Monthly Archives: December 2016

JIMB#2 Jogja International Miniprint Biennale

jimb2-at-galeri-soemardja-bandung-image-jimb2                          The Opening of JIMB#2 at Galeri Soemardja, Bandung

One of the highlights of Jogja Art Weeks, a month-long plethora of events held during June in Yogyakarta was the 2nd Jogja International Miniprint Biennale (JIMB#2). Emphasizing the exceptional skill of participating artists working in an array of print making mediums, the biennale was on display 24 May – 10 June at Sangkring Art Project.

In an era where new media and media exploration are often praised as the demigods of ‘art now’, conventional art forms such as printmaking are often overshadowed. The travelling exhibition, held also at Bentara Budaya Solo 1-7 September, recently ran from 20-28 October at Galeri Soemardja, Bandung.

“Art can be now made with the help of artisans, machines, or other objects and intermediaries. In the current art environment the artist’s hands are no longer considered significant in carrying on the struggles of the soul,” said artist, gallerist and JIMB#2 Jury Chairman Agung Kurniawan.

dscf5540

“To return to the use of skilled hands is a kind of pilgrimage, and perhaps also an important turning point.”

The travelling exhibition featured one hundred and twenty-one mini prints by 110 finalists included 5 winners and 11 works from 5 guest artists from twenty-eight countries. The biannual event, themed ‘Homo Habilis – Handy Man’ serves as both a mini print exhibition and competition for Indonesian and international artists.

The works range within the four conventional printmaking techniques, relief printing (woodcut, linocut, rubber cut, collagraphy), intaglio (etching, drypoint, photo etching, aquatint, mezzotint), planograph (lithography), and serigraphy (silk screen and stencil). The maximum size of the works, printed on paper, are 20 x 20cm unframed, and 28 x 28cm framed.

bulgaria_dimo-kolibarov-three-best-works-2                 “Cycle: The Diary of a Child – the Golden Fish” – Dimo Kolibarov

“The mini print Biennale was planned from two perspectives, the desire to offer a unique graphic arts forum, and to follow the dynamic in the current constellation of visual art,” said JIMB#2 Director Syahrizal Pahlevi.

“The Jury agreed on the theme “Homo Habilis ” – dubbed the ‘handy man’ – being the first documented pre-historic human to use stone tools, to accompany our question, “How far does contemporary art and contemporary life underappreciate ‘the strength and miracle of the hand’?” Pahlevi said.

Taking into account some of the latest issues in the world of printmaking, JIMB#2 invited five guest artists, two Indonesian and three international artists, including one of the winners from the first JIMB in 2014, Lidija Antanasijevic (Serbia, UK) to participate. The artists were chosen because of their international reputations, Art Werger (USA), important contributions as print makers, Setiawan Sabana (Indonesia), the introduction of popular technical innovations-Kitchen Litho, Emilie Aizier (France), and widely acknowledged dedication to printmaking, Yamyuli Dwi Imam (Indonesia).

canada_deborah-chapman-three-best-works-2                         Print by Canadian Artist Deborah Chapman

JIMB#2 participant Muhlis Lugis is a Yogyakarta based artist who since 2013 has been forging international markets with his relief print wood cut works, being represented by Vin Gallery, Ho Chi Ming City, Vietnam at international art fairs Art Taipei 2015, and Asia Contemporary Art Show 2015 in Hong Kong.

“To crave the wood block ready for printing 18.5 x 14.5 cm in size, requires one day,” said the Indonesian Art Institute (ISI) Yogyakarta graduate, who was born in South Sulawesi in 1987. “The block is then covered with oil based ink to which paper is applied and next sandwiched between layers of felt, ready for the printing press. The process appears simplistic, yet to produce the quality works requires patience and skill.”

