Pushing Against the Roof of the World: Ruangrupa’s Prospects for Documenta Fifteen

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Mythology offers a way to understand the implications of a Southeast Asian group organising such a touchstone event in contemporary art. George McT Kahin wrote with great resolve in his Introduction to Benedict Anderson’s Mythology and the Tolerance of the Javanese (1965) that ‘anyone interested in contemporary Indonesia; its organization and social and political articulation... comes to realize that in order to achieve any real depth of understanding for these phenomena; it is first necessary to appreciate the enduring and frequently manifest residuum of traditional; pre-Western culture’. This is certainly true with respect to ruangrupa; whose collective nature and esteemed stature has affected how the whole of Indonesian art is perceived.