This house is made of wooden frame showing religious symbols.

The Bakehouse Alphons ter Avest Sonsbeek'16

In this house there is this big oven. Every Sunday, pieces of the wooden frame will be fed under the oven to lit it. Everyone is invited to bake their bakegoods in the oven. At the end of the exhibition there would be nothing left of the Bakehouse except the oven. Interesting right?  Sustainable, setting a bridge for the interaction between the visitors. Perhaps I’d participate in the baking hour.

The Bakehouse Alphons ter Avest Sonsbeek'16

The Bakehouse Alphons ter Avest Sonsbeek'16

The Bakehouse Alphons ter Avest Sonsbeek'16

From the most favorite installation to the most intriguing one: Vvest Life from KUNSTrePUBLIEK (Berlin). This tent is built from used life vest by Syrian refugees in Lesbos, Greece. Its star form points to its peak where EU flag flaps.

Vvest Life KUNSTrePUBLIEK Sonsbeek'16

Imagine the life of those who wore these life vests sitting in an overloaded boat somewhere in the Mediterranean sea. This one made me sad and gloomy.

Vvest Life KUNSTrePUBLIEK Sonsbeek'16

This lady with big tummy is an illegal installation. It is not appointed by the curator but the artist placed it here. The organizer has welcomed this  of course but there is no information provided.

Common Ground from Maze de Boer (Amsterdam). De Boer transported this colourful playset from a park in Tebet, a quarter in Jakarta to Arnhem. And somewhere in Tebet there is a gray Dutch playset. It is quite stunning to see the difference of the security requirements between the equipments in Indonesia and The Netherlands. Or what is the common ground of the playground? Happy children playing?

Common Ground Maze de Boer Sonsbeek'16

Maze de Boer Sonsbeek16 Transaction
Pong from Louie Cordero (Manila). There are four unusual multicoloured ping pong tables. Cordero used the same paint and prints that are used on the Jeepneys in Manila. Visitors need to bring their own ping pong bats for a play.

Pong Louie Cordero Sonsbeek'16

The happy camper by Louie Cordero (Manila). Cordero asks visitors to help him complete the open part of the head by plastering clay pieces or chewing gums. This is the favorite spot for kids and adults. Playful!

The Happy Camper Sonsbeek'16

Bamburst by Eko Prawoto (Yogyakarta). Prawoto is an architect. He was inspired by De Witte Villa (the white building behind Bamburst) and Rietveld. Bamburst is built with bamboo overflown from Yogyakarta. The organisation set open calls for public to hold celebrations/parties here. So a wedding took place here last week, an 8th grader threw his farewell party here. Bamburst has an open inviting character, I love it.

Bamburst Eko Prawoto Sonsbeek 2016 TransACTION Arnhem 2016

This last one is a mural on Stationsplein in front of Arnhem Central Station. It is an untitled mural from Marishka Soekarna (Jakarta). The city is as a mother, it welcomes you warmly.

Mariska Soekarna Sonsbeek'16

I have not seen all of the installations yet. Some of them are still works on progress. When I see a new one. I will share it on my Instagram @yoyen2008. Which one do you like btw?

Sonsbeek ’16transACTION succeeds in bringing art and integrating it in the city. It stimulates visitors to think and reflect the daily life and what happens around it.

Very well done Ruangrupa. A deep bow from a fellow Indonesian here.

9 thoughts on “Sonsbeek ’16: transACTION

  1. Wow so cool mbak! The art works are all so thought provoking. Also very happy to see Pak Eko’s bamboo installation – he is a friend of my father since they both work in the same university and I love his works!

    • Yes it is so cool. I love to see the varieties in the installations Gy. Ah, you know Eko Prawoto? His Bamburst is cool. Really love it!

      • Yup he is a friend of my family. Once he did a bamboo Christmas tree at one of the churches in Yogyakarta, pretty cool.

        I think I would enjoy the installations and it’s free too? And in an open space! Super love!

  2. Have he made the Bamburts installation done? It seems still in progress.. or maybe the artist just left it undone?

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