As part of our 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale coverage, we present the completed Indonesia Pavilion. Below, the curatorial team describes the exhibition in their own words.
What if architecture has no form and shape? It will be freed.
Emptiness here is comprehended as an active entity; a singularity that functions as a prominent agency in life and at the same time, as a void which demands to be conquered. This conquest expresses in various ritualization. Emptiness is a concept strongly rooted in Indonesia’s Architecture. The elaboration of this concept disperses in various ethnics, with various implementations. While always being observed as establishing tacit order in particular space and time, the understanding is yet, always in the same tone.
Geometry is the primitive ritualization instrument of human triumph over void, establishing cosmos over chaos. It is the marking device to constitute order in space; making inception of meaning through dwelling. At this point architecture manifests as an instrument of liberation from chaotic space. Spaces become Places.
Sunyata or the concept of Emptiness situates dialogue between human and space as the core of architectural manifestation. It is an allegory that puts forward the human as the main protagonist in this conquest over space: as a main spatial agency. By metaphorically recreating space with similar qualities, the pavilion builds linkage across places and times; a neutral space that employs many connections and consistencies as a datum linking those places of Emptiness. Made entirely of 21 m by 18 m paper floats inside the Arsenale and vertically slicing the room into two, the design of Sunyata invites audiences to experience ritualization by initiating a tactile provocation between human’s senses and space. With 9600 hand stitches to build the pavilion, 100 paper buttons to stabilize the entire structure; all made by hand in the period of 10 days, humans are the main protagonists from conception to initiation.
Some architectural projects which clearly underline this phenomenon will be on display, from the ancient ruin of Taman Sari in Yogyakarta, the postcolonial building of Stasiun Beos in Jakarta, to the more contemporary work of the younger Indonesian architect generation such as Museum Tsunami in Banda Aceh or Jonas Studio in Bandung; the display of which will emphasize the sense of Emptiness throughout the pavilion. This is an experiential project; an interplay of scale-proportion and tactility which will be the main apparatus to engage interaction between exhibition and audiences.
This project argues that the concept of Emptiness that has been practiced in Indonesia is a fundamental alternative to liberate spatial experience and tactility from ocular centrism and materiality suppression; a ‘FreeSpace’ for interpretation and imagination. It also intends to criticize cliche approach of form, materiality and ornament in understanding Indonesian architecture. By emphasizing to the very core of volumetric spatial order rather than elemental ones, this project targeting to provoke new possibilities in understanding architecture and imposing new perspective of how future architecture in Indonesia can be.
This is the 2nd time Indonesia participates in International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia after the 1st one in 2014. Commissioned by Indonesian Creative Agency and Indonesian Institute of Architects; the curatorial team of 6 people come from various background. It will be officially inaugurated by The Chief of Indonesian Creative Agency, Mr. Triawan Munaf on May 25th, 2018, at 16,00 CES; and open to general public from May 26 to November 25, 2018.