Category Archives: Bali Megarupa

Overview of the Bali art infrastructure 2019

‘Mahardika’ the group exhibition, featured installation ‘Freedom of Expression’ 2019 by Kadek Kusuma Yatra 200 x 200cm Video installation, open 19 October – 1 December 2019 at TiTian Art Space Nyuh Kuning, Ubud

Overshadowed by the creative hubs of Java, Bandung, Jakarta and Yogyakarta, Bali is often disregarded by international art lovers and this may be due to the tourism-led commodification of art and culture.  However, in the past six years, there has been significant development in the fascinating and distinct Bali art infrastructure.

Bali was not immune to the dramatic decline that occurred after 2008 with the crash of the Indonesian modern and contemporary art markets. The immediate signs of the downturn were the closure of leading contemporary art galleries Gaya in Ubud, and Kendra in Seminyak. Activities at other notable galleries Tony Raka in Ubud and, BIASA ArtSpace in Seminyak wound down as well. Only galleries financially supported by profitable hotels, namely  Komaneka in Ubud, Santrian in Sanur and Ganesha in Jimbaran maintained their exhibition schedules.

During the post-boom period, the established art institutions Museum Puri Lukisan, Neka Art Museum, ARMA and Bentara Budaya Bali continued with consistent programmes. The museum exhibitions were mostly dedicated to the Ubud, Batuan, Keliki and Pengosekan traditional Schools of painting, while representing an array of artists in group and solo shows, including Ketut Madra, Wayan Darlun and Made Astawa. Significant developments in the contemporary art infrastructure occurred with the opening of artist-driven initiatives Luden House in Ubud in 2009, Cata Odata Art Space in Ubud in 2014, and Ketemu Project Space in Batubulan in 2015. 

The large white bamboo installation ‘Not For Sale’ set in rice fields north of Ubud by Balinese landowner, social activist, and artists Gede Sayur and friends, quickly became a unique landmark.  Committed to art with a social and environmental conscience, Sayur founded Luden as an art space and gallery. ‘Not For Sale’ evolved in 2010 in response to the alarming rate of Balinese agricultural land being sold for development and grew to become a social movement. Cata Odata focused their cross-disciplinary programmes towards emerging artists from East Java and Bali, while Ketemu’s model has a strong regional focus on programmes including artists and curators. Their July 2016 group exhibition at Sudakara Art Space, Sanur “Merayakan Murni”(Celebrating Murni), a tribute to the iconic Balinese woman artist IGAK Murniasih (1966-2006), was one of the most anticipated events that year. These initiatives provided a much-needed impetus for the art community.

Developments within the traditional art world were the formation of new collectives Baturlangun in Batuan village and the Werdi Jana Kerti Artists Association in Keliki. Strong leadership dedicated to regeneration of the styles has led to exciting new talent emerging from both of these villages in recent years such as Wayan Aris Sarmanta and Wayan Budiarta from Batuan and Putu Kusuma and Putu Adi from Keliki. Baturlangun’s first exhibition at ARMA in 2012 featured works by emerging, established, and senior artists, including women. Since 2006 Larasati Auctioneers has established an international forum for the trade of high-quality Balinese art, providing strong support in developing the market.  Two yearly auctions are held in Ubud, which expanded to three sales in 2019.

‘Kayu’ a new alternative platform for Indonesian and international contemporary art, opened in 2014, at Rumah Topeng Dan Wayang Setia Dharma (House of Masks & Puppets), in Mas, Ubud. Curated by Ubud based Italian artist Marco Cassani, ‘Kayu’ is an exhibition series that is a part of a global initiative by Lucie Fontaine for the exchange of information and knowledge between the global art world.

