Menjumput Masa Lalu – picking up the past

20170522_131213                         Generasi J.K #1,2,3 2016 – Nyoman Suarnata

Ubud’s Sika Gallery presents Menjumput Masa Lalu (picking up the past), a group exhibition of contemporary artworks by the # PK collective. On show from 21 May are installations, drawings, paintings, videoart, object art, scpultures, and graphics by five young Balinese artists I Gede Jaya Putra, Ngakan Putu Agus Arta Wijaya (NPAAW), I Nyoman Suarnata, I Made Putra Indrawan, and I Putu Nova Ruspika Yanto, along with written text by female arts and language freelancer Savitri Sastrawan.

All the participants were students at the Indonesian Art Institute (ISI) in Denpasar, studying between 2006 – 2009. Their works explore themes from the serious, to light- hearted and include environmental issues, the conflict between tradition and modernity, identity, the erosion of Indonesian democracy, and even thought-provoking themes that incite humour.

20170522_131349                              Home, 2017 – Putu Nova Ruspika Yanto

Full Space 2016, by Nyoman Suarnata (b.1987, Mengwi, Badung) is a progressive representation of iconic local subject matter that is too often translated into conventional painted forms. His installation of two-dimensional canvases taking on 3 dimensional hexagonal forms adds fresh life to the subject matter. Suarnata’s images related to the cultural pasttime of tajen (cock-fighting) are rendered in 3 colours systems evoking different eras; black & white (conjuring up pre modern Bali), monochrome, and dynamic realism (suggesting modernity).

"Black and White" Ngakan Putu Agus Arta Wijaya                   Black & White, 2017 – Ngakan Putu Agus Arta Wijaya

Text by Sastrawan (b.1990 Denpasar) is a response to the collective’s artworks revealing her thoughts related to struggle; not only of Indonesia’s on-going journey of democracy, yet also the everyday challenges that confront young artists. Her writings are set within the form of an installation, centrally positioned is a humourous, yet disturbing illustration. The Garuda Pancasila, the mythical eagle featured on Indonesia’s national emblem, with the motto Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (unity in diverstiy), is hospitalized and receiving care. Corruption, violence, injustice and inquality, seemingly sanctioned by the country’s ruling elite, are current and real threats to democracy.

Tentang aku jendela rumah dan angin, (about my window house and the wind) by Made Putra Indrawan (b. 1987, Denpasar) is a light-hearted and quirky installation. He presents a small box through which an nondescript, whimsical creature peers out through a window, the medium is timber. From a tiny electronic device inside the sound of strong winds emanate, while the words – tentang aku jendela rumah dan angin are emblazoned across the wall. The audience is prompted to imagine the artist as this curious creature.

Savitri Sastrawan               Let’s Pick Up the Past With PK! 2017 – Savitri Sastrawan

Diary Book # 1 & 2, by Putu Nova Ruspika Yanto introduces alternative asethetics and techniques to the exhibition, aiding in its overall strength. His woodcut images are presented within the format of two diaries. While one book depicts images of his young son and wife, the other narrative is his observations of dramatic and disheartening change. The artist’s home environment was once cool, green and clean has, within the space of a few decades, become barren, void of trees. It’s now hot and dry, and polluted.

The work of two promising Balinese talents, Gede Jaya Putra and NPAAW are showcased in Menjumput Masa Lalu, both are worthy of close observation as they mature. Jaya Putra (b.1988, Kerobokan) attracted much attention with Transformation, his first solo exhibition in 2013, revealing remarkable depth in the exploration of his social themes, equally supported by his imaginative works.

"Generasi Sintetis" Gede Jaya Putra                Generasi Sintetis 2017, (Synthetic Generation) – Gede Jaya Putra

Generasi Sintetis 2017, (Synthetic Generation) emphasizes his ongoing theme of the process of change that is confronting today’s yonger generation, specifically the change from the natural, to the synthetic world. The large installation comprises of three elements, and includes more than 20 pencil sketches of the foliage of different trees positioned upon sections of tree trunks functioning as pedestals. Two screens reveal videos, one of colourful flowers and foliage, the other, shot in black & white, focusses upon the physical structure of branches, and its myriad of abstract forms. The contrast between what is real and that which is illusory is powerful, highlighting the demise of the natural environment, which is increasingly threatened by modern development.

