Category Archives: Indonesian Contemporary Art

The Cosmic Worlds of Visionary Balinese Artist Putu Wirantawan

Putu Wirantawan 2016

 

Rarely in Bali does the observer have the opportunity to experience art of such a unique and “other worldly” quality as created Balinese contemporary artist Putu Wirantawan. The fundamental key to Balinese traditional art is drawing, for Wirantawan, however, it serves a different function to that of his artistic forefathers.

About 15 years ago Wirantawan (b.1972 Negara, Jembrana, West Bali) became overwhelmed by what he perceived as a block in his artistic development. Yet, unbeknown to him at the time, he was in the formative stages of creative innovation. Having learned to draw and paint in his youth, actively exhibiting since 1993, and a graduate in Fine Arts from the ISI Yogyakarta 2005, (Indonesian Art Institute), Wirantawan had already become competent in the mediums of oil and acrylic paint, along with water-color to produce figurative and abstract works. Wirantawan, however, had become bored with these genres and wished to break free.

                                         Soulscape II, 2010 – Putu Wirantawan

His solution was to return to the basics of drawing. Wirantawan followed his intuitive urges and focused on spontaneous ideas that evolved into unexplainable sketches. He completed page after page in his sketch pad until eventually the idea blossomed, why not piece together some of these works into larger compositions.

Wirantawan’s process is determined by the flow of imaginative energy between his conscious and subconscious minds. The freedom and flexibility within his technique allows him to arrive at authentic compositions that he believes would be impossible to initially conceive – a powerful creative element had returned to his art along with seemingly endless possibilities to explore.

Working in pencil and ballpoint pen on paper, enhanced with a touch of color Wirantawan draws on the fundamentals of surrealism and abstract art.  “Many of my ideas come from the simplest of objects or from observations of the atmospheric, such as the elements of sunlight, fire, water and smoke,” says Wirantawan. “The elements contain a magic that ignites my imagination and I then transform the shapes I see into something new.”

             Tebaran Energi Sejati, 2008-2012, 9 panels, 2915 x 1260 cm – Putu Wirantawan

“Drawing is a flexible and spontaneous technic, it can be done wherever and whenever, and is not affected by the material drying quickly or still being wet. Drawing nurtures new spirit that enables me to feel free to explore my flowing ideas,” Wirantawan said. “Drawing is soul therapy for the mental burdens resulting from challenges in daily life.”

Often described as a visionary Balinese artist, Wirantawan’s works invite the observer into an abstract world of geometric structures that appear like futuristic cities, galactic landscapes and vast sanctums in the outer most reaches of the cosmos. While his work is truly contemporary and free of traditional Balinese aesthetics and the orthodox approach, there is a deep relationship to the Balinese Hindu philosophical universal view.

Initially, Wirantawan’s works appear almost cryptic and strange, yet they mysteriously radiate a warmth with an unexplainable fascination to the eye. The core structural content of his work is based on the principles of sacred geometry, in which arrangements of lines within harmonic proportions produce systems and symbols that resonate with the subconscious mind.

                                Gugusan Citra Batin, 1236011, 2011 – Putu Wirantawan

Wirantawan often utilizes the circle, which is nature’s perfect symbol, appearing like floating disks, planets and glowing orbs with auras radiating light. “Geometry is the essence and structure of all natural shapes on earth and in the solar system.   All cycles of life and natural phenomena follow a repetitive circular order of birth, death and then rebirth,” he said.

The geometrical symbols Wirantawan uses are governed by a mathematical ratio known as the Golden Ratio, first devised by the ancient Greek mathematicians defining an invisible order that regulates the 3 dimensional proportions of the earth plane. These harmonic proportions were used in the design of sacred buildings in ancient and renaissance architecture to produce a spiritual energy that is believed to facilitate connectivity with a higher universal intelligence.

The coloration of Wirantawan’s works contains the most basic of all visual dualities – black and its interrelationship with the color white. The impact of color psychology, the advancing nature of the white upon black creates dramatic depth of field. Some imagery simply morphs from light to dark and flows in and out of discernible surrealistic forms.

Wirantawan has won a series of awards and honors, including nomination as one of the 10 best Indonesian artists in 2000 Philip Morris Art Awards, as well as being a finalist in the International Triennial “Print and Drawing” in Bangkok, Thailand 2008 and again in 2012.

Blissful Line, Wirantawan’s 2015 solo exhibition at the Tony Raka Art Gallery in Ubud, featured hundreds of his sketches on papers covering the gallery’s walls, the focal point of attraction, however, was his extraordinary, and new venture into installation. Gugusan Energi Alam Batin (the Configuration of the Natural Energy of the Soul), 606 x 246 x 312 cm.  Within the context of contemporary Balinese art Wirantawan has developed a dynamic individual style, both beautiful and compelling, that clearly stands alone.

