Monthly Archives: September 2016

Jakarta – An Art Kaleidoscope During August 2016

1771-curator-mikke-susanto-explaining-the-significance-of-the-painting-by-raden-saleh-penangkapan-pangeran-diponegoro-1857-during-the-curators-exhibition-tour-image-richard-horstman 17/71 Goresan Juang Kemerdekaan Curator Mikke Susanto during the Curators Tour of the National Gallery of Indonesia

The Indonesian art world has good reasons to rejoice. Not only has August been declared The Month of Art by the Provincial Government of Jakarta and Indonesia’s Creative Economic Agency, but with three prominent art events under wraps, we may now reflect on the significance of the month gone by.

These world-class events, two international boutique art fairs and one landmark Indonesian modern art exhibition, reach further than mere art dealing. They have helped consolidate Jakarta’s presence as a leading Asian art hub, and thus strike a deeper chord than that of art: that of identity and national pride.

art-stage-jakarta-2016_general-fair-view-2-jpg-image-courtesy-of-art-stage-jakarta-2016                               Art Stage Jakarta 2016

This was underlined by the main exhibition of the month, held from 2 – 30 August at Jakarta’s National Gallery of Indonesia, which presented 28 paintings from the big collection (over 3000 works) assembled by Indonesia’s founding father President Sukarno. Titled 17/71, Goresan Juang Kemerdekaan (The Brushstrokes of the Independence Struggle) it was opened on August 17th, on the 71st anniversary of the proclamation of independence by the current President Joko Widodo.  The exhibitions featured scenes of the independence struggle by Indonesian maestros such as Affandi, Sudjojono and Raden Saleh alongside pictures of iconic Indonesia by painters such as Rudolf Bonnet, Srihadi and Walter Spies.

This event was followed successively by the first edition of Art Stage Jakarta, an offshoot of Art Stage Singapore, held at the Sheraton Grand Jakarta Gandaria City from 5 to 7 August, and by Bazaar Art Jakarta (BAJ) 2016, the eighth installment of Indonesia’s first and biggest art fair, held at the Ritz-Carlton Jakarta, Pacific Place from 25 – 28 August. The characteristics of each fair’s differing approaches to engaging August revealed their individual brand appeal.

art-restoration-display-at-bazaar-art-jakarta-2016-image-by-baj2016                  Art Restoration Display by Monica Gunawan at BAJ 2016

Art Stage Jakarta (ASJ), themed “Heart Beat of Asia”, featured 49 international and Indonesian galleries, BAJ was supported by 42. Presenting over 1500 works from 19 local galleries BAJ 2016, themed “Food For The Soul # Indonesian Pride”, was joined by 23 international galleries from the USA, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea, France, Malaysia, Philippines, Japan, Hong Kong and Spain. ASJ was represented by international galleries form Singapore, Japan, Philippines, Malaysia, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Germany, Australia, and Russia.

While both fairs showed some of the best available international contemporary art, local galleries all exhibited their highest quality work to match foreign competition. Importance was placed on displaying Indonesian modern art via auction houses and a few selected galleries, and art projects.

kawan-kawan-revolusi-1947-sudjojono-image-richard-horstman     “Kawan Kawasan Revolusi” 1947 – Sudjojono 17/71 Goresan Juang Kemerdekaan

ASJ featured a comprehensive VIP program, including exclusive visits to the homes of top Indonesian collectors to view their private collections.  This was supported by two special exhibitions Affandi: The Human Face and Expose: The Collectors’ Show, and an array of iconic contemporary works throughout the exhibition space. BAJ 2016’s diverse program including EDUart, educational art programs, performances, children’s painting competition, Art Charity Auction, merchandise stores, and projects inspiring future generations of creatives lent to a greater community appeal. Both fairs included programs of informative art talks. Big attendances were backed by strong sales, with many sold out gallery booths.

20160805_150003Sotheby’s Indonesia Director Jasmine Prayseto Discussing  Affandi  During ASJ 2016 Media Tour of the Special Exhibition of Affandi: The Human Face

Auction houses have led the way in promoting Indonesian art abroad and their presence was significant in educating fair goers and collectors, as the majority of Indonesia’s modern art is in private collections.  Sotheby’s was instrumental in the ASJ’s Affandi exhibition, and at BAJ previewed works by Indonesian masters, living and deceased, from their upcoming Hong Kong Autumn Sales.  Complimenting this at BAJ was Sidharta Auctioneers, ISA Art Advisory, and a special modern art project.

Both fairs were also the platform for international galleries to introduce their international artists to Indonesian collectors and fair attendees. Collectors had the advantage of choosing from international art, and regional art, some being rich in distinctive cultural flavors appealing to local tastes; a bonus to purchase on home turf thus avoiding shipping and import issues. Both art fairs featured big name local artist’s works, trophy pieces with potent social status value. Collectors with a sharp eye sought out the rising stars of Indonesian art who show distinctive styles and promise, while their prices are yet to become too high.

huge-crowds-at-bazaar-art-jakarta-2016-image-courtesy-baj-2016                          Huge Evening Crowds Were a Feature of BAJ 2016

Art Stage’s move to Indonesia is a clear signal of the strength and potential of the market and the quality of Indonesian art. With art increasingly being seen as a store of value and an asset class, and local art being considered cheap by global standards the world’s eyes are increasingly focused upon Indonesia.