The opening of Art Bali 2019 “Speculative Memories” was highlighted by a fashion parade by the Fashion Council of Western Australia (FCWA) which annually holds the Perth Fashion Festival (PFF)

One of the most significant inclusions in the infrastructure TiTian Art Space, after three years in Jalan Bisma, this October moved to larger, more accessible premises in Nyuh Kunning, Ubud. An artist incubator nurturing emerging talent to become art entrepreneurs, it was established by the TiTian Bali Foundation and the vision of Balinese art and entrepreneurial expert Soemantri Widagdo.  The annual TiTian Prize, with sections for children and adult, has quickly attracted the island’s finest talent to participate, propelling the winners Nyoman Arisana and Wayan Aris Sarmanta, into the national spotlight. The recent exhibition “Mahardika” 19 October – 1 December featured works by Wayan Sadu, Nyoman Bratayasa and Kadek Kusuma Yasa.

Bali’s rapidly evolving street art movement is transforming the streets of urban and rural Bali. Swiss urban art enthusiast Julien Thorax opened the gallery and art supplies shop in Canggu, ALLCAPS Store, in 2015. A vibrant sub-culture of social media savvy millennials, and national and international street artists now thrive in the Canggu – Berawa Beach area.

An exhibition highlight of 2019 ‘Drawing Bali Today’ 10 October – 10 November at Sika Gallery, Ubud revealed developments within the context of Balinese technical painting by emerging and mid-career artists. Such developments have been a response to the ‘Neo Pitimaha’ art movement, established in 2013 by art provocateurs Gede Mahendra Yasa and Kemal Ezedine, who have been hosting events and exhibitions in Bali and Java from 2016. The movement reinterprets Balinese traditional technical painting from a contemporary art perspective – retaining the principles involved with the techniques and methods.  By opening this to new viewpoints they awakened a new spirit and introduced a fresh model of possibilities into Balinese art. Ezedine has recently been proactive with exhibitions with some of the core members of the movement, while his “Drawing Lab”, continues on with the Neo Pitamaha ideals influencing the mindset of young Balinese painters.

In just as few years CushCush Gallery, a dynamic and highly active multi-disciplinary platform open in July 2016 in Denpasar and founded by Suriawati Qiu and Jindee Chua, has become the most vital addition to the infrastructure, next to TiTian. An art and design hub dedicated to supporting the many local and international creatives and communities in and around the city, the breadth of their annual DenPasar event, which began in 2017, is always fresh and inspiring.

Artists pose with their works during the opening of during the opening of “Art Exhibition by Children Sanggar Bares – There is no Truth only HONESTY” 12 – 31 October 2019 at the Nyana Tilem Museum, in Mas. Image courtesy Soemantri Widagdo

An international standard exhibition space and contemporary art exhibition has finally arrived in Bali. The major drive for both initiatives that opened late 2018, however, comes from Java. ART • BALI, the exhibition this year in its second edition, and the purpose-built AB • BC Building in Nusa Dua, funded by BEKRAF the Agency for Creative Economy Indonesia, are exciting developments of a global art calibre upon the art landscape. 

Heri Pemad Management from Yogyakarta introduced their ‘ArtJog’ model, highlighting Indonesian contemporary artists with invited internationals. The annual ‘Bali Masters’ exhibition was first held in March 2019; its second edition is due early 2020. External direction over locally based management, and Javanese curators, however, may not be the best mode of capitalizing on Bali’s distinct artistic character and presenting it on the international stage. ‘Balinese Masters: Aesthetic DNA Trajectories of Balinese Visual Art’ featured an array of strong work, the show suffered, however, from confusing curatorial objectives, beginning with a puzzling title, and then including too much work without the benefit of a practical chronological order allowing it to be easily read and understood by the audience.

Tony Raka Art Gallery now merges tribal art with the contemporary, along with the ‘Art Lounge’ activated a few years ago. The venue has recently grown to include the ‘Creative Space’, an expansive event facility at the rear of his gallery. Open 2016 Nyaman Gallery in Seminyak has quickly made its mark, while evolving to include workshop facilities. Uma Seminyak, a new display space open 2017 highlights emerging Balinese and Indonesian contemporary artists and designers.  BIASA ArtSpace has revamped its vision with the new BIASACube, an exhibition space within their Kerobokan boutique open early 2018, and another space BIASA Ubud opened late last year, next door to their boutique in Sanggingan. 

