Alexandra Karyn

Bearing Witness // November 9 – December 1, 2019

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“I find the Celtic belief very reasonable, that the souls of those we have lost are held captive in some inferior creature, in an animal, in a plant, in some inanimate thing, effectively lost to us until the day, which for many never comes, when we happen to pass close to the tree, come into possession of the object that is their prison. Then they quiver, they call out to us, and as soon as we have recognized them, the spell is broken. Delivered by us, they have overcome death and they return to live with us.” 

― Marcel Proust, Swann’s Way (In Search of Lost Time #1)

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Rumah Tangga’s resident fly-on-the-wall writer, Karyn, has set up her new semi-outdoor studio, “Kantor Karyn”, looking out onto the field where she will be gathering traces from around the home and land. Somewhere between poet and journalist, Karyn is a gifted and sensitive observer, listener, casual off-the-cuff interviewer, and experimental writer. The life and insight that our resident artists bring to this space are a great reward for all of us, and working with Karyn, chatting, having meals together, and simply having her around the home on weekends is a great honor. —KDP 2019

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First reveal of Bearing Witness, November 9, 2019

photos: Patar Pribadi

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The first desk making workshop , November 10, 2019

photos: Patar Pribadi

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photos: Patar Pribadi

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Final reveal, final tour, roundtable discussion and Karyn’s Birthday! December 1, 2019

photos: Patar Pribadi

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Karyn’s residency was a mix of writing, making, and creating public workshops. Catch a glimpse of Karyn’s own personal reflections in writing HERE.

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With Karyn here, our woods workshop has been brought to life. Her desk making project has been open to all and so far six different people have been able to contribute. This has since inspired other works and everyone’s skills and imaginations are growing.

Karyn’s work at Rumah Tangga first began with tracing the changes that occur between her residency periods… windows cracked by bats, the accumulation of dust, the shifting color of the land as we press on through the heat of Indonesia’s dry season, structures which develop and/or decay. Karyn’s steady eye inspires us to keep the space fresh and growing, creating an ecosystem of ideas.

Unfurling traces

Having stepped down from her Desk of Power, Karyn delivers the decree that she and her minions would build even more desks from scrapwood. Rejoicing ensued, desks were built. No other work followed.

…Karyn summons the echoing fruit-belly of a nearby melon.

Burning trash becomes a blaze in the field behind Rumah Tangga. It was a different kind of residency day, spent running about gathering water, pruning the trees which overhang the wall, and cutting down the grass to keep the fire from spreading.

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Alexandra Karyn (b.1995) is an artist based in Jakarta, Indonesia. Karyn’s art practice and research explore the many ways of putting a heightened emphasis on the ways we connect and disconnect; towards ourselves, among each other, and within our surrounding. When responding to a space, Karyn invites her viewers to imagine new situations and dispositions by supposing familiar longings and its multitudes in abstracted settings. Her texts act as her visuals, primarily arranging letters that make up words in an elaborate composition. Often presented with an opacity, viewers are inhibited in reading her texts cohesively due to her own anxiety of a stranger’s intimacy. Karyn’s installation works challenge notions of materiality and engagement, as she positions faint objects in a quiet and non-intrusive way, suggesting a meditative quality which encourages the audience to investigate their present and memory scape. Karyn is interested in the idea of isolating confusion and pain. A room is often manipulated into many negative spaces yet adorned by the voices of confessional stories and letters. Time is both palpable and invisible as she incorporates interactive objects into her installation area, juxtaposing them with objects that weigh the room down, contrasting the dynamic with the static to amplify a greater sense and longing for stillness ― a quality she desperately seeks in this short and transient life.

For more info check out: alexandrakaryn.com/ & instagram @alx.karyn