Overall Indonesia is the winner, the art industry and collectors being the beneficiaries. Opportunities for networking, cross-cultural dialogue and exchange are also essential to the evolution of the Indonesian art world. Yet arguably the most significant factor, underpinned by the National Gallery exhibition is the reminder that creativity is a potent feature of the Indonesian identity, and a timely hint to the masses of the relevance of art and culture to the nation.

20160826_104123

Mall Art Installation by Eko Nguhoro at Pacific Place Jakarta During BAJ 2016

20160808_200603       Painting by Walter Spies in 17/71 Goresan Juang Kemerdekaan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“Bali Landscapes” – Willem Kerseboom

fullsizerender1                              “Bali Landscape #4”  120 x 100cm

Willem Kerseboom had no intention of living in Bali when he first visited six years ago. Bali, however, is an intriguing, multi dimensional world. He became seduced by the distinctive qualities of the island, it’s culture, and the beauty of the local people. “I fully understand what the painters Bonnet, Hofker and Spies appreciated about Bali. Only here can these influences be absorbed,” Kerseboom said.

“At first I didn’t pay much attention to the landscape – it grew on me.”

20160817_111824                       “Bali Landscape #16”  80 x 100cm

Born 1948 in the Netherlands, from an early age Kerseboom loved to sketch and doodle, experimenting with color and form. During his teenage years he developed a passion for oil painting. He studied Dentistry from 1968 – 1975 at Utrecht University and then engaged in his own professional practice for the next seventeen years. In 1992 Kerseboom became an art dealer and the founder/director of the AFA art fair in Den Bosch until 2008. He studied art at AIS (Amsterdam Institut voor de Schilderkunst) 2000 – 2004, and then philosophy at UVA Amsterdam from 2004 – 20007.

20160817_105925                      “Bali Landscape #18” 80 x 80cm

The deeper insights into philosophy helped Kerseboom understand the metaphysics of art, the aesthetics and the processes of going beyond thought. “It’s been very helpful to study the pioneers of the abstract movement in order to have a greater understanding of their exploratory processes into new ground.”

Rarely, if ever did Kerseboom paint landscapes, he focused on portraiture, and during the 70’s was fascinated with abstract minimalism art. Later on at art collage he was influenced by the collective “After Nature” who had broke with the conventions of the time in Holland and reverted back to Van Gogh’s style.

20160817_111722                              “Bali Landscape #8” 80 x 100cm

“I could only consider myself as a painter, or a non-painter,” Kerseboom said. “Working as a dentist for 17 years allowed few opportunities, however while on holiday, when I felt free I did some strong expressive works.”

“Despite considering myself a non-painter, my desire to paint was alive and well inside.”

In 2014 Kerseboom’s wish was to create a series of Bali paintings for an exhibition in Ubud. It would be the first serious, large body of work he had put together for many years. His initial approach to interpreting his subject, the tropical landscape, was in a very Dutch way. His secret however, was in the process of allowing himself to become free, and in tune with his natural surroundings.

20160817_105031                             “Bali Landscape # 19” 80 x 80cm

“I never work on location, always in my studio in North Bali where I find the peace to be open to pure potential. My creative process begins with no real image in mind. I apply some color, and then things seem to materialize in front of my eyes. A simple brush stroke is sufficed to create a suggestive form, and in the case of a palm leave this is easily achieved. I am addicted to the colors that I see in Bali. They are not the natural of course, yet colors that are exaggerated.”

“My desire is to capture a certain beauty.”

20160817_104623                           “Bali Landscape #25” 100 x 80cm

When we focus upon Bali’s tropical landscape we may decipher a wealth of color, texture and form. Yet Kerseboom has no interest in portraying this detailed reality. His imaginary, abstract snapshots are omnipotent with suggestion, and evocative of illusory worlds.

Bright yellows contrast with blues, while reds collide with verdant greens, purple confronts orange. Shimmering and vibrating, an orgy of color performs before our eyes. Kerseboom’s use of darker blues and greens, however add conflict, triggering emotional responses. His brushstrokes are mix of the subtle, along with the bold.

20160817_105545                                “Bali Landscape #22” 120 x 100cm

Tall palms and trunks stand upright and powerful. Delicate flowers, at times in soft colors may appear floating, somehow in auras of grace. The vegetation, often back lit by flaming red and yellow sunsets, may be depicted in mere dots, dabs and strokes. His compositions can be oceans of movement, or a fusion of polarities, in which order succumbs to the chaos.

Kerseboom’s daring Bali landscapes seem to melt and dance, bathed in delicious light.

20160817_111857                            “Bali Landscape #42” 100 x 80cm

The aesthetic experience can be both exciting and dramatic, or soothing and calm, while wonderful, powerful, healing colors saturate our subconscious mind. This body of work is a milestone; being some of the best he has ever produced.

“I feel a great sense of freedom since I have simplified my life.”

20160817_105740                         “Bali Landscape #23” 100 x 80cm

While engaged in his creative process a mix of elements come into play, including confidence, detachment and trust. Yet Kerseboom admits that there is also some tension inside. “It’s important that I have 50 years experience working in this medium. Oil is unforgiving.”

“It’s essential my intuition be channeled in the one fluid and spontaneous flow.”

20160817_111941                          “Bali Landscape #3” 120 x 100cm

The Bali landscape is an infinite source of inspiration. Labelled as “like no other”, countless foreign painters have ventured to the island in search of the unique qualities of light, and potent creative experiences.