Government support for modern and contemporary art is entering a new era. Gurat Art Project, an arm of the research and curatorial initiative Garut Institute, with the aid of the Badung Regency Administration, has been presenting events now since 2017. The 2019 five-year appointment of artist Dr Wayan Kun Adnyana as the Director of the Cultural Office of Provincial Bali has had an immediate impact ‘Bali Megarupa’ (10 October – 10 November) which featured 103 artists exhibiting at ARMA, Museum Puri Lukisan, Neka Art Museum and Bentara Budaya Bali Cultural Center. “Bali Megarupa” will continue annually for five years with the intention of becoming a yearly long-term fixture on the Bali art calendar consolidated by Provincial law.

‘Ancient Memories’ 2019 – Joel Singer, digital montages from an ongoing series by Singer, some of which were on display at the Tony Raka Art Gallery, Mas, Ubud

2019 closed with two more significant additions to the Bali art infrastructure – Ubud Diary a new gallery opened 30 November with a group exhibition of Ubud School paintings and a book launch “Ubud Diary: Celebrating the Ubud School of Painting – the Diversity of the Visual Language”. Ubud Diary’s mission is to create a new awareness to the historically significant, yet declining Ubud School. BATU Art Space, a Space For Contemporary Art Collection and Research at the House of Masks & Puppets in Mas, Ubud opened 7 December highlighted by “Manifesto” an exhibition by leading Australian artist Sally Smart.

This article was first published:

https://www.artandmarket.net/analysis/2019/12/28/bali-art-infrastructure-2019

Words and Images, unless specified: Richard Horstman

Bali MegaRupa: a new era in government sponsored art infrastructure development in Bali?

Bali Deputy Governor Cokorda Ace during the opening of Bali Megarupa at ARMA 10 November 2019. Image courtesy Bali MegarupaBali Deputy Governor Cokorda Ace addresses officials in front of a painting by Made Budhiana during the opening of Bali Megarupa at ARMA 10 November 2019. Image courtesy Bali Megarupa

Bali Megarupa, a large-scale exhibition featuring one hundred and three modern and contemporary artist from throughout Bali, came to a close Sunday 10 November 2019.

An ambitious project, organized in a whirlwind three month period, was set over four locations in Gianyar; ARMA, Museum Puri Lukisan, Neka Art Museum and Bentara Budaya Bali. The event could signal a new proactive era in the development of the Bali art infrastructure from the Bali Provincial Government.

The Bali Provincial Government now has two distinct annual art events, the Bali Arts Festival held in Denpasar through June-July, with the objective of the preservation and development of the traditional arts, and Bali Jani Arts Festival for modern and contemporary art recently conducted October-November. Bali Jani is a new initiative of the Cultural Office of Provincial Bali under the leadership of Dr.Wayan Kun Adnayana, translating the vision of the Governor Wayan Koster, namely Nangun Sat Kerthi Loka Bali, dedicated to art and culture. Bali Megarupa is part of the Bali Jani Art Festival that accommodates the existing modern and contemporary artists and art communities.

"Pertarungan" 2019 - Putu Edy Asmara. Exhibited at Neka Art Museum Image Richard Horstman     ‘Pertarungan’ 2019 – Putu Edy Asmara. Exhibited at Neka Art Museum

“Bali Megarupa is a vehicle for the extensive socialization, mediation, and communication about the vision of advancing art in Bali. The event that will continue annually for five years with the dream of becoming a long-term yearly fixture on the Bali art calendar consolidated by Peratuan Daerah (Bali Provincial Law),“ said Kun Adnyana. “The objectives are to make Bali a centre for art, to realize the highest possible achievements for Balinese artists, and artists from outside of Bali, and to increase the creativity and productivity of Balinese artists producing original, and high-quality visual art.”

