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Indonesia’s urban landscapes look pretty much the same wherever you are. Towns cluttered by random structures, old houses left to fade, revamped shophouses masked by modern frontage or high walls too impenetrable for the passer-by to see. Retronesia refreshes this vista of the urban mundane by throwing open the unique history of Indonesia’s stylized buildings from the 1950s and 1960s. This was the time Indonesia burst onto the world scene and wanted its city’s and buildings to reflect a new era with a brave and audacious style. Retronesia takes us on a tour of that time and place stopping at towns and cities once bursting with energy and optimism. Color photographs, oral histories, and archive materials showcase the heyday of Mid-Century modern architecture and the marvel of a nation’s all but forgotten flamboyance. In doing so, the book reveals how modernist western architecture captured the imagination of a boisterous new nation. The result is a cultural and style atlas that gracefully rekindles those forgotten years of building dangerously.

Tariq Khalil’s narrative photographs focusing on buildings and their histories have been exhibited in Dubai, Pakistan, Greece, and across the UK. Depot Daylight, his first solo exhibition in London in 2005, was a monochromatic study of railway buildings scattered across the UK. Tariq then embarked on a two-year journey to document Places Were Home, a visual study of the fate of abandoned properties on both sides of the India-Pakistan border. An original work, Places traced the fate of some winners and losers in the vast land swap following independence. Places were first exhibited as a solo show at Asia House London in 2007 then became part of an international group show with noted artists under Green Cardamom’s Lines of Control between 2008 and 2009. Retronesia was first exhibited as a solo work-in-progress at the Jakarta Architecture Trienniale in 2012 and after some six years in the making, is Tariq’s most ambitious project to date.

21.5 x 31 cm (Portrait)

208 pages

2 kg