The focal piece of Generasi Sintetis is a hybrid character, part human, part machine, the icon central to Jaya Putra’s transformation theme, his representation of the younger generation of Balinese. A black, life sized, two dimensional figure holding a glass jar containing a synthetic eco system.

20170522_131104Tentang aku jendela rumah dan angin, (about my window house and the wind) 2017 – Made Putra Indrawan

The medium of video art IS the most challenging format for an artist to master, and to successfully communicate his ideas. The most effective works are generally short, no longer than two minutes, with simple messages that are easy to read. The audiences’ attention must be captured from the beginning of the video and maintained until the very end. The moment boredom sets in our attention wanders, yearning for fresh stimulus, and the artist loses his audience.

Jaya Putra has been experimenting with this format for the past five years. Merasakan Ibu Pertiwi (feel mother earth), 2017, his 2-minute performance video, features the artist walking bare-footed through the crowded city streets of Japan, “feeling” the earth. We become observers of contrasting imagery, Jaya Putra’s feet making direct connection, as opposed to the multitude wearing shoes. Jaya Putra attaches the video screen to the gallery ceiling so we must look up to observe what in reality is always witnessed when looking down. Jaya Putra’s work is uncomplicated and thought-provoking, while communicating a facet of Balinese cultural worldview.

"Full Space #1 #2 & #3" Nyoman Suarnata                            Full Space #1,2,&3, 2016 – Nyoman Suarnata

NPAAW (b. 1990 Pejeng, Gianyar) is currently based in Yogyakarta, Central Java, Indonesia’s largest, most diverse and dynamic art community. In Menjumput Masa Lalu he presents three round paintings and one installtion, rendered in black and white tones and representing duality. Two meters in diameter, Black & White is an interguing composition, a part of his ongoing theme featuring animals in metaphorical scenarios representing the never-ending cycle of life, and the constant process of change. His composition features two horses with elongated bodies, one black, the other white, travelling in clockwise motion. The foreground features the Beatles walking in counter-clockwise direction, reminiscent of their famous album cover Abbey Road.

Zebranizasi is a fascinating installation, again emphasizing duality, and that according to Balinese Hindu philosophies, all life and universal order is subject to equal and opposing forces. The installation features 6 individual works, three iconic Balinese cultural creatures, another two the lucky charm of the Japanese, maneki-neko, the waving cat. The final piece reveals a dramatic, yet impossible scenario upon a chess board. The horse or Knight is painted as a zebra, balancing both the positive and negative forces, and has the black and white kings in a check mate position.

"Zebraniasi" Ngakan Putu Agus Arta Wijaya                    Zebranizasi, 2017 – Ngakan Putu Agus Arta Wijaya

The contributions by the Sika Gallery in the support and development of Balinese contemporary art is unsurpassed. The vision of painter, sculptor, writer, critic and provocatur Wayan Sika (b.1949, Silakarang, Gianyar), in 1996 he opened Bali’s first non-commercial artist’s driven space to provide a platform for the avant-garde that was quickly evolving on the island. Continuing in the tradition of exhibiting young and immerging local artist’s the Sika Gallery presents Menjumput Masa Lalu, continuing through until 3 June 2017.

Detail of Installation "Generasi Sintetis" Gede Jaya Putra      Detail of Generasi Sintetis 2017, (Synthetic Generation) – Gede Jaya Putra

20170522_131328                       Diary Book # 1, 2017Putu Nova Ruspika Yanto

Menjumput Masa Lalu (picking up the past)

21 May – 3 June

Sika Gallery

Jalan Raya Campuhan

Ubud, Bali

Open daily 9am – 5pm

Words & Images: Richard Horstman

 

 

 

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