“Mini prints demand to be observed up close,” said Kurniawan. “Without regarding them at close range and looking carefully we miss the essence of these works; the line and textures that shape a narrative.”

italy_paolo-ciampini-three-best-works-2                                   “The Woman” – Paolo Ciampini

“In JIMB#2 the craftsmanship in printmaking is visually prominent,” he said, commenting on the high standard of work in the exhibition. “Especially in the work of Italian artist Paolo Ciampini, that reveals microscopic lines of extraordinary detail.”

Within Ciampini’s winning etching work “The Woman” the artist utilizes the cross hatching technique in scoring the steel printing plate, emphasizing the naked woman’s form. “Gate V” by Polish artist Weronica Siupka, another JIMB#2 winner, depicts a brick wall and paved entryway that too reveals remarkable dedication to achieving extraordinarily fine lines.

Bulgarian artist Dimo Kolibarov, however prefers the colorful etch aquatint technique. The strength of “Cycle: The Diary of a Child – the Golden Fish” is both in the narrative, along with the acute hand skills. In the work a child embraces a large golden fish while above floats various images and forms, akin to the child’s imaginative ideas.

20161021_120513                     JIMB#2 Participant and Yogyakarta based artist Muhlis Lugis

“Most of the best works in this exhibition are by international artists, reflecting, unfortunately, the decline in printmaking in Indonesia today. JIMB#2 is a warning sign for the development of printmaking in Indonesia,” Kurniawan adds. “We are fortunate to have such an exhibition where we can learn a great deal from the examples of other printmakers and apply this knowledge to our own future development of printmaking.”

http://www.jogjaminiprints.com

20161021_120624                                           Muhlis Lugis’ Studio

Words: Richard Horstman

 

 

Advertisements

CROSSING: Beyond Baliseering

20161206_173640
Narasi Menunngu Lahiran (The Anticipation of Giving Birth) 2016 –  Made ‘Dalbo’ Suarimbawa, in the foreground, background: The Fireflies #1 2016 – Budi Agung Kuswara

 

Bali holds a special place within the hearts of many Australians and while Balinese traditional art has long been recognized as an international icon, Australian audiences however, know little, or nothing about contemporary art from Bali.

As a platform for understanding contemporary Balinese and Indonesian culture, and maintaining a cultural bridge between Indonesia and Australia, Crossing: Beyond Baliseering, a group showing of emerging contemporary artists from Bali opened 6 December at FortyFive Downstairs Gallery in Melbourne.

doors-of-perception-made-aswino-aji                                  Doors of Perception 2016 –  Made Aswino Aji

Crossing: Beyond Baliseering reflects upon Bali’s visual and social culture while exploring themes of personal life experiences, environmental, social and political issues in the contemporary society, showcasing a range of paintings, photography, sculptures, and large-scale installations by some of the finest artists in Bali.

Presented by Project 11 as part of Multicultural Arts Victoria’s Asian contemporary arts festival Mapping Melbourne 2016, the exhibition features work by Art of Whatever, Made Aji Aswino, Budi Agung Kuswara, Citra Sasmita, Kemal Ezedine, Made ‘Dalbo’ Suarimbawa, Natisa Jones, Slinat, Made Valasara, Wayan Upadana and Yoesoef Olla.

20160913_121758                                 Let’s Play Series #2 2016  – YoesoefOlla

The policy of ‘Baliseering’ was first introduced in the 1920’s by the Dutch colonial government to train locals to continue the traditional arts of dance, theater, painting, sculpture and literature. Visually, this meant that art portrayed scenes of the Balinese in cultural activities and ‘authentic’ settings that became fastened in the Balinese art identity through the media and tourism.

Attended by members of Melbourne’s Indonesian community along with the local art community, FortyFive Downstairs Gallery, situated in the inner city gallery precinct, was full with enthusiastic art lovers during the opening.  While warmly welcoming the foreign artist’s, many of the audience engaged deeply with both the artists and their artworks.

