Monthly Archives: February 2019

#Perempuan: an exhibition by emerging Indonesian contemporary artists a highlight during Mapping Melbourne 2018

#Perempuan exhibition view at Space 28 Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) MelbournePhoto by Richard Horstman #Perempuan exhibition view at Space 28 Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) Melbourne

 

Yaya Sung’s thought-provoking investigation into the murder of seven Indonesian army generals during the 1965 coup that overthrew President Sukarno’s reign during the 30 September Movement (G30S), “The Future (Lies)” 2018, was recently displayed in Melbourne, Australia. It was one of nine contemporary artworks presented in #Perempuan, a group exhibition by female and male emerging Indonesian artists at Space 28, the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA), Southbank, open 5-14 December, 2018.

Exhibited along side Sung’s seven screen video installation of seven naked male models with make-up representing the general’s fatal stab and gun shot wounds according to the official autopsy reports was the artists book, with translations, detailing her extensive museum-like archival research.

"The Future (Lies)" 2018 Yaya Sung, Image courtesy Santy Saptari       “The Future (Lies)” 2018 – Yaya Sung  Image courtesy of Santy Saptari

 

The narrative released by the New Order Regime under the incoming Suharto’s government claimed that the generals’ deaths were the responsibility of the underground 1950’s Indonesian women’s rights organization Gerwani. The fabrication stated they were sadistically tortured and their bodies sexually mutilated culminating in their deaths, thus leading to Gerwani’s reputation as ‘violent, deviant and crazed’ women. Suharto deliberately discredited Gerwani due to its association with the PKI, (the Indonesian communist party) while advocating women should take up supporting roles out of public life and traditional maternal roles.

With the increasing rise of moral conservatism in Indonesia artist’s rights to freedom of speech are increasingly being encroached. Exhibitions, and public sculptures have come under attack, being either forced to close, or works dismantled, due to what is deemed as offensive themes and content. Two elements of Sung’s insightful artwork make it too sensitive to be shown in Indonesia, yet suitable for an international audience in Melbourne – content featuring nudity, and the examination of the events related to the 30 September Movement.

"One is a million" 2018 Ruth Marbun. Image R.Horstman                         “One is a million” – Ruth Marbun

 

Stories concerning subjects from the present and past were granted new life for contemplation and dialogue in the first international Indonesian contemporary art exhibition that focused on issues relating to Indonesian women. Sponsored by Project 11, as part of Multicultural Arts Victoria’s Asian contemporary arts festival Mapping Melbourne 2018, #Perempuan explored topics relating to politics; social, cultural and gender identity politics; values and traditions and the changing roles of Indonesian women.

The works presented by Java based artists Arum Dayu, Erwin Windu Pranata, Meliantha Muliawan, Octora, Patricia Untario, Puri Fidhini & Etza Meisyara, Ruth Marbun, Tandia Bambang Permadi, along with Sung involved issues that are rarely openly discussed in public within Indonesia. “Very few exhibitions have been held within Indonesia that focus solely upon women’s issues,” said #Perempuan curator, Santy Saptari, who was born and raised in Jakarta, and now lives and works in Melbourne.

"You can see but you can't touch! 2017 Erwin Windu Pranata Image R. Horstman         “You can see but you can’t touch!”, 2017 – Erwin Windu Pranata

 

“Traditional lives are very orchestrated in Indonesia,” stated Saptari, and continued, “During the process of organizing this exhibition Konfir and I (Konfir Kabo of Project 11) realized that one of the major challenges facing female Indonesian artists is their capacity for career continuity. Many women sacrifice their art for family commitments, getting married, and putting the male first. We wanted to give women artists an opportunity to talk about issues that matter to them.”

Yogyakarta artist Arum Dayu’s invitation to her parents to examine with her the challenges of being unmarried within the format of her artwork proved for the artist a unique experience. Kapan nikah? (When are you going to get married?), 2018 featured Dayu photographed with potential husbands, and her parents, all dressed in traditional attire. The focal image included an edited recording of her discussions with her parents, revealing them to be understanding and supportive of her culturally frowned upon position – a young woman without a husband.

