Power 100

Most influential people in 2023 in the contemporary artworld



Artist Collective - Jakarta-based artist collective and artistic directors of Documenta 15

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Photo: ruangrupa/Iswanto Hartono

In January the investigation convened by Documenta into ruangrupa’s 2022 edition of the exhibition found it ‘served as an echo chamber for Israel-related antisemitism and sometimes pure antisemitism’, but also defended artistic freedom. If the Indonesian collective hoped to return to lives not under constant scrutiny – no such luck: Documenta put out apologetic statements after two members ‘liked’ a social media post depicting a pro-Palestine celebration the day of Hamas’s attack on Israel (Reza Afisina and Iswanto Hartono, both currently visiting professors at the University of Fine Arts Hamburg, also apologised, saying they mistakenly thought the video showed police breaking up the demonstration). Despite the controversies, and while less overtly and creatively active this year, their mode of nonhierarchical working is spreading, both through inspiration and ongoing collaborations: Momentum 12, the Norwegian biennial, made explicit reference to their project by including the archives of Gudskul, the free art school the collective operates in Jakarta, as did Asia Art Archive’s exhibition The Collective School.

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