20161206_171049                                 Mea Vulva, Maxima Vulva 2016  –  Citra Sasmita’s

Made Aji Aswino is an avid critic of Indonesian and Balinese society, focusing especially upon the pitfalls of the human ego. Aji exhibited a monumental two-sided wood craving installation, Doors of Perception 2016, 250 x 300 x 80 cm, a representation of a candi (traditional Balinese temple entry). The outside of the entry features craved figurines and faces of ego monsters, along with typical iconography to be found in Balinese wood cravings.

Vibrantly painted figures adorn the work with long conical noses echoing a Pinocchio-like-character – a reflection on the pretensions and lies of everyday society the artist witnesses. The dynamic colors of the outside of the entrance represent varieties of ‘disorderly’ personalities, while the inner side of Doors of Perception reflects duality, painted in subdued monochrome representing the ‘peaceful’ personalities.

baliseering-kemal-ezedine                                         Baliseering 2016 – KemalEzedine

Kemal Ezedine presents Baliseering 2016, 180x 300 cm, a mixed media narration about the influence of the Dutch Colonial government in shaping the political identity of Bali. His colorful mixed media work  combines and layers the techniques of a traditional Indonesian painting method adapted from European practices alia prima, or the direct painting technique, with graphic techniques inspired by Balinese scared drawings, and Indonesian social realism art. The results are a dynamic composition layered with technical and philosophical meanings.

One of Bali’s most well-known emerging artists Wayan Upadana exhibited three excellent works, Globalisation Euphoria 2010 features a chocolate covered Rangda reclining in a white bath tub, while Glo(BABI)sation 2013 a chocolate coated pig relaxing in a modern kitchen sink. Si Gendut Pencari Tuhan (Fatty the God Seeker) 2013 on the other hand features a Barong masks attached to a fat naked body sitting in the lotus position. Upadana makes critical social references while adapting icons of the Balinese culture in his polyester resin works that are technically and conceptually strong.

20161206_171301           Si Gendut Pencari Tuhan (Fatty the God Seeker) 2013 – Wayan Upadana

Two dimensional works featuring contrasting images of iconic Bali are presented by Budi Agung Kuswara, The Fireflies # 1&2, 2016, Golden Farmer, 2016, both cyanotype (photogram) and pigment prints on archival paper provide strong aesthetic impacts while being interesting departures in media adaptation and technical skills. Natisa Jones exhibits two engaging abstract figurative compositions that reflect on identity, while Made Valasara presents his signature canvas relief works that break with the conventions of Balinese traditional painting.

 Pantaggruelisme 2016 utilizes polyethylene terephthalate stuffed in canvas, while in The True Portion of David 2014 Valasara uses laminated canvas. Adopting the canvas as a standalone medium, along with sewing techniques, he layers and fills the canvas to create 3 dimensional embossed, or as in The True Portion of David debossed compositions.

20161206_172001                                 The True Portion of David 2014 – Valasara

Art of Whatever’s Everyday is Sunday 2016 invites people to sit, relax and reflect upon his functional art creation.  The colorful three meter couch shaped into a reclining figure with tentacles for a head, along with matching helmets were popular with the audience, many opting to loll and engage in the light-hearted art experience.

Yoeseof Olla Let’s Play Series # 1,2&3 2016, features three leather wall hangings, compositions in permanent marker that combine pop and street art imagery that parodies the popular international perception of Islam and the burqa wearing Muslim women.

One of the strongest works in the exhibition is Narasi Menunngu Lahiran (The Anticipation of Giving Birth) 2016, a sculptural mother and child representation by Made ‘Dalbo’ Suarimbawa. During recent years Dalbo has been experimenting with paper upon his two-dimensional compositions, Narasi Menunngu Lahiran however reveals his greater commitment to technical skill and concept in this enthralling installation that reveals incredible attention to details and defines him as an artist of unique talent.

20160911_160047                                 Everyday is Sunday 2016  – Art of Whatever

Citra Sasmita’s works make strong statements about gender politics within the patriarchal Balinese society. Always confronting, Citra exhibits three works, two paintings and one installation, Mea Vulva, Maxima Vulva 2016 that features ceramic vagina’s within a set of scales and comments upon social class distinctions.