Following in a long line of Dutch painters who have graced Bali from the 1930’s onward, (Bonnet, Hofker, and Smit to name a few), decades later comes Willem Kerseboom, the “non painter” with a gift for capturing Bali’s vibrant landscape.

“I would like to be appreciated as a painter of maturity and skill. I believe this is revealed in my work.”

20160817_112029                          “Bali Landscape #36” 100 x 80cm

“Bali Landscapes“ showcases the talent of Willem Kerseboom at the TiTian Art Space, Ubud open 29 October continuing through until 7 January 2017.

This text is taken from the exhibition catalogue.

Words & Images: Richard Horstman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“ArtDenpasar” – Denpasar Art Space

made-budhiana-gunung-dan-kehidupan-2016-acrylic-on-paper                          “Gunung dan Hidupan” 2010 – Made Budhiana

The opening of the Denpasar Art Space (DAS), its potential to stimulate the development of Bali’s art scene, is good reason for optimism within the local art community. Highlighted by the inaugural exhibition “ArtDenpasar” open 20 August, this is a positive signal from the Denpasar City Government in their belief in the value of art, and how it can contribute to the local tourism and creative economies.

“In the spirit of the anniversary of the independence of the Republic of Indonesia on 17 August, from the Denpasar Art Space we present “ArtDenpasar”, the inaugural exhibition marking the start of this venue as a new cultural enclave,” said Chairman of the BPPD (Regenial Board for Tourism Promotion) of the City of Denpasar Ida Bagus Gde Sidharta Putra.

20160916_144445                      “Legong Tapak Dara” 2016 – Ida Bagus Putra Adnyana

“The BPPD evolved two years ago as a partner with the Denpasar City administration to improve the international image of tourism, to increase tourism arrivals, foreign exchange earnings, and to conduct research into business development and tourism.”

Situated in the heart of the city on Jalan Surapati, opposite the popular Lapangan Puputan Badung and the nearby Museum Bali, DAS will complement Denpasar as a cultural destination, while adding excitement to the creative art scene.

“Consolidating the image of tourism while introducing Denpasar as a city heritage, a city of culture and creativity, will make Denpasar more attractive to visitors and art lovers  from around the world,” Sidharta Putra said. “Understanding that art and cultural tourism is important to Bali, the increasing preservation and development of traditional and contemporary art and culture are assets to future tourism development.”

20160916_144316                                     “Heritage” 2016 – Romi Sukadana

Well known historian and art critic Jean Couteau said, “ Of course a venue such as the Denpasar Art Space is much needed, with a team of curators, budget, autonomy, and with a strong future vision. Its ability to create large-scale and collaborative events in other venues is also important.”

ArtDenpasar, which continues through until 20 September features works by well-known local artists within the Bali art scene including Achmad Pandi, Apel Hendrawan, Ari Winata, Tjandra Kirana, Dayu Bulan Oka, DP Arsa, Gung Man, Gus Alit, I.B Ari Munartha, I.B Putu Purwa, I.B Putra Adnyana, I.B Putu Gede Sutama, Jango Pramartha, Listya Wahyuni, Made Budhiana, Made Duatmika, Made Wianta, Made Wiradana, Ni Nyoman Sani, Nyoman Wirata, Romi Sukadana, Teja Astawa, Uuk Paramahita, Wayan Paramartha and Wayan Redika. The opening was punctuated with a performance by renowned Bali based, Japanese choreographer and dancer Jasmine Okubo.

20160916_142906     “When She’s Thirsty I Give Her My Bloodstain” 2016 – Dayu Bulan Oka

Made Budhiana (b. Denpasar1959) is responsible for creating a fresh, new direction in Balinese abstract art. “Gunung & Kehidupan” 2010, mixed media on canvas, is a fine example where colorful, angular and abstract forms combine and contrast against blank areas of canvas. The negative spaces formed in the composition become powerful and interesting visual features. His style allows both form and color greater freedom to become individual features within his compositions, while adding to the overall aesthetic impact.

Ni Nyoman Sani is widely respected as a multi disciplined Balinese female artist, recently, however she has been quiet on the local art scene and her participation in ArtDenpasar is a welcome respite. Sani exhibits “Present” 2016, a panel of four 30 x 21 cm charcoal on paper sketches featuring simplified angular figurative forms in fashion designs.

20160916_143013                             “Negeriku Indonesia” 2016 – Achmad Pandi

Romi Sukanda is a talented and versatile Sanur born painter. “Heritage” 2016, is an oil on canvas composition of traditional Balinese jukung fishing boats, featuring the characteristic Gajah Mina forms decorating the bow. Once a common sight along the beaches of Bali’s the iconic Gajah Mina, or elephant fish, is a mythical guardian creature taken from local folklore tasked with fortifying the boat during its journeys out on the seas.

Contemporary art photographer DP Arsa highlights the strength and durability of Indonesian women in his photo installation “Super Mom” featuring images of women carrying enormous loads upon their heads, each printed on round steel plates.

20160916_144539                                    “Tainted Love” 2016 – Jango Pramartha

Dayu Bulan Oka is also another talented local female artist and her acrylic and oil composition “When She’s Thirsty I Give Her My Bloodstains” 2016 is a vibrant and potent work. Her thought-provoking observation about urban and city life features a naïve composition of a cat with big eyes and long white claws, dark red contrast against blue and black coloration giving the work strong visual tension. The cat’s body is decorated with crude forms resembling buildings and physical structures.

