Singapore Human Resources Institute, 2016
Installation with paintings, prints, photographs, found objects and furniture
Collection of the Artist
Singapore Biennale 2016 commission
Darmawan’s work continues his interest in the peripheral histories of capitalism and their relationship with contemporary life. Its entry point is the Singapore Human Resources Institute, established in 1965 (the year Singapore became independent) to promote excellence in human resource management and development – an integral role then, as now, for Singapore’s economic development. The installation comprises objects once found in offices and domestic environments in Singapore as well as Indonesia, in an imagined space commemorating the institute’s achievements. This space serves as a memory-archive, a palimpsest of ‘minor histories’ which acquire a historical significance in their collective impact on society and the state at large. Embedded in these found objects and collages are narratives about national ideologies and aspirations, as well as parallels with other Southeast Asian nations with capitalist ambitions. Darmawan transforms the detritus of consumerist society into lenses for viewing the political, social and economic transformations that have shaped both Singapore and the region.