“This may be achieved by viewing the island as a large art studio emphasizing more collaborative and creative partnerships and increasing the necessary discourses among the artists, observers, thinkers, researchers, journalists, art lovers and stakeholders. One of the many desired outcomes being the improved public appreciation for the latest achievements of the Balinese visual arts,” he said.

During the opening ceremony of Bali Megarupa 10 October 2019 at ARMA, Dr Wayan Kun Adnyana presents the Bali Megarupa exhibition catalog to Bali Deputy Governor Cokorda Ace as ARMA founder Agung Rai looks on. Image coutesy of Bali Megarupa. During the opening ceremony of Bali Megarupa 10 October 2019 at ARMA, Head of the Cultural Office of  Provincial Bali Dr Wayan Kun Adnyana presents the Bali Megarupa exhibition catalogue to Bali Deputy Governor Cokorda Ace as ARMA founder Agung Rai looks on. Image courtesy of Bali Megarupa.

The opening ceremony of Bali Megarupa 10 October at ARMA in Ubud, included the spectacular Gladi Ritus Seni Tarirupabunyi “Kidung Megarupa” a contemporary art performance led by the renowned Nyoman Erawan, supported by a host of performers. ARMA, Puri Lukisan and Neka Museums presented two-dimensional works, while Bentara Budaya displayed both paintings and an array of sculptures and installations.

Some of the many highlights were ‘Ovarium’ 2019, a three-panel work of digital prints on paper by AS Kurnia, ‘Jejak Air,’2019 by Made Djirna, ‘Nafas Hidup’ 2019 revealing new abstract developments by Made Budhiana and Wayan Redika’s hyper-detailed pencil and charcoal work on canvas, ‘Tumbal Nusantara’ 2019 one display at ARMA. ‘Banaspati Raja’ 2019 by Wayan Adi Sucipta, Ari Winata’s ‘Bali Singahmadawa’ 2019, Limit, 2019 Gede Ngurah Pandji, ‘Sang Hyang Baruna’ 2019 by Made Karyana were eye-catching works at Puri Lukisan and ‘Pertarungan’ 2019 by Putu ‘Edy’ Asmara at Neka. ‘You Sit on my Shit’ 2019 by DP Arsa Putra, Putu Wirantawan’s ‘Gugusan Energi Alam Batin 7.3.10.019//’ 2019 and Dewa Rata Yoga’s four and a meter broad canvas ‘Menuju Harapan Baru’ 2019 were noteworthy at Bentara Budaya.

"Bali Singhamdawa" 2019 Nyoman Ari Winata. Image Richard Horstman                           ‘Bali Singhamdawa’ 2019 – Nyoman Ari Winata

Side events of Bali Megarupa were the discussion Gerakan Seni Rupa Bali sebagai Seruan Kesadaran (Bali Fine Arts Movement as a Call for Awareness) featuring speakers namely Nawa Tunggal (Kompas senior journalist), Bambang Bujono (cultural observer) and Dr Wayan Kun Adnyana attended by over 150 people at Neka Art Museum on 11th October, Lintas Media Bebas Rupa 26 October, another artist’s talk at Bentara Budaya this time addressing the public and school children led by Made Kaek with Made Bayak artist & Plasticology, Tjandra Hutama head of the Denpasar Photography association, illustrator Monez, and Kokosaja Video Artist. The closing of Bali MegaRupa featured a workshop conducted by the Baturlangun artist’s collective of Batuan with elementary school children from Batuan, and vocational school teenagers from SMK/SMSR Ubud, in the gardens of Musem Puri Lukisan.