Ida Bagus Putu Purwa contributes “Body Movements, The Series” 2015, a dynamic and spontaneous figurative work in his popular signature style. Renowned for his humorous and satirical cartoons in Bali’s iconic Bog-Bog Magazine Jango Pramartha’s naïve “Tainted Love” 2016, is a highlight of the exhibition. This refreshing acrylic and charcoal work on paper is both balanced and restrained in its coloration and composition structure.

20160916_142943                                  “Denpasar Moon” 2016 – Nyoman Wirata

One of the highlights of the ArtDenpasar  exhibition is “Denpasar Moon” by Nyoman Wirata. Dynamic coloration and  abstract elements combine to  dominate the composition that at a glance is both mysterious and intriguing. Upon closer inspection, symbolic forms are revealed from within the depths of its milieu referencing the Balinese Hindu culture. Three distinctive layers form the composition, symbolic of  heaven, earth and the underworld, flowers and  figurative forms appear as if floating and dancing around the composition. “Denpasar Moon” reflects the endless process of birth, destruction and renewal.

Incredible detail and technical skill are highlighted in Wayan Redika’s painting “Ayah Dari Bunda Jauh”, while Ari Winata’s two contributions reveal his versatility and talent as well. Three dimensional works add to the strength of the exhibition, including the wood craving “Mari Menari” by Ida Bagus Ari Munartha, a wonderfully balanced figurative composition, “Taksu Segara” 2016 by Apel Hendrawan, Ida Bagus Alit’s humorous and eccentric large breasted figure “Nyonyo Lambih”, and Ida Bagus Putu Gede Sutama’s contemporary work made from timber and steel “Terkoyak” 2016.

Words & Images: Richard Horstman

20160915_132005                                   “Taksu Segara” 2016 – Apel Hendrawan

20160916_143320                                    “Bluish Calligraphy” 2014 – Made Wianta

20160916_144031                                             Painting by Ari Winata

20160916_144514                                            “Super Mom!” 2016 – DP Arsa

20160916_143345                         “Ayah Dari Bunda Jauh” 2016 – Wayan Redika

 

 

 

 

 

Larasati Traditional, Modern & Contemporary Art Auction: Bali 21 August

made-sutama-the-dream-image-richard-horstman                                “The Dream” 2015 –  Made Sutama (b. 1977 Keliki)

Eighty works of fine art went under the hammer before an enthusiastic floor of bidders at Ubud’s ARMA museum 21 August Larasati Traditional, Modern & Contemporary Art auction. The attractive array of paintings in Balinese traditional styles and Indonesian modern and contemporary genres offered good buying opportunities in prices ranges suitable for new collectors and connoisseurs alike.

From the beginning of 2016 real time bidding has been available through the Larasati website, opening the auction to a global audience. The auction featured spirited bidding both on the floor and via telephone, and purchases online. Most of the works sold within their estimate prices while for new collectors purchases were available starting from Rp. 3.5 million.

20160820_181740                                      “Aksi Badut and Topeng” – Ketut Sadia (b. 1966 Batuan)

Ida Bagus Putu Sena (b. 1966 Tebesaya, Ubud) is a remarkable talent, his characteristic style while being extraordinarily detailed, features dark and moody compositions. Lot #523 “Shadow Puppet Show” 2009, estimated price between Rp. 75 – 90 million, was hammered down for Rp. 95 million. (all works incur a 22% buyers premium on top of the auctioneers selling price). Lot #530 “Petani’ 2003 by Ketut Kasta (b. Peliatan 1945), a beautiful figurative work in muted pinkish hues, serene in its simplicity was estimated between Rp. 25 – 30 million and sold for Rp. 40 million.

Iconic Dutch painter Arie Smit (1916-2016) died in March at home in Ubud, only days short of reaching the golden age of one hundred years old. Responsible for the development of the “Young Artists” style of Balinese traditional art in the early 1960’s, since his passing prices for his some works at Hong Kong auctions have noticeably increased.

putu-deaw-bedil-suasana-pasar-image-richard-horstman                                    “Suasana Pasar” –  Dewa Putu Bedil (1921-1999)

Of the three lots available, Lot #546 “A Girl Leaving the Temple” estimated between Rp. 65 – 75 million, sold for Rp 65 million, Lot #547 “The Forest“ estimated between Rp. 95 -120 million sold for Rp. 85 million, while #548 “Boy” 1988 estimated price between Rp. 270 – 320 million, however failed to sell.

Works of painstaking miniature detail characterize the Keliki School of Balinese traditional art. Three excellent paintings were available by up and coming artists who represent the future of this genre. Lot #519 “The Dream” 2015 by Made Sutama (b. 1977 Keliki) is a colorful fantastic composition, estimated price between Rp. 10 – 12 million sold for Rp. 9.5 million. Lot # 520 “The Death of Kumbakarna” 2014 by Putu Kusama (b.1986 Keliki) with an estimated of Rp. 12 – 15 million sold for Rp. 17 million via the internet, and Lot # 550 “Festivity at Temple” by Made Ocen (b. 1974 Keliki) undervalued with an estimate price between Rp. 10 – 12 million and sold for Rp. 9 million. Each of these works offered excellent buying for the seasoned collectors along with those with mid range budgets for good long-term investments.

a-a-gede-anom-sukawati-mengarak-jero-gede-image-by-richard-horstman            “Mengarak Jero Gede” 2003  –  A.A. Gede Anom Sukawati (b. Ubud 1966)

