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. At this moment she is preparing a new film, the fifth episode, about street vendors in Damascus.

Watch the four films

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

The video installation had its World Premiere at the 38th edition of the Netherlands Film Festival in Utrecht, the Netherlands, from September 28 until October 4. Ten hours a day the work has been exhibited at the venue JK24;
After the World Premiere Street vendors was part of the art fair BIG ART Bajes in the former Amsterdam jail, October 11 till 14 in Amsterdam. There the installation was exhibited for eight hours a day and had thousands of visitors;

Street vendors had its Indonesian premiere at Ruang MES 56 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia on December 12 at 7 PM. The work was exhibited for a month in the two gallery rooms following a North-South and West-East logic. The show was part of Festival Film Dokumenter 2018. Until January 12, 2019;

Street vendors was exhibited as a single screen work for one day at the NOT SO FAR marathon, organised by the Fondazione per l’architettura. The work was part of the Biennale Democrazia in Turin, Italy. Saturday 30 March;Street vendors was exhibited on a satellite location of Museum IJsselstein: at the former HUBO at Utrechtsestraat 37 in IJsselstein, the Netherlands. Opening Saturday June 8, until July 14. The presentation was part of the summer exhibition Vrijplaats.
Street vendors had its Colombian premiere at Paul Bardwell Gallery in Colombo Americano in Medellín, Colombia on August 6 at 7 PM. The installation was exhibited in this spacious white cube gallery of 20 x 7 meters until August 22. The show has been supported by the Mondriaan Fund International Presentations grant;
Street vendors was exhibited at Kunstlijn 2019 at the former bowling alley of Sociëteit Vereeniging in Haarlem, the 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 at 4 PM. Until May 31, 2020. The exhibition has been supported by the Mondriaan Fund International Presentations grant;

Street vendors will be part of the exhibition City Life at De Kerk / Museum Arnhem in Arnhem, the Netherlands. Opening early February 2020. Until mid May. More information closer to the date;
Street vendors will have its South African premiere at Windybrow Arts Centre in Johannesburg. The exhibition takes place in July. More information closer to the date;
More exhibitions to be announced soon.

Su Tomesen, December 2019