"Kapan nikah? (When are you going to get married?)", 2018 Arum Dayu Image by Richard Horstman “Kapan nikah? (When are you going to get married?)”, 2018  –  Arum Dayu

 

A large assemblage of layered fabric sculptures and watercolour works on paper in pink and blood-red flesh tones reveals disfigured faces and body parts – with eyes that eerily peer out at the audience. One is a million, 2018 by Bandung artist Ruth Marbun was a captivating installation with theatrical elements examining the female human experience. Marbun finds beauty in the adversity, and that women achieve so much through sacrifice and dedication, without receiving recognition.

Raised by his parents to play the role of the eldest daughter of the family and caretaker of the parents when elderly, Tandia Bambang Permadi’s photograph installation After-sex selfies, 2018, fascinated, while highlighting some of the complexities of Javanese culture. Permadi’s probe into his dual male/female life roles and self-identity culminated into ‘female selfie images of conquest’ taken by his numerous sexual partners. His naked photo series revealed his renegotiation of gender roles.

"Silence" 2018 Patricia Untario Image by Richard Horstman                                    “Silence”, 2018 – Patricia Untario

 

Two-hundred and twenty individually distinct, phallic objects hand-made from blown glass positioned in line along a 15 meter wall with special lighting made for a unique aesthetic experience. Silence, 2018 is Patricia Untario’s statement about the absence sex education available to young Indonesian woman. This work too is also too controversial to be exhibited in the artist’s country of birth.

“Because of the complex meeting of traditional and modern values Indonesian women have to continually fight to achieve sovereign rights that many women in other parts of the world now take for granted.” Saptari stated, “Its important for us to share these voices and unheard stories so outsiders can appreciate the many cultural complications facing Indonesian women.

20181210_162731                  “Post Beauty”, 2018 – Puri Fidhini & Etza Meisyara

 

“I believe the 21st century is excellent time to be a woman,” she continued. “There is so much rapid change going on, with advances in technology and the Internet.”   “I was surprised and encouraged by the quality of the work in this exhibition, especially by the very young women artists who proved they are both critical, and very adept in navigating their way around in this modern era.”

 

Words: Richard Horstman

Images courtesy: Santy Saptari & Richard Horstman

Advertisements

Art Bali: a stepping-stone to a sustainable art ecosystem

sri mulyana, heri pemad & triawan munaf during the official opening of art bali - image courtesy of art baliMinister of Finance of the Republic of Indonesia, Sri Mulyani, Head of BeKraf, Triawan Munif and Heri Pemad during the opening of Art Bali 9 October 2018

 

Under wraps Art Bali, a world- class presentation of contemporary art by 39 Balinese, Indonesian and foreign artists in Nusa Dua, closed 9 November. The most anticipated art exhibition in the island’s recent history, it was Bali’s first venture into a realm of global art events.

The origins of Art Bali is the synergy of a relationship beginning in 1998 when Heri Pemad, CEO and Founder of ArtJog, Indonesia’s flagship contemporary art fair that has evolved into one of the most colourful and unique events on the global art map, and Balinese artist I Made Aswino Aji, were students studying fine art in Yogyakarta.

"self portrait" - filippo sciascia 2018 mixed media image richard horstman                            Self Portrait, 2018 – Filippo Sciascia

 

Pemad and Aswino Aji’s discussions began more than 3 years ago laying the event’s conceptual foundations, the catalyst in Art Bali’s realization, however, was Pemad’s relationship with BEKRAF (Agency for Creative Economy Indonesia). The opportunity arose when BEKRAF Director Triawan Munaf presented Pemad the challenge of organizing a special event to coincide with the annual meeting of the IMF & World Bank held in Nusa Dua Bali, 6 – 19 October.

According to Pemad the Indonesian government was inspired to include an event within the IMF –World Bank side program, the meeting was attended by 34,000 delegations from around 200 countries, “They wished to challenge the ideas of delegates visiting Indonesia for the first time that Indonesia was a still a traditional country. Through a presentation of contemporary art dialogue they could observe a nation in a process of development and change.”

entang wiharso_wisdom_aluminum, car paint, polyurethane, resin, graphite, steel bar, lightbulb, electric cable, thread, color pigment, lamp, stainless steel, chai                               Wisdom, 2018 – Entang Wiharso

 

Pemad’s immediate task was to create a branch of HPAM (Heri Pemad Art Management) in Bali with a local team, led by Aswino Aji. After two years of hard work and waiting for the Indonesian governmental bureaucratic process to fall into place the event was given the green light, which left two months for the physical details of Art Bali to become manifest.