A rare old work by the renowned Batuan painter Wayan Bendi Lot # 555 “Tourists in the 1950’s” estimated price between Rp.15 – 20 million sold for Rp. 14 million. Lot # 505 “Aksi Badut and Topeng” by another outstanding Batuan painter Ketut Sadia with an estimated price between Rp. 16 -20 million sold for Rp. 16 million offering good value buying for this innovative composition. Considered an “outsider artist” Putu Dewa Mokoh (Pengosekan 1936-2010) is a painter of unusual, often quirky and humorous compositions. Lot # 502 “Berenang di Laut” estimated price between Rp. 18 – 22 million sold for Rp.16 million, while Lot #558 “Hunting in the Forest” estimated price between Rp. 28 – 35 was hammered down for Rp. 30 million.

ketut-kasta-petani-2003-image-richard-horstman                                       “Petani’ 2003 –  Ketut Kasta (b. Peliatan 1945)

The Pitamaha artist’s collective played a decisive role in the development of Balinese modern traditional art from 1936-1945 and two works by deceased masters of the collective were available. Lot# 567 by Gusti Ketut Kobot (1917-1999) “Garuda Whisnu” was undervalued for its size of 105 x 75 cm, estimated price between Rp. 90 – 110 million and selling for Rp.85 million. While Lot #568 by Ida Bagus Made Togog (Batuan 1913 – 1989) “Story of Dukuh Siladri” a shimmering work of exceptional quality and condition, estimated price between Rp. 270 – 350 million, sold for Rp. 350 million.

Lot # 569 “Suasana Pasar” Dewa Putu Bedil (1921-1999) is a extraordinary work of balance and beauty, being undervalued at the estimate between Rp. 75 – 90 million, it sold for Rp. 95 million. Of the contemporary works available sought names such as Jumaldi Afli, Ugo Untoro and Dede Eri Supria attracted only marginal attention, yet offered good buying opportunities for new collectors wishing to purchase works by big name artists.

arie-smit-a-girl-leaving-the-temple-photo-by-richard-horstman                               “A Girl Leaving the Temple” – Arie Smit (1916-2016)

The most prized work of the afternoon was the final item, was Lot # 580 “Mengarak Jero Gede” 2003 by A.A. Gede Anom Sukawati (b. Ubud 1966) arguably Bali’s finest living traditional painter. His 75 x 135 cm acrylic on canvas composition, a stunning dance scene of detail and vibrancy, estimated price between Rp. 160 – 190 million, realized determined bidding selling for a world record price for the artist at Rp. 345 million, inclusive of the 22% buyer’s premium.

Words & Images: Richard Horstman

20160820_182538             “Story of Dukuh Siladri” – Ida Bagus Made Togog (Batuan 1913 – 1989)

20160820_181951                   “Berenang di Laut” – Dewa Putu Mokoh ((Pengosekan 1936-2010)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

National Gallery Singapore Presenting and Archiving Indonesian Art

Farah Wardani. Image courtesy of NGSAssistant Director of the National Gallery Singapore Resource Center Indonesian Art Historian Farah Wardani. Image Courtesy NGS

A meeting point for major civilizations, religions and colonial powers, Southeast Asian art has experienced a turbulent social and political history defined by a complex relationship between local traditions and influences from the West. Open from November 2015, the National Gallery Singapore (NGS) oversees the world’s largest public collection of modern Southeast Asian art.

Boasting over 8,000 works including paintings, sculptures, printmaking, photography and video from the 19th and 20th centuries, housed in two immaculately restored and transformed national monuments – the former Singapore Supreme Court and City Hall – the NGS works together with international museums to jointly present Southeast Asian art in the global context.

bosch-brand-forest-fire-raden-saleh-1849-ngs-uob-souteast-asia-gallery-image-richard-horstman               “Bosch Brand” (Forest Fire) 1849  – Radan Saleh, National Gallery Singapore

Two exhibitions currently running at the NGS highlight Indonesian art. “Between Declaration & Dreams: Art of South East Asia Since the 19th Century” features nearly 400 artworks (over 90 by Indonesians) in the UOB Southeast Asia Gallery. The exhibition brings together the defining art movements and styles in the development of Indonesian modern art. From the “grandfather of modernism” Raden Saleh (1811-1880), featuring his 1839 composition “Wounded Lion”, to the “pretty pictures” Mooi Indies landscape genre that prevailed until early in the 20th Century.

Sudjojono (1913-1986) and friends next challenged the paradigm with a new nationalist style while banding together in the collective, PERSAGI (Persatuan Ahli Ahli Gambar Indonesia, 1938). The exhibition continues with the likes of Affandi, Hendra Gunawan, Walter Spies, and A.A Gede Meregeg to the 1970’s avant garde with the iconic work from the Gerakan Seni Rupa Baru movement, “Ken Dedes” by Jim Supangkat (1975 remade in 1996), and the 1993 video documentation by Krisna Murti,”12 Hours in the Life of Agung Rai the Dancer.”

ken-dedes-jim-supangkat-1975-remade-1996-image-richard-horstman                         “Ken Dedes” 1975 – Jim Supangkat, National Gallery Singapore

In the Singtel Special Exhibition Gallery “Reframing Modernism”, open from 31 March- 17 July, was the NGS’s first international collaboration, with the Center Pompidou of Paris. The history of modernism is a story of influence: that artistic movements developed in Europe and America and then spread to the rest of the world. The landmark exhibition focuses on the practices of individual artists in the West and Southeast Asia and how they can be connected to one another.

