Pentagonal Icositetrahedron


In the artist-in-residency at Cemeti – Institute for Art and Society in Yogyakarta, Van Braak expanded the scope of his practice to include other personal stories and histories, drawing from an intensive collaboration with local contemporary artists, writers, woodcarvers and activists. This resulted in the work Pentagonal Icositetrahedron (2017), the starting point of the exhibition: a three-dimensional spherical object with 24 sides, each carved design contributed by a different artist. Like a prism, the sphere reflects varying personal, activist statements, that not only overlap but also literally form one whole. Recurring themes are the exploitation of nature and natural resources, industrialisation and land rights. During the exhibition the installation functions as an active printing workshop where all the prints are distributed for free. Participating artists : Akiq AW, Antitank, Ibob Arief, Djuwadi, Fitri DK, Ervance ‘Havefun’ Dwiputra, Satoto Budi Hartono, Agung Kurniawan, Timoteus Anggawan Kusno, Rangga Lawe, Hestu Setu Legi, Maryanto, Prihatmoko Moki, Needle and Bitch, Ipeh Nur, Onyenho, Deni Rahman,Yudha Sandy, Naomi Srikandi, Ignasius Dicky Takndare, Julian Abraham ‘Togar’, Isrol Triono (Media Legal), Bayu Widodo, Muhammad ‘Ucup’ Yusuf.


Kevin van Braak

Elephant, sculpture in teak wood, ± 850 x 350 x 140 cm, 2015.

For the 5th edition of the international outdoors exhibition Lustwarande in Tilburg, Netherlands (until October 25, 2015), artist Kevin van Braak created a pervasive sculpture of a life-size poached elephant with cut out tusks. It strikingly captured the exhibition theme ‘Rapture and Pain’. Elephant directly addresses the important social issue of animal poaching and the risk of extinction. It comments on societies actively and passively supporting poaching and simultaneously recollects the Baroque era as the start of this history in which the import of exotic animals, including elephants, became fashionable in Europe. The Lustwarande park was designed as such a Baroque park. Baroque gardens were the perfect setting for presenting exotic animals and emphasizing the owner’s wealth. It is a setting that fits Van Braak’s artistic practice. In general his work revolves significantly around politically and ideologically problematic topics. Previous projects were centered on the way ideologies are revealed and concealed by looking at their power display in buildings, on sites, and in artifacts. Sculptures, installations, events, performances, and video works allow Van Braak to uncover sensitivities and narratives that intersect with the histories of buildings, objects and contexts. His diverse use of material and media plays a pivotal role. It has to literally carry the concept. Elephant is made entirely of wood in collaboration with Indonesian wood carvers, who are famously skilled in working on a monumental scale and with an impressive attention to detail, both essential features of this work. The Indonesian art of woodcarving is often labeled as ‘kitsch’ in the western art world. In Elephant Van Braak turns this judgment around by making it vital to a very emotionally charged subject. The audience is invited to both look and touch the elephant skin, whose reality gives it an explosive force that is as hard-hitting as it is sensitive.

Fundament Foundation


Hellfire Pass


Hellfire Pass. Hellfire Pass has the same dimensions as the original Hellfire Pass, one of the most notorious locations on the Burma-Siam railway, 18 meter high at the highest point. It is a sort of monument for useless work and the useless loss of lives of all people who have worked on that track. Not only the prisoners of war who are extensively commemorated, but also the deceased Asiatic workers who were not burried again and whose mass graves have largely been forgotten.



Cacos Shards

“Shards” has its origin in a project conceived by Kevin van Braak for the exhibition “knell dobre glas”, recently presented in the different spaces of Galeria Quadrado Azul. Within this show, the artist produced, in collaboration with José Esteves, a potter from the region of Barcelos, sixteen heads in clay representing, in a realistic aesthetic, figures intimately related to the economic, political and military administration of the planet. From the first moment, the idea was that the work would have its culmination in the burning of the heads and that the result of that process would be the shards, here presented as an allegory of the current crisis and of the desire to overcome the present time, dominated by markets, by capital and by violence. The power has also an end: like this one, broken in pieces, devastated by flames. The idea of death runs through the whole project of Kevin van Braak. The heads were modelled from images found on the internet: from corporate images and other images harvested from the media flow, the artist formed his archive. Figures live in the condition of ghosts: they are men without thickness, flat, hardly identifiable because their action is governed by secrecy in distant spaces from the public sphere and from the control of the voters. Kevin van Braak also chose to make the heads in a dimension larger than the human scale, emphasizing the monstrosity of the portrayed with this gesture. To the visitor of “knell dobre glas” the heads appeared in the ground, beheaded, or from the ground, as if the bodies have been buried, like in Dante’s “Hell”. The will to surrender them to fire made the rest of the job: almost nothing left, just shards, riddled skulls, bits of organs, without identity. The shards visible at the gallery in a continuous line, a sort of mass grave, also recall the discovery of bodies violently sacrificed by genocide, by ethnic persecution, by several totalitarianisms. However, the situation is reversed because the owners of power now emerge as victims of a desiring, allegorical, and even festive act – the capital devastated by art, is there a more beautiful image?

Text by Óscar Faria.


Scala 2005 – 2012

The Colonia Torino, designed by Ettore Sottsass senior in 1938, was abandoned for sixty years. Part of the structure had been destroyed by the local community, which were planning to demolish it altogether. Eventually it has been bought by a private investor and is now converted into a youth hostel.  I reconstructed a prominent feature of the architecture, a spiral staircase. Being the only staircase in the building, it is essential to a complete experience of the complex. I made a wooden replica of the staircase in accordance with the original drawings. The choice of a different material reveals the fragility and temporary nature of the staircase, in contrast to the concrete of the rest of the complex of buildings, which is in keeping with the fascist desire to last forever. In August 2012 I temporarily placed the Scala in its original location.