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We can only be hunters of objects, and must even be non-lethal hunters, since objects can never be caught. The world is filled primarily not with electrons or human praxis, but with ghostly objects withdrawing from all human and inhuman access, accessible only by allusion and seducing us by means of allure.*

Kayu – Lucie Fontaine’s branch in Bali, Indonesia – is pleased to present its fifth project, “Ritiro” [The Retreat], a two-venue exhibition of international artists on view at Rumah Topeng Dan Wayang [The House of Mask and Puppet] in Bali and Rumah Doa Bagi Semua Bangsa [The House Of Prayer For All Nations] in Java, Indonesia. The participating artists are: Jumaldi Alfi, Ashley Bickerton, Lupo Borgonovo, Marco Cassani, Patrizio Di Massimo, Fendry Ekel, Dor Guez, Agnieszka Kurant, Filippo Sciascia, Alice Tomaselli, Entang Wiharso, and Alexandra Zuckerman.

The exhibition aims to put forward the identity of Kayu, showing artworks altrove [elsewhere], in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by nature, a place between magic and dream, in opposition to the traditional white cube gallery and the environment that surrounds it. Furthermore the title Ritiro, which is the Italian word for retreat, refers to The Retreat (or the York Retreat), which is the country house founded by William Tuke in 1796 in Lamel Hill, York, England, for the treatment of people with mental health-related needs. In his book Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason (1961) Michel Foucault described The Retreat as “a contractual alliance, a convergence of interests, organized on the type of simple partnerships.”

Specifically, “Ritiro” aims to reflect upon the concept of the artwork as a self-sufficient entity able to generate and acquire new values within “a permanent autonomous zone where objects are simply themselves.”* The concept of this project refers to the idea that things without life, or seemingly without life, can actually have their own existence. Inspired by Balinese culture, which is a mixture of Animism and Hinduism and in which Kayu exists, the exhibition implements theories from Western contemporary philosophies such as Speculative Relative and OOO (Object-Oriented Ontology).

In particular, “Ritiro” takes – literally and metaphorically – the artworks away from the comfort zone of the white cube space, creating a distance – that is physical and mental – between the artworks and contemporary society. Over the duration of this project, the artworks will be presented in two different venues: from December 4-15, 2016, at Rumah Topeng Dan Wayang in Bali, and on December 20 at Rumah Doa Bagi Semua Bangsa in Java.

The intimate atmosphere of Kayu – which is located in a joglo, a traditional Javanese wooden house within the context of Rumah Topeng Dan Wayang – will serve as a statement against the disaffection of the art field for domestic spaces in favour of more neutral and aseptic space. This is a very dear issue to Lucie Fontaine, as demonstrated with projects such as “Estate” and her series of exhibitions “Domesticity,” which fifth iteration served as Kayu’s grand opening.

The one-day relocation of the artworks at the Rumah Doa Bagi Semua Bangsa – which is a building with the shape of a gigantic dove located in a remote area of central Java – is a magical action that brings the artworks faraway in an androgynous zone, pushing the artworks to their limits, questioning their authorship or new anonymity; here they confront themselves and the surrounding nature. Rumah Doa Bagi Semua Bangsa was conceived as a worship site where people of all religions could pray. Consequently the building became a place used as a reception centre for people with mental problems. Abandoned for several years, the building is now an attraction for local tourists.

The exhibition is open everyday from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM at the Rumah Topeng Dan Wayang in Bali. The exhibition displayed at Rumah Doa Bagi Semua Bangsa is open to the public on December 20 only from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM.

Special program includes a lecture by one of the employees of Lucie Fontaine at Kayu on December 4 and talks by exhibiting artists Patrizio Di Massimo and Agnieszka Kurant followed by a Q&A moderated by art historian Tony Godfrey at Langgeng Art Foundation in Yogyakarta on December 17.

For further information please contact Lucie Fontaine’s employee in Bali kayu@luciefontaine.com

* Graham Harman, Nº 085: The Third Table, part of dOCUMENTA (13): 100 Notes - 100 Thoughts / 100 Notizen - 100 Gedanken (Berlin: Hatje Cantz, 2012): 12-14.