Drawing on over 200 iconic works exhibiting side-by-side are Kandinsky, Matisse, Picasso and Chagall, to name a few, along with Indonesian masters including Lempad, Sobrat, Sudjojono, Affandi and Hendra Gunawan. Labeled as ambitious exposition by some foreign critics, this is a unique opportunity to engage with some of the master works of modern art, complimented by the presence of Indonesians, and is an essential insight into modern art development. Emphasis was given to the architect-cum-artist icon Lempad (1862-1975), whose line sketches revolutionized Balinese art, and the mysterious, pioneering female modernist Emiria Sunassa (b.1894 Nth Sulawesi – 1964). Dubbed an artist, nurse, princess, elephant hunter, plantation administrator, businesswoman and social activist, Sunassa began painting at the age of 40.

sculpture-by-edie-sunarso-painting-sudjojono-purusing-a-poster-1956-image-richard-horstman  Sculpture “The Head  of Monument for the Independence of West Irian”  – Edi Sunarso, National Gallery Singapore

While both exhibitions, presenting some of the finest local art with curatorial attention bringing it into greater context, in a world-class institution are a boon for Indonesia, it is the less publicized, archival projects occurring deep within the sanctum of NGS that will garner increasing international interest to Indonesian art, along with added value.

“People tend to see archives as merely a library, knowing its important, yet often taking them for granted,” said Farah Wardani (b.1975 Jakarta), who after 10 years as Director of IVAA (Indonesian Visual Art Archive center) in Yogyakarta was recruited to NGS as Assistant Director of the Resource Center to oversee building the archival inventory. “I am excited to be a part of this enormous NGS project, the first highly focused, professional effort to archive SE Asian and Indonesian art history with international standards. It’s a starting point,” she adds.

dscf5310      “Title Unkown” (Abstract in Orange) 1968 – Ahmad Sadali, National Gallery Singapore

“Setting up the fundamentals of Indonesian art history involves the digitization of information, so we partner up, mostly with artist’s families, then sort through photo albums, diaries, catalogues and interviews, often finding the unimaginable,” Wardani revealed, having recently worked with the Sudjojono Center archiving almost 4000 items by the artist.

“Archiving requires great time and energy, yet the resources can be used in many different ways. Archives are artifacts that bring value by activating life into the artwork adding to the sustainability of the eco-system.”

“Archiving and database resources enable Indonesian art history to come out in the open,” Wardani said, commenting on what the project means for Indonesian art. “How many people actually study the masters of Indonesian art? It is still a niche art, a very unique subject, with a short and intense history. This is a wonderful opportunity for the international community to learn about more Indonesian art.”

dscf5163 “Mereka Yang Terusir Dari Tanahnya” (Those Chased Away From Their Land) 1960 – Amrus Natalsya, National Gallery Singapore

With the increasing engagement of Indonesia art and archival information and hence the relative growth in international appreciation, foreign institutions, curators, collectors and the curious will target the nation’s home grown art, ultimately benefiting the Indonesian art eco system in many ways, including financially.

Words & Images: Richard Horstman

 

dscf5153                      “Perusing A Poster” 1956 – Sudjojono, National Gallery Singapore

dscf5256                          “Pasar” 1943 – Emiria Sunassa, National Gallery Singapore

National Gallery Singapore

1 St Andrew’s Rd, Singapore

Tel:+65 6271 7000

Open Daily: 10AM–7PM

www.nationalgallery.sg

 

 

 

 

Photographer: Ida Bagus Putra Adnayna

IB Putra Adnayana, "Kijang Kencana" photograph. image by Richard Horstman                                             “Kijang Kencana” 2015- Gustra

In the 1920’s the first ever collection of black and white photographs of Bali were published in two volumes. In the previous century, however, Dutch colonialist began documenting the island and images began to trickle through to a select, and curious European audience. In the current era of digital media saturation, iconic images of Bali remain potent, increasingly inspiring new visitors to the island.

13235681_1028862560484673_6337521818375183207_o                                  Ida Bagus Putra Adnayana – Image by Aimery Jossel

Over time, layer-by-layer outsiders have been exposed to riches of the unique Balinese Hindu culture. One photographer, Ida Bagus Putra Adnyana, from a Brahmana priest family, the highest caste of the Balinese social structure, is able to reveal rare digital insights into one of the most fascinating of local worlds. Gustra, as he his known, brings insider’s knowledge of his subjects, and is often granted access to rare ritual ceremonies to photograph with the greatest possible intimacy. While some of these images may appear strange, even shocking and absurd to Western eyes, he allows us a window into what is rarely documented in Bali.

14102683_10205236450791241_5022309772937099000_n                                            “Jazz in Watercolor” 2016 – Gustra

October heralds the release of Gustra’s most recent photo essay “Bali – Ancient Rites In The Digital Age”, with complimenting text by renowned cultural wordsmith Diana Darling. The books aims to bring clarity to of some of the extraordinary Balinese religious rituals that to the foreigner appear visually rich, and complex, yet there meaning remains obscure. The personal portfolio of work captured between 2011-2015, along with an array of imagery, features ceremonial scenes from remote East Bali, ancient and authentic, yet different to what we may witness in the local regency of Gianyar.