The 2019 appointment of well-known Balinese artist and curator Kun Adnyana as the Head of the Cultural Office of the Province of Bali is significant to the future success of Bali Megarupa. Director of the Creative Team of Bali Megarupa Made Kaek stated, “Pak Kun Adnyana understands the potential of art in Bali and how it is necessary to have an adequate art infrastructure to embrace all existing potential. His role is strategic, and he is familiar with what is needed to build an art ecosystem. He has already proposed a budget for the Bali Jani Art Festival, including Bali Megarupa, in the 2020 regional planning forecasts.”

20191027_160042The art performance held during the opening of Bali Megarupa at ARMA. Image courtesy of Bali Megarupa

“Pak Kun Adnyana has asked the committee to evaluate Bali Megarupa to help determine the community’s satisfaction. There are internal research and a questionnaire that needs to be completed, along with careful planning for 2020. Our budget provision is highly planned, measured and accounted for,” Kaek continued. “Even though the exhibition has closed the public can still enjoy the artworks through the balimegarupa.id website which will develop into a digital gallery and documentation centre for all Balinese art.”

The feedback I have received about Bali Megarupa from various participants has generally been positive, and they are looking forward to the ongoing development of the event. A few comments, however, that the curatorial process needs improving, others questioned the extravagance of the opening ceremony, while some wonder if Megarupa will achieve any real positive outcomes. All agree that Bali Megarupa will benefit from a careful process of evaluation to help bring more real valuable results for stakeholders in the future.

"Menuju Harapan Baru" 2019 Dewa Rata Yoga exhibited at Bentara Budaya Bali. Image Richard Horstman‘Menuju Harapan Baru’ 2019 – Dewa Rata Yoga exhibited at Bentara Budaya Bali

During the closing event, 10 November at Puri Lukisan Kun Adnyana requested Bali Megarupa to embrace all stakeholders in Bali to expand cooperation networks to support this event to be bigger and stronger. “Big ideas will not develop if they are not executed properly through intensive collaborations, as a joint project with a strong vision to deliver tangible and valuable future outcomes that have a real impact,” he said.

Path Forward

 Kun Adnyana has welcomed “artists, observers, thinkers, researchers, journalists, art lovers and stakeholders”, to participate in “collaborative and creative partnerships, expand cooperative networks increasing the necessary discourses” beginning the task of reinvigorating the Bali art infrastructure. The process may start by assessing the art infrastructure, along with questionnaires to the art community and some of the vital infrastructure to determine the current state of where it is now. Defining a clear vision may be the next step, and what is the desired state by the end of the five years and then develop a road map to arrive at the destination.

"Jejak Air" 2019 - Made Djirna exhibited at ARMA. Image Richard Horstman                 ‘Jejak Air’ 2019 – Made Djirna exhibited at ARMA

A distinct feature of art is that it has unique and valuable social capital within this era of massive disruption. Art strengthens communities and improves the well-being of people’s lives and has a distinct transformational, yet underutilized, potency on Bali. A worthwhile task may be to understand what is a sustainable art ecosystem, and then fully explore all of the components of the Bali art ecosystem as it extends internationally. For Kun Adnyana, his team and the stakeholders’ opportunity awaits.

http://www.balimegarupa.id

Nyoman Erawan during the performance of Gladi Ritus Seni Tarirupabunyi "Kidung Megarupa" 10 October at ARMA Image courtesy of MegarupaNyoman Erawan during the performance of Gladi Ritus Seni Tarirupabunyi ‘Kidung Megarupa’ 10 October at ARMA Image courtesy of Bali Megarupa
Gugusan Energi Alam Batin 7.3.10.019 :: 2019 - Putu Wirantawan exhibited at Bentara Budaya Bali. Image Richard HorstmanGugusan Energi Alam Batin 7.3.10.019 // 2019 – Putu Wirantawan exhibited at Bentara Budaya Bali

Words: Richard Horstman

Photos: Courtesy of Bali Megarupa & Richard Horstman