Street artist Slinat (Silly in Art) presents a poignant and intriguing installation Ironic, Ironic Island 2016 that features his signature gas masked figures upon wooden windows and doors adopting imagery from iconic paintings by Abdul Aziz. He contrasts Bali’s exotic and peaceful international tourism marketing identity with current social and economic issues that are currently confronting the people of Bali.

20161206_173918                                   Ironic, Ironic Island 2016 – Slinat

Crossing: Beyond Baliseering

Continues through 17 December 2016,

FortyFive Downstairs Gallery

45 Flinder’s Lane, Melbourne.

Open: Tuesday – Friday 11am – 5pm

Saturday 12pm – 4pm

+613 9662 9966

20161206_170438                                    Sitting at Home 2014 – Natisa Jones

Words & Images: Richard Horstman

Mangu Putra: Between History and the Quotidian

mangu-putra-2016-puputan-badung-the-fall-of-badung-kingdom-2-oil-on-canvas-370-x-150-cm                     Puputan Badung #2, 2016 (The Fall of the Badung Kingdom)

After a wait of six years Bali’s most important painter Agung Mangu Putra has followed on from Teater Rakyat (People Theater), his landmark 2010 exhibition at Galeri Nasional Indonesia, Jakarta.

Mangu Putra: Between History and the Quotidian opened at Singapore’s Gajah Gallery 25 November, featuring nine paintings made between 2013 – 2016. Renowned for his technical abilities, and his commitment to environmental, social and historical themes that trigger deep sentiments, Mangu Putra’s hyper realism style communicates important narratives that ignite potent emotions.

mangu-putra-2015-puputan-badung-the-fall-of-badung-kingdom-1906-oil-on-canvas-190x390-cm                    Puptan Badung #1, 2015 (The Fall of the Kingdom of Badung)

Spiritual Landscapes, Mangu Putra’s 2005 solo exhibition in Gajah Gallery was an offering of gratitude to the landscape of his homeland, and his Balinese Hindu culture, paying homage via dramatic monochrome compositions that reflect his deep sense of spirituality. In Teater Rakyat (People Theater) Mangu Putra’s critical social commentary came to the fore. He focused upon the marginalized within the Balinese society, people from the economically destitute regions of Bali, female gender politics, the forgotten Independence War veterans who bravely confronted the KNIL Dutch forces between 1945-49.

In Between History and the Quotidian Mangu Putra continues his research and discovery into critical Dutch colonial events that shaped Indonesian and Balinese history. Puputan Badung 1906 (The Fall of Badung Kingdom # 1, 2 &3) 2016, 2016 & 2014 have been “pieced together” from archival accounts and images sourced from the internet into enormous compositions ranging in size up 190 x 390 cm. Telling the story of the Dutch colonial army’s confrontation with the Kingdom of Badung in Kesiman, Denpasar in 1906 that resulted in the tragic puputan event (act of ritual suicide).

mangu-putra-2015-puputan-badung-the-fall-of-badung-kingdom-3-oil-on-linen-200-x-154-cm                         Puptan Badung #3, 2014 (The Fall of the Kingdom of Badung)

Jim Supangkat in the exhibition catalogue writes, “Mangu Putra never translates exact copies of those photographs into his works, instead he sometimes manipulates several photos and incorporates them into his paintings.”

The painting tells the story of the Dutch colonial army’s confrontation with the Kingdom of Badung in Kesiman, Denpasar in 1906, that resulted in the tragic puputan event (act of ritual suicide) when the Balinese rulers chose to fight to the death rather than surrender.