DSCF5041                                             “Melasti, Titian Batin” 2016 – Gustra

Including close up investigation of the rituals, along with specific notes made on location by Gustra, “Bali – Ancient Rites In The Digital Age” features extraordinary images, for example of the initiation of a high priest involving the priest licking the foot of his teacher in a symbolic gesture of the transformation of knowledge and power from guru to pupil. Published by BAB Publishing Indonesia the book will access a global audience via the large distribution and retail networks, available throughout the English speaking Western world along with many parts of Asia, Japan and the Pacific. Leading producers of luxury coffee table books BAB’s specialized topics are Indonesian art & crafts, textiles, cultural icons, important historical periods, culinary delights, world heritage sites and landscape explorations.

13873132_10205043219000567_1624006535072031249_n                                               “Porkemon Octorobo” 2016 – Gustra

A self-taught photographer, born 1958 in Denpasar, Gustra first studied law yet in 1984 he committed to devoting his energy full time to photography, soon becoming an in demand professional, and successfully forging a noted career. He switched from analog to digital photography in 2000. Having regularly exhibited in Bali and Jakarta, as well as in Frankfurt and Japan, he has won many prizes, as well as his photographs being published internationally in numerous books and periodicals. Gustra has the distinction of winning the “Tourist Motif” competition for three years in a row, award by the Governor of Bali (1985-87).

14067483_10205173043846107_3216264810710224529_n                                            Balinese Rituals for the Deceased- Gustra

Having published two books in his own right, while being a photo contributor to 7 international books, some of the most delightful cultural albums published in Indonesia and Singapore feature Gustra’s detailed lens work. He has work with the most respected and sort after authorities in the fields of fine art, antiques, history and culture, such as Dr. Adrian Vickers, Bruce Carpenter and Jean Couteau. Carpenter’s magnificent 2015 “Indonesian Tribal Art” book, and “Inventing Art: The Paintings of Batuan, Bali by Bruce Gransquist are testaments to Gustra’s work.

DSCF5053                                              “Gue R Nika, Ilusi Kubisme” 2016 – Gustra

Subjects of beauty and power of Gustra’s culture have for many years been at the center of his attention. He has photographed most of the leading cultural identities in Bali, his black and white portraits capturing sensitive and revealing moments of his subjects. Recently, however he has delved into image experimentation utilizing modern technology and working in front of his large computer screen.

13975316_10205124559274023_2967428382373196208_o                                                          Digital Image by Gustra 2016

Gustra’s solo exhibition, 14-22 May at the Bentara Budaya Bali Cultural Center in Ketewel, “Citra Nyata. Tak Nyata, 3 Rupa Dalam 3 Dasawarsa” (Images Real, Not Real, 3 Types of         Forms in 30 Years) highlighted an array of work in various styles and themes, as well as some of his digital art photography, some works had an extra dimension decorated with dynamic hues of acrylic paint. “Kijang Kencana” 2015, a black and white composition of duality, tension and impending danger juxtaposed a beautiful maiden with a mighty demon, while “Gue R Nika, Illusi Kubisme” 2016, a black and white marvel of inter locking human and animal forms rendered via Photoshop and inspired by the Cubism art movement, were some of the highlights.

DSCF5047                                                    “Tutur Borobudur” 2009 – Gustra

Constantly interacting with the finest creative minds he meets, both locals and foreigners in the essential dialogue, Gustra is highly active on Facebook. As a senior photographer he plays an important role in educating the young, growing local community of photographers. He posts articles on unusual and talented international photographers, interesting media documentations, competitions, and articles offering tips and inspiration to others. Committed to sharing, and passing on his knowledge, Gustra is well aware that Bali is a crucial and exciting transition of change, and most importantly in the development of much-needed art infrastructure.

14202636_10205207272461801_8364529270273662164_n                                                                 Image by Gustra 2016

“In Bali there are photographers who succeed via competitions, or through business. Often others follow the competition winner’s style, or themes and then trends develop. Not many have the talent and dedication to succeed in the art world and sometimes the young artists have boarders. They must be very brave and believe in their dreams, work hard and be open to, and work with many people, locals and foreigners, in order to learn and improve,” Gustra said.

DSCF5037                                                            “Hati-Hati” 2016 – Gustra

“They must exhibit in big events and within big venues in order to gain more exposure and eventually support from the public, along with the needed media attention. Special management is required to co ordinate events and projects. There are many young and talented photographers in Bali, however to support the development of photography we need generous patrons as the production costs are higher than other art forms.”

Words: Richard Horstman

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“Kecantikan Deha Bungaya, Karangasem” 2016 – Gustra

 

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“Merayakan Murni” – Celebrating Indonesia’s Most Important Woman Artist

I GAK MURNIASIH - SEDANG ACTION - AOC - 100 x 100cm - 2003                                                 “Sedang Action” – Murni

Promising to be the most important exhibition of the 2016 Bali art calendar “Merayakan Murni” (Celebrating Murni) opened 16 July at Sudakara Art Space, Sanur. Contextualizing the relevance, and celebrating the legacy of female Balinese artist I GAK Murniasih (1966-2006) who this July would have turned 50; the exhibition brings together the work of Murni along with 15 other local and international artists.

I GAK MURNIASIH- BENDERA KEMENANGAN- AOC-71 X 71 cm - 2003                                           “Bendera Kemenangan” – Murni

An enormous project that from the conceptualization to the inception of a series of pre event “gatherings” late in 2015 consumed the passage of 2 years, Merayakan Murni’s has been successful due to community engagement. Organized by Ketemu Project Space – a new art facility in Bali under the special advisory committee of regional art maverick Valentine Willie, historian and art critic Jean Couteau and Murni’s life partner, Italian artist Mondo Zanolini – the exhibition is supported by a series of discussions and workshops, and closes 18th September.

