Projects/ Memories and Histories

Memories and Histories

As a place with rich narrative and values of the past

For Ade Darmawan, the flea market is always an open-ended terrain laden with very rich metaphors and meanings. It is the artist’s personal engagement with the everyday urban activities that has pushed a deeper engagement with flea market as his ‘artistic reservoir’. In Jakarta, as well as in Amsterdam, or in other major cities in the world, flea market is a typical urban site that emerges organically. It is characterized by informal economy as an attempt to survive on the one side, and to operate beneficial public activities outside the official rules or laws of the formal market institution on the other.


Inspired by objects and images that he found at the second-hand markets in Indonesia and the Netherlands, Darmawan presents two works that touch upon the memories—as an alternative to ‘histories’—of the two countries. While histories are typically formal and institutional, memories are drawn from temporary impressions and sometimes considered trivial. However, Darmawan approaches the flea market as another kind of ‘museum’ that can also produce knowledge. After doing series of shopping activities, which is always a deliberate process in his art-makings, Darmawan assembles second-hand and fake colonial antiques, including some plates with VOC (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie , or the Dutch Indies Company) inscription, with some typical Dutch souvenirs. Giving emphasis to the forced symbiosis as well as coalescence of historical symbols and domestic memorabilia, he intentionally uses reassembled broken objects to express a strange combination of ‘the historical’ and ‘the exotic’. Another work is presented in the form of a pair of outdoor banner, in which he twists different images taken from second-hand books about the depiction of old Dutch Indies by Dutch artists.