The Fall of Badung Kingdom # 2, 2016 reveals senior officials of the Dutch army seated behind the body of the Raja of Badung, I Gusti Ngurah Made Agung, in a post puputan pose, a reconstruction of possible events. Mangu Putra positions the Raja’s throne next to his prostrate body as a symbolic gesture.

mangu-putra-2016-adu-jago-1947-oil-on-linen-200-x-200-cm                                        Adu Jago, 2016 (Cock Fight)

“Mangu Putra does not reproduce reality as with other realistic paintings, but paints his account of the light’s reflection,” said Supangkat of Mangu Putra’s technique.

“The resulting image is a textured realistic painting, with apparent contrasting effects caused by the beam of light on the painted surface. The aesthetic qualities present in his works – lines, textures, contrast effects – as a result permeate a narrative filled story on his canvases.”

mangu-putra-2016-dalam-pengawasan-kolonial-200-x-200-cm-oil-on-linen           Dalam Pengawasan Kolonial, 2016 (Under Colonial Supervision)

“Mangu Putra, like many of Bali’s modern and contemporary artists, was trained in Yogyakarta at Indonesia’s premier art school, ISI, the Institute Seni Indonesia,” states Professor of Southeast Asian History Adrian Vickers in the exhibition catalogue.

“Unlike many others who emerged through painting, Mangu Putra was trained in graphic arts and design, and his original career was in advertising. The sensibilities he developed in presenting the mundane to the world meant that he is attuned to the effect power of images. He turned to problems of how such images should be made to work in the world in a more critical fashion.”

In Eksekusi Letda Reta (Execution of Letda Reta), 2014, Mangu Putra depicts the execution of his uncle I Gusti Agung Alit Reta, who along with his father both fought in the Independence War, Alit Reta being captured and later executed by the Dutch. In the painting he appropriates the style of Francisco Goya’s The Third of May (1814) – which depicts a death sentence served on a rebel farmer by a Spanish firing squad. Here Mangu Putra imagines the moment of his uncle’s execution as one of defiance.

mangu-putra-2014-eksekusi-letda-reta-oil-on-canvas-190-x-290-cm                            Eksekusi Letda Reta (Execution of Letda Reta), 2014

Adu Jago (Cock Fight) 2016 reveals a scene where Dutch troops and Balinese are watching a cock-fight. One roaster yells to the other: “Are you ready to surrender?” The other responds: “I am not going to retreat.” According to Supangkat the universal message in this painting, along with Eksekusi Letda Reta is that the concept of authority is a threat that has never subsided, though the power behind that authority may always change.

In Transit? 2016 Mangu Putra reveals an extremely interesting, yet little known story within the history of the Dutch East Indies of a Germany aircraft, with swastika emblems, that flew from Brandenberg, Germany to Medan, Sumatra, Batavia, Surabaya and landed in Buleleng, Bali 7 January 1938.

“Photographs contain layers of narratives, and within these there are always hidden meanings that I am driven to delve into,” said Mangu Putra.

mangu-putra-2016-transit-oil-on-canvas-390x190-cm                                              Transit? 2016

“Mangu Putra is not a historian, yet his intuition is sharp in detecting these milestones in history. He feels that these phenomenal milestones are substantial to further the research on the connection between Indonesian and world history, writes Supangkat in summing up his essay titled “Identity Politics” in the exhibition catalogue, and later continues,

“Indonesian history still requires the pursuit of historical examination, so that history doesn’t become a myth of the present,”

Both Mangu Putra’s investigation along with Jim Supangkat’s accompanying essay are important documentations of a crucial era of the nation’s history and collectively combine into one of the most important Indonesian contemporary art exhibitions in recent history.

mangu-putra-2016-menjelang-merdeka-acrylic-on-linen-70x80cm                       Menjelang Merdeka, 2016 (Towards Freedom)

Mangu Putra: Between History and the Quotidian

25 November – 11 December 2016.

Gajah Gallery Singapore

 

Words: Richard Horstman

 

Neo Pitamaha – An Art Movement in the Making?

