Street vendors: Medellín, Tirana, Johannesburg, Yogyakarta (2018), a video installation featuring four films

Street vendors: Medellín, Tirana, Johannesburg, Yogyakarta is a video installation with four films about street vendors in four cities on four different continents. We watch the vendors as they are are being observed by Su Tomesen in their daily trials and tribulations. The entrepreneurs prove to be resourceful in their claim of the sidewalks and, while improvising, they manage to generate their income. Tomesen portrays them while revealing the beauty of unintentional compositions, colors, forms and repetitive qualities. By this, the four films remind of installation art and performances.

The day elapses and enfolds – without any voice-over, dialogue or explanation. The rhythm of the films follows the rhythm of a day. The repetition found in situations and activities that occur every single day, regardless of the weather are like a scripted reality; as if time stands still and repeats itself endlessly in different variations.

The films about the wondrous world of the urban micro economy and resourcefulness in the public domain in Medellín (the episode Calle), Tirana (Rruga), Johannesburg (Street) and Yogyakarta (Jalan) can be presented next to each other as a four-channel video installation with one soundtrack, or separately as a single screen work. Each film lasts half an hour and all films start at beginning of the day and end at approximately the same time.

The project has been made possible by generous support of Mondriaan Fonds, Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst, Tijl Fonds, Nederlands Filmfonds, Stichting Stokroos.

Su Tomesen is an artist and filmmaker based in Amsterdam and Yogyakarta. Her work consists of videos, photography and installations. In the past years she’s had solo exhibitions in Erasmus Huis in Jakarta, Casa Tres Patios in Medellín and the Polar room in W139 in Amsterdam. Since 2017 her work is structurally supported for four years by Mondriaan Fund, thanks to their Stipend for Established Artists.

Watch the four films

Exhibitions of Street vendors: Medellín, Tirana, Johannesburg, Yogyakarta:

Street vendors: Medellín, Tirana, Johannesburg, Yogyakarta had its World Premiere in a solo exhibition at the 38th edition of the Netherlands Film Festival in Utrecht, Netherlands. Ten hours a day the work has been exhibited at the venue JK24. September 28 until October 4;
Street vendors was part of the art fair in a former Amsterdam jail, BIG ART Bajes in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The installation was exhibited for eight hours a day and had thousands of visitors. October 11 till 14;
Street vendors had its Indonesian premiere in a solo exhibition at Ruang MES 56 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. The work was exhibited for a month in the two gallery rooms following a North-South and West-East logic. The show was also part of the Festival Film Dokumenter 2018. December 12 until January 12, 2019.

Street vendors was exhibited as a single screen installation for one day at NOT SO FAR marathon organized by Fondazione per l’Architettura. The work was part of the Biennale Democrazia in Turin, Italy. March 30;
Street vendors was exhibited at a former shop in the Utrechtsestraat, a satellite location of Museum IJsselstein in IJsselstein, Netherlands. Opening Saturday June 8, until July 14. The presentation was part of the summer exhibition Vrijplaats.
Street vendors had its Colombian premiere in a solo exhibition at Paul Bardwell Gallery / Colombo Americano in Medellín, Colombia. The installation was exhibited in this spacious white cube gallery of 20 x 7 meters. The Mondriaan Fund International Presentations grant supported my travel and stay. August 6 until August 22;
Street vendors was exhibited at Kunstlijn 2019 at the former bowling alley of Sociëteit Vereeniging in Haarlem, Netherlands. November 1 until 3;
Street vendors had its Italian premiere at the group show Arte al Centro 2019 at Cittadellarte / Fondazione Pistoletto in Biella, Italy. Opening Sunday October 13. The Mondriaan Fund International Presentations grant supported my travel and stay. The exhibition was planned to be on till May 31, 2020 but had to close due to Covid-19.

Street vendors was part of the exhibition City Life curated by Manon Braat at De Kerk / Museum Arnhem in Arnhem, the Netherlands. Opening 8 February 2020, closed during lockdown, reopened until 23 August;
Street was part of the solo exhibition Joburg Hawkers at Zuid-Afrikahuis Amsterdam, the Netherlands. March 5 until August 20;
Street Vendors was part of the online exhibition of Dutch Design Week 2020. October 17 till 25.

Street vendors will have its South African premiere in a group exhibition at Bag Factory, Artists’ Studios in Johannesburg, South Africa. The work is part of a series of exhibitions celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Bag Factory. Group show The Street opens on 24 July; Street Vendors is a separate event in the middle of the exhibition and launched on August 7. Until August 19;
Street Vendors will be exhibited at Plein Theater in Amsterdam, Netherlands. New dates to be announced after cancellation during the lockdown.

Su Tomesen, March 2021