Ade Darmawan’s own art explores his country, Indonesia, its history and, most importantly, its people. His installations are based on a study of the life cycle of everyday objects, collected from, both, home and industrial consumption. Embedded in these found objects and collages are narratives about national ideologies and aspirations, as well as parallels with similar capitalist ambitions. Ade often turns the spotlight on what he calls “minor histories”— events that in themselves may not possess historic relevance but, in the aggregate, make up a community’s past.
For the exhibition Doing business with the Dutch, Darmawan has been looking into how a society comes to an agreement as a nation and works together to sell itself as human capital, by consciously constructing a national identity and by presenting it as a value for economic trade. The act of this structured trade created trends and produced certain objects and stories, that are often re-intrepreted and misintrepreted. The installation presented in the show is inspired by books and images -strictly produced by the Dutch about Indonesia from the 1800-1900 and by the contemporary trading culture in the Netherlands- and presented as a design of a domestic interior.