17 Volcanoes: Works by Franz Wilhelm Junghuhn, Armin Linke, Bas Princen, U5 and Wermke/Leinkauf opens at the Princeton School of Architecture. It is curated by Alexander Lehnerer, Assistant Professor, ETH Zurich, and Philip Ursprung, Professor of the History of Art and Architecture, ETH Zurich, and curated for the Princeton School of Architecture by Tina di Carlo. The exhibition will be formally opened with a talk from Philip Ursprung on February 17th at noon, followed by an opening reception at 5 pm.
The exhibition celebrates volcanoes as figures in the landscape of Java, as politically, economically and culturally-charged objects whose ambiguous existence makes them particularly interesting for architectural scrutiny. Volcanoes act and behave in periodic cycles, they are neither urban nor rural, neither alive nor dead, neither past nor present, neither good nor bad. As giant figures in the landscape, they create the land and continuously transform it. Despite their overwhelming potential for destructiveness, they produce fertile grounds to feed one of the world’s most densely populated islands.
Between 1836 and 1848, the German-Dutch explorer Franz Wilhelm Junghuhn made several expeditions to Java — the geographic, historic, cultural, political and economic center of Indonesia — in the service of the Dutch colonial authorities. He was among the first to climb the island’s many volcanoes, and his books, maps, and lithographs made him the “Humboldt of Java.” Linke and Princen follow in Junghuhn’s footsteps, visiting his favorite volcanoes to produce new bodies of work in which the volcanoes form territorial markers, allowing them to interweave historical and contemporary narratives of Indonesia.
17 Volcanoes presents a collection of Junghuhn’s scientific and artistic works in conjunction with photographic and video works by Linke, photographs by Princen, and artworks by U5 and Wermke/Leinkauf. Among them is Princen’s c-print of Gunung Merapi, now considered Java’s most dangerous volcano. The exhibition also includes two large sculptures produced by Zenvin Artstone in Magelang as large souvenirs.
17 Volcanoes is part of a multi-year research project at the Future Cities Laboratory at Singapore ETH Centre. It is funded by the National Research Foundation of Singapore and ETH Zurich.
Bas Princen. Volcano Walk, Gunung Bromo (January eruption), 2016. C-print, 180 x 225 cm. © Bas Princen