"Pure Passion" (For Murni) Mella Jaarsma, mixed media & Mondo Zannolini , Murni's life partner. Image Richard Horstman                            “Pure Passion” (For Murni) – Mella Jaarsma

For collectors this exhibition offers opportunities to purchase some outstanding contemporary artworks by the invited artists in the genres of painting, installations, video and photography. Including “outsider” artworks by Murni’s contemporaries Putu Dewa Mokoh (1934-2010) and Oototol (1942-?), along with 50 works by Murni, the sale of Murni’s works being a 70-30 split, 70% going into the conserving and building of Murni’s archives.

IMHATTHAI SUWWATHANASILP - "MURNI'S TEMPLE" - MIXED MEDIA (human hair, thread, wood, glue) - 31 X 18 X 10 CM Image courtesy of Ketemu Project Space                          “Murni’s Temple” –  Imhathai Suwatthanaslip

Speaking” on local and global issues, gender politics, and the language of the sub conscious mind; Murni’s outsider art is confrontational and daring, yet electrifying as well. “Murni’s artworks have the power to start conversations on topics critical to our society,” said co-founder of Ketemu Samantha Tio. “Our goal is to enable artists in the local and international community to give a voice to these subjects, so that they in turn can generate diverse perspectives and inspire their own social circles.”

Punia Atmaja Installation. 2016                                   “Satelit Purba” –  Punia Atamaja

Explicit and naïve, even violent Murni’s visual language evolved through her search for identity and reconciliation with her traumatic past. Suffering from the recollection of being raped by her own father, as well as other experiences of womanhood her compositions are an exploration into her sexuality and biographic fantasies.

“For Murni art as a therapy, art as a diary, art as a retelling of a personal history, not in a narrative but picking very strong symbols; scissors, high heels, the penis, she discovered this as a way of expressing herself,” said Valentine Willie.

“I paint to feel that I exist”, Murni was quoted as saying.

MARIEKE WARMELINK - Marieke Warmelink, Acting tough - being strong, Interventions in daily - video - 2016 (2)                        “Acting Tough : Being Strong”  –  Mareike Warmelink

Singaporean performance artist Ila presented “Ruang”, the most potent work of the exhibition. Enclosed within a confined two meter square, dark space one at a time audience members entered while she performed in a traditional Balinese costume owned by Murni, slowly adding decorative pieces to her attire. A pulsating strobe light assaults the senses, while the atmosphere is dank and claustrophobic. Dripping in sweat Ila stoically performed her routine for four hours, bringing to “life” the emotional anguish of life within a harsh patriarchal society.

Citra Sasmita "Mea Vulva Maxima Vulva" 2016 Ceramic & mixed media Image richard Horstman                           “Mea Vulva, Maxima Vulva” – Citra Sasmita

“”Pure Passion” challenges the viewer to ‘experience’ and ‘feel’ the cruel, the scary, the funny, the erotic, the taboo, the real, the fake,” said renowned Dutch born “Indonesian” artist Mella Jaarsma of her 2016 work inspired by Murni’s 1997 painting “I am Longing for a Couple of Kids”. Materials utilized in Jaarsma’s include goat’s leather, stuffed crocodiles, and plastic plants.

Macabre? Unusual at least. Thai artist Imhathai Suwatthanaslip exhibits 4 works, in both two and 3 dimensional format, created by weaving and crocheting human hair, utilizing some of Murni’s hair, to reflect on the nature of family ties and domestic life, the female body and feminine identity. Other works of note are by Dutch artist Mareike Warmelink, Indonesian artists Natasha Lubis, Punia Atmaja and Ngakan Putu Agus Arta Wijaya (NPAW). Included in the exhibition is an “archival like” presentation of Murni’s sketches and relics, and the 15 minute documentary “Lost Murni”, a heart rending, yet beautiful insight into the final days of her passage of life.

13669344_1135530413136721_5070896626457661361_o                                                            “Ruang” – Ila

For the astute collector wishing to purchase a work of unique imagination by today’s most prominent female Balinese artist, Citra Sasmita’s, her installation “Mea Vulva, Maxima Vulva” features ceramic vagina’s within a set of scales and comments upon social class distinctions.

“Murni is an “outsider” artist of a different genre. Raised in poverty in the Celebes, she bumped by accident, back in Bali, into the post-traditional painting world of the island to unwittingly become a foremost exponent of the women’s condition,” said Jean Couteau. “Feminist in a twisty raw way: not as discourse or protest, but as a partaking of the multifarious forms of the psychic experience.”

OOTOTOL - UNTITLED #1 - AOC - 50 x 79 cm - year not stated                                                  “Untitled” – Ootolol

Preceded by a rare buzz of anticipation, emphasized by the aura of an icon – Indonesia’s most important female artist, it is hoped that the event will continue into 2017 as roving exhibition to Yogyakarta, Jakarta and Singapore.

Words & Images: Richard Horstman

“Merayakan Murni”

16 July – 18 September 2016

Open Daily 10am – 7pm

Sudakara Art Space, Sudamala Suites and Villas

Jalan Sudamala #20, Sanur, Bali

20160715_170105                                                Photos of Murni & Dolls by Murni