20161023_161947

The outsider event Cahyendra Putra and the Neo Pitamaha Invite You To: A Brutal Contrast of Concrete and Kamasan Painting which opened on Sunday 23 October will be recorded in the annals of Balinese art history. The exhibition, which in many ways is noteworthy, is underpinned by a long awaited and fresh approach to presenting art in Ubud, outside of the conventional gallery, art space and museum format.

Held at the location of former residence of the iconic Bali art influencer, Dutch painter Rudolf Bonnet (1895-1978), this collaborative project features street art by artists from Bali & Jakarta, along with paintings by selected emerging local talent from Batuan, Ubud, Tabanan and Denpasar. In this event, which is set within the gutted interior of a building, twenty young artists reveal their interpretation of the Pita Maha (great spirit, guiding inspiration) in dynamic contemporary art that challenges the establishment.

20161023_161737

The Pita Maha was a famous artist’s collective established in Ubud in 1936 by Tjokorda Agung Sukawati, Prince of Ubud , senior local artist and Bali’s first modern master Gusti Nyoman Lempad and expat Europeans, Walter Spies (1895-1942) and Rudolf Bonnet. Its vision was to develop and preserve a new art genre, labeled Balinese modern traditional art, and to present it outside of Bali.

 

Commercially and culturally, the birth of the Pita Maha, and its legacy had dramatic consequences. Large and new markets began to open for Balinese artists, from the 1930’s the initial wave of European and American tourists began to arrive, and an industry evolved to carter for their needs. Ubud as a consequence became perceived as the epicenter of Balinese Art and Culture.

20161023_161832                                    Painting by Wayan Budiarta

Located opposite the Campuhan Hotel on Jalan Raya Campuhan, for two decades the building that is the venue for A Brutal Contrast of Concrete and Kamasan Painting has remained unused. Stripped back to its core structural form of raw, concrete ceilings and floors, with aging white washed brick walls, it becomes the perfect environment for an underground event that within it’s soul is deeply rooted in ideology, and peppered with controversies from the Dutch colonial past.

Street art by Unclejoy, the Punten, Ego, Saf, Ola, Slinart and Kemalezedine, with potent sociopolitical content rendered in dynamic spray can color brings the tired, forgotten interior into vibrant life. Emerging Balinese contemporary Balinese artist Made Aji Aswino, a.k.a Ego continues on with his theme about the monster that is the human ego. His works makes references to the phenomenon of materialism that is engulfing modern Bali, and he juxtaposes his monsters of the ego identity with popular consumer icons. Kemalezedine meanwhile takes images from Dutch colonialism making reference to the era of the Pita Maha artists collective.

wayan-aris-sumanta                                Painting by Wayan Aris Sumanta

The paintings by emerging young Balinese artists are positioned to create a dynamic contrast with the street art, and igniting the interior walls. The artists include Dewa Gede Sanju, Gede Anton, Wayan Budiarta, Pande Made Di Artha, Made Ariana, Dwi Wayan Eka, Wayan Aris Sumanta, Gede Dwiyantara, Kadek Jutawan, Agus Suputra, Ketut Sumadi & Wayan Mandiyasa.

Batuan artists Wayan Budiarta and Wayan Aris Sumanta reveal that the Batuan School of painting boasts fresh and exciting talent, and that the recent formation of the Baturlangan artists collective in Batuan is reinvigorating this famous genre of Balinese art. Both artists possess a rare talent, while Budiarta’s works, one with powerful surrealistic elements, are especially outstanding.

street-art-by-ego-a-k-a-made-aji-aswino                                   Street Art by Ego, a.k.a Made Aji Aswino

This event is organized by Kemal Ezedine, one of the founding members along with Gede Mahahendra Yasa of the new art movement, the Neo Pitamaha. The Neo Pitamaha is an exciting development in Balinese contemporary art that has it ideology deeply rooted in the historical development of Balinese art during the past century, and began in 2013 with Mahendra Yasa, Ezedine (b.1978 Yogyakarta) and two other Balinese artists.