Art Bali was opened by the Minister of Finance of the Republic of Indonesia Sri Mulyani 9 October. Held in a purpose built venue designed by Pemad and sited within the Nusa Dua tourism precinct in the AB•BC Building, set over 1000 square meters, it was erected in a whirlwind 40 days. “We are pushing Indonesian art onto the new map of the global creative economy,” said Triawan Munaf. “We are optimistic that the creative economy will become the backbone of the national economy.”

"the tragedy of resistance" made widya diputra 2018, mixed media image richard horstman                The Tragedy of Resistance, 2018 –  Made Widya Diputra

 

Global art events in Indonesia that present the finest local and international talent, attracting large national and international audiences, the media, collectors and the art industry have been a feature of the Java art landscape for over a decade. Art fairs, ArtJog and Art Jakarta have become crucial platforms and meeting points for the Indonesian art world – the event’s brands now securely positioned on the global art map.

“Art Bali will be an annual event,” Aswino Aji said. “The venue will become a new feature on the Bali landscape, in the pipeline is a series of regular events.” Art Bali, however, is the subject of speculation. If the event continues it could prove to be a vital game changer – a catalyst within the reconfiguration of an important economic sector that was the initial driver of the tourism economy on Bali almost a century ago.

galam zulkifli_seri ilusi - indonesia idea #voice face_acrylic, fluorescent, glow in the dark paint on canvas_400x600 cm (6 panels, each 200x200 cm)_2018             Seri Ilusi – Indonesia Idea #Voice Face, 2018 –  Galam Zulkifli

 

Art and cultural tourism was responsible for the first wave of tourism to the island beginning in the 1930’s, until 1945. In the 1970’s during a renewed period of tourism growth art and culture again played defining roles. Post 2008 witnessed the new phenomenon of lifestyle tourism, driven by events such as the Bali Spirit Festival, and the Ubud Readers & Writers Festival, along with the development of resort tourism, as the burgeoning new economic engines. The advancement of new digital technologies as practical and powerful tools has fuelled the rapid growth in these thriving sectors.

The lack of local initiative and know-how to build a dynamic and functional infrastructure has, however, resulted in art being almost forgotten within the island’s recent fortunes, with enormous social and monetary potential being unrealized – and this is where Art Bali becomes essential.

ashley bickerton "yello nose & orang nose" 2018 mixed media image richard horstman                Yello Nose & Orang Nose, 2018 – Ashley Bickerton

 

“Our aim is to help build a sustainable art eco system in Bali,” Aswino Aji stated.

For a sustainable art eco system to evolve three essential fundamentals from the 20th century global art machine must exist within the Bali art landscape; a world-class art fair, museum and auction house, all with international stature. Understanding and prioritizing the need to revive and preserve Bali’s renowned creative traditions is also vital. This may be achieved by a purpose built center for research and development that also focuses on the necessary platforms to launch products and talent into the 21st century global creative economy.

Each year Art Bali must inject fresh and exciting energy into its program, making it very international, with new artists and new works, building its brand beyond Indonesia; first targeting collectors from SE Asia, China, Japan and India. Understanding Art Bali’s target audience of national, regional and international art collectors, and being able to lure them to Bali will be one of the keys to its future success. When the above-mentioned key facets of the art infrastructure are in place, the other essentials will organically evolve.

courtesy of National Gallery of Indonesia                          The Traveller, 2018 – Eko Nugroho

 

For Art Bali to flourish and become the spearhead of a sustainable art eco system teamwork and collaboration is pivotal, including support from many Indonesian government ministries beyond BEKRAF, and likewise the cooperation from the Bali government. A challenge is how to mobilize the enormous pool of talent from Bali – its artists and art communities.

Art Bali needs to capitalize on the superb international branding power of Bali, while making a clear distinction from ArtJog by having an event with a strong Bali identity. A vision of how the sustainability of Bali’s art eco system can be achieved is possible. Art Bali is the first step in this process.

chusin setiadikara - "jejak-jejak jalur sutra" 2017 150 x 200cm oil & acrylic on canvas - image richard horstman                      Jejak-Jejak Jalur Sutra, 2017  – Chusin Setiadikara

 

nyoman erawan - "dancing with the shadows" 2018 mixed media image richard horstman               Dancing with the Shadows, 2018 – Nyoman Erawan

 

ab - bc bali collection building nusa dua, bali image richard horstman

 

www.artbali.co.id

 

Words: Richard Horstman

Images courtesy of Art Bali & Richard Horstman