Jakarta-based artist collective taking charge of the next Documenta

‘We were busy enough here, with or without Documenta,’ said farid rakun, one of the ten ‘core members’ of ruangrupa, shortly after the Jakartabased artist collective was announced as artistic director of the German quinquennial. The 2022 edition will mark the first time a collective has curated the exhibition, and the first time its artistic director has hailed from Asia. The group has pledged to stick to the methodologies they’ve been developing since 2000 (two years after the fall of Suharto), working as an ‘organism without a fixed structure’ and pursuing the question of ‘how to turn our approach into a practice that covers the whole planet’. They’ve already made strides towards implementing those systems (albeit on a local level) by opening an exhibition and events venue in Jakarta and founding Gudskul, a public education space developed with two fellow collectives. In the artworld’s search for new institutional models, ruangrupa exemplifies the creative possibilities of collaboration, social engagement and exchange. Here’s hoping it catches on.