“We (the members of the Neo Pitamaha) have knowledge of history, culture, narratives and symbols within Balinese art yet we do not use this for our art discourse,” Ezedine says. “We aim to reinterpret this from a contemporary art perspective – retaining the principles involved with the techniques and methods. By opening this to new viewpoints we endeavor to awaken new spirit and introduce a fresh model of possibilities into Balinese art.”

20161023_161746

During the past 3 three years Ezedine and Mahendra Yasa have strategically set out to impact upon the Indonesian contemporary art scene participating in high level events in Java; exhibitions and art fairs in Bandung, Jakarta and Yogyakarta. Their presence was especially visible during August at the two international art fairs Art Stage Jakarta 2016 and 2016 Bazaar Art Jakarta.

A highlight of A Brutal Contrast of Concrete and Kamasan Painting opening was the palpable atmosphere that graced the event. A rare buzz of excitement was alive within the venue adding a fresh dimension to the already extraordinary event.

wayan-budiarta                                   Painting by Wayan Budiarta

Throughout the history of Indonesian art, artist’s collectives have played an essential role in shaping Indonesian modern and contemporary art. The art/anti colonial collectives that evolved last century in Java (PERSAGI 1938, POETERA 1942) played defining roles in the pro nationalism movement, while importantly using art as propaganda. In Bali the importance of organized art communities cannot be overstated.

There some key factors that give birth to art movements and the Neo Pitamaha have already succeeded in striking important targets, along with capturing a lot of attention in the Indonesian art capital of Jakarta. What remains next will play a defining role. One vital element within their ideology involves an important, yet tragic story of one of the true pioneers of Balinese art who was murdered by pro Dutch sympathizers in Batuan in 1946.

This is an anti establishment story.

20161023_161627

Cahyendra Putra and the Neo Pitamaha Invite You To: A Brutal Contrast of Concrete and Kamasan Painting was a part of the 2016 UWRF Art Exhibitions program and is listed in the UWRF Program Book on page 40, as Bali Underground: Pita Maha And Rudolf Bonnet. It was located on Jalan Raya Campuhan, opposite the Campuhan Hotel, upstairs on level 2 of the building that on the ground floor is a Notaris office. Look for the stairway and then head up.

Continuing through until 30 October, open daily 09:00 – 17:00.

20161023_161758

Words & Images: Richard Horstman

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ritiro: An International Artist’s Retreat

04_jumaldi_alfi                                                 Jumaldi Alfi

Presenting an alternative platform for contemporary art in Bali, Kayu (wood in Bahasa Indonesia) is a series of exhibitions held at Rumah Topeng Dan Wayang Setiadarma (House of Masks & Puppets), in Mas Ubud. While contributing to the positive development of contemporary art in Bali since 2014 Kayu has become a distinctive, and fresh feature of the local art map, and calendar.

Aiming to provide a creative space for the exchange of information and knowledge between Bali and the global art world to help stimulate awareness and practices of contemporary art making via experimental and conceptual art events, Kayu is a part of a global art initiative by Lucie Fontaine, a self described art employer who lives and works in France, with many such programs around the world including in Milan, Stockholm, Tokyo and Bali.

Kayu – Lucie Fontaine’s branch in Indonesia, presents its fifth project Ritiro (The Retreat), a two-venue exhibition of international artists on view at Rumah Topeng in Bali and Rumah Doa Bagi Semua Bangsa (The House of Prayer for All Nations) in Magelang, Central Java, Indonesia.

01_agnieszka_kurant                                               Agnieszka Kurant

Featuring work by leading Indonesian artists, expatriate Bali residents and other internationals, the participants are: Jumaldi Alfi, Ashley Bickerton, Lupo Borgonovo, Marco Cassani, Patrizio Di Massimo, Fendry Ekel, Dor Guez, Agnieszka Kurant, Filippo Sciascia, Alice Tomaselli, Entang Wiharso, and Alexandra Zuckerman. The exhibition aims to put forward the identity of Kayu, showing artworks altrove (elsewhere), in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by nature, a place between magic and dream, in opposition to the traditional, often sterile, white cube gallery environment.

