29 September 2017 until 14 November 2017

Iswanto Hartono: Monuments

Oude Kerk presents: Iswanto Hartono - Monuments

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Look at the many memorial stones of the seafarers who set out to colonise the world. It was these men who were honoured as national heroes, but who now also symbolise an ethnocentric appropriation of the 'other' based on their own cultural perspective.

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Together with Indonesian artist Iswanto Hartono, the Oude Kerk presents an exhibition in the context of the Europalia Indonesia. From 29 September to 14 November 2017, Iswanto Hartono connects the history of the Oude Kerk with Indonesia’s colonial past, from an anthropological and archaeological perspective.

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Hartono is creating site-specific work for the Oude Kerk. Within this monumental building he will reflect upon the topic of colonization, a matter strongly related to the Oude Kerk. The many decorated graves of former acclaimed heroes, men who sailed out to colonize the world, bear witness to this. It was these men who became national heroes, and who have come to symbolize the ethnocentrism – experiencing and judging ‘others’ based on one’s own cultural perspective – that has characterized Europe since the 17th century.

About Iswanto Hartono

Iswanto Hartono’s interdisciplinary practice focuses on the issues of history, time, space and urbanity. Trained as an architect, Iswanto is interested in exploring structure and form, and in researching the alternative uses of a space. Hartono’s work aims to provoke a critical awareness of space. The artist questions what space actually is or how it has been perceived as a matter of course. Hartono is particularly interested in Indonesian traditions and parts of that country’s history that have consciously been forgotten. Previous projects revolved around colonization and the battle of identity in contemporary Indonesia.


The exhibition by Iswanto Hartono is being organized by the Oude Kerk in the context of the Europalia Indonesia in Brussels. Every two years Europalia invites the audience to discover the art and cultures of a guest country, which is Indonesia during the current edition. Because of its strong historical connections to Indonesia and the colonial history of the Netherlands, the Oude Kerk is organizing an exhibition that exposes this darker past during the Europalia Arts festival.