Ritiro takes – literally and metaphorically – the artworks away from the comfort zone of the white cube space, creating both physical and mental distance between the artworks and contemporary society. Over the duration of Ritiro the artworks will be presented in two different venues: opening from 4 to 15 December at Rumah Topeng, and on 20 December at Rumah Doa Bagi Semua Bangsa, in Central Java.

The one-day relocation of the artworks to the Rumah Doa Bagi Semua Bangsa, conceived as a site of worship where people of all religions could pray, is a building in the shape of a gigantic dove located in a remote hillside area of Central Java.

02_ashley_bickerton                                              Ashley Bickerton

Rumah Topeng is an excellent location for an exhibition outside of conventions, its pavilions being traditional Javanese houses made from teak wood that perfectly coincide with the Kayu theme. The interior of the pavilion, rich in warm natural wood tones and grain provides a setting that contrasts with, and enhances the presentation of contemporary art. Traditional Javanese design elements, as well lend to the aura of Rumah Topeng making it a unique location in Bali to present art. Kayu’s series of events come as a welcome respite to the Bali art scene.

Italian contemporary artist Filippo Sciascia’s relationship with Asia and Indonesia began back in 1998, however, says the artist, he has only truly “come of age as an Italian-Indonesian artist” in 2013 when he successfully fused iconography from the two worlds into a single creation of art. Moscow born Israeli artist Alexandra Zuckerman draws and paints portraits, figurative images, hybrid elements, worn depictions, and fairytales. Her intricate and mysterious representations are always engaging.

03_filippo_sciascia                                           Filippo Sciascia

Leading Indonesian international artist Entang Wiharso (b.1967, Tegal, Central Java) lives and works in Rhode Island, USA and Yogyakarta. An avid observer of chaos he works in a variety of media to present his narratives, his work is often not for the fainthearted. Agnieszka Kurant is a Polish conceptual and interdisciplinary artist that explores how complex social, economic and cultural systems can operate in ways that confuse distinctions between fiction and reality or nature and culture.

Regarded as the most famous unknown painter living Bali, Ashley Bickerton, one time resident and darling of the New York art set has called Bali home since 1993. His dynamic, intuitive, frequently satirical mixed media works often speak of the encounter of East and West in all its joyful and ludicrous ways. Dor Guez is an Israeli artist and a scholar who is a critical voice from the Middle East. His work interrogates personal and official accounts of the past while revealing histories that were previously absent. Ubud based Italian artist Marco Cassani is the organizational force on the ground in Bali for the Kayu events. Born in Milan in 1981 his recent works have involved research projects into marginalized groups within the Indonesian society.

05_lupo_borgonovo-_1                                              Lupo Borgonovo

For tourists and the locals who visited Rumah Topeng many have strong memories of meeting an evergreen gentleman, the manager Agustinus Praynito. Pak Prayitno, as he was affectionately known, was a kind hearted man with a booming voice and smile, always with a warm greeting, laugh and a sparkle in his eye. Instrumental in the years of hard work that helped establish Rumah Topeng, the facility and its array of excellent supporting events, into a world class feature of Bali, Prayitno’s charm an inseparable highlight.

Coming as a great shock to many, tragically Pak Prayitno passed away during October. Ritiro is dedicated to the loving memory of Agustinus Prayitno 1946 – 2016 RIP.

08_marco_cassani_detail                                             Marco Cassani

Vernissage: 2 PM 4 December

3 PM 4 December an Art Lecture

Ritiro continues through until December 20

Rumah Topeng & Wayang Setiadarma,

Banjar Tegal Bingin, Mas, Ubud, Bali

Open Daily: 9:00 am – 16:00 pm

Tel: 0817-6022-234

Words: Richard Horstman