IMGP9421                           Gugusan Energi Alam Batin – Putu Wirantawan

IMGP9400                             Sketches by Putu Wirantawan

IMGP9397

Words & Images: Richard Horstman

 

 

Reviewing ART|JOG|10

"Fashion As A Weapon" Hendra 'Blankon' Priyadhani. Image Richard Horstman             Fashion As A Weapon, 2017 – Hendra “Blangkon” Priyadhani

How may we define Indonesian art?

Unlike other nations, Indonesia is without an international standard museum as a foundation through which its distinct art narratives and identity may be imparted internationally, and locally. We can, however, reference a different platform ART|JOG, the art fair that supports artists over galleries. Celebrating this year its tenth edition, it has grown into an icon, presenting the ‘voice’ of Indonesian contemporary art diversity to the global audience.

ART|JOG|10 Changing Perspective opened with a limited preview 19 May, at the Jogja National Museum (JNM), Yogyakarta, officiated by GKR Mangkubumi, the eldest child of Yogyakarta Governor Sultan Hamengkubuwono. Annually the event attracts additional foreign visitors, this year there were more international art industry insiders, many expressing ideas about future collaborations.

Mulyana Mogus "Silent Prayers"                         Silent Prayers, 2017 – Mulyana Mogus

Running parallel with Jogja Art Weeks, a month-long abundance of events set throughout the Special Regency, and now in its second year, (another organizational feat by Heri Pemad Art Management), ART|JOG is a fixture on the international art map, a boon for cultural tourism in Central Java.

“The combination of an art fair founded for artists by an artist, hosted at the Jogja National Museum, over a relaxed time frame with daily performances and artist interactivity against a backdrop of the uniquely engaging energy of the Yogyakarta arts community is highly inspiring in a world where art fair fatigue is prevalent,” said artists, art historian, curator, gallerist and collector Jane Walker, who is London and Singapore based, also on her first visit to the fair.

ART|JOG|10’s Open Call Application granted fifteen artists eligibility, while invited artists numbered 58 of a total of 73. One of the most enjoyable features of its format is the freedom to observe works without any presence/pressure of sales, gallery staff, and infrastructure.

J Aryadhitya Pramuhendra - Holy Lamb               Holy Lamb, 2017 – J Aryahitya Pramuhendra

Both local and foreign, emerging and established artists exhibit side-by-side over 3 floors. The JNM’s design of alternative shaped showrooms offers possibilities for varying art encounters. Artists granted individual space, who understood how to capitalize upon this creating intimate art experiences, were generally the most memorable.

A giant batik parasol depicting the sky spans the ceiling and a mural rendered in clay revealing order and disorder are the two prominent features of Seti Legu’s installation, Universal Syndrome. Observers are immersed within an intriguing reconstruction of opposing positive and negative forces – the world according to Javanese cosmology – where human and environmental exploitation contrasts with ideology, religion and materialism; the modern world in conflict with the past. Legu sits and reads poetry aloud, while a traditionally attired elderly musician completes the distinctive ambience.

Invited Chinese artist Geng Xue presents a 13-minute animation, Mr Sea. Her two characters, set within a surreal forest landscape are all made from porcelain. In this extraordinarily sensitive tale, that takes the art form to wonderful innovative heights, breath-taking beauty and tragedy go hand-in-hand. This is a mesmerizing, emotional journey.

"Mr. Sea" Geng Xue, 13 minute porcelain animation. Image Richard Horstman                                Mr. Sea, 2014 – Geng Xue

Syagini Ratna Wulan’s Chromatic Chimera, and Chromatic Myth 1,2&3 together create a tangible atmosphere. Her ‘gloomy’ skyscapes feature tiny colored ‘figures’ floating seemingly without purpose. A hanging geometric form projected with colored light creates beautiful patterns up into a corner, its energetic distinctions, married with her painted compositions create a potent, mysterious abstract experience. While other artists exhibit abstract works, many fail to excite, Wulan’s imagination, however fully engages our senses via the subtle powers of suggestion.

Season In The Abyss, Jim Allen Abel’s commemorative installation honoring 102 people lost in 2007 on an Adam Air flight from Surabaya, East Java to Manado is thought provoking, and ultimately touching. At front a display case presents facts and details including archive photos. Within the darkened space the installation merges elements, projected images, and flashing lights reflect upon mirrors from the ceiling to the floor, and wall. The experience is intriguing and upsetting, yet beautiful as well. Such a thematic is bold, revealing artistic maturity.

ArtJog 10 Merchandise Project - Wearable Art. Scarf by Radi Arwinda, Image by Richard Horstman       ArtJog 10 Merchandise Project – Wearable Art, Scarf by Radi Arwinda

Angki Purbandono collaborated with adventure traveller/actor and advocate for the preservation of Indonesia’s endangered Sumatran elephant, Nicholas Saputra, to make a documentary describing the alarming decline of this specie. Post Jungle – Tangkahan Project introduces an alternative story, in a visual art language aimed to incite the public’s curiosity and concern towards grave Indonesian environmental issues.

Floating Eyes, the commissioned work by Wedhar Riyadi of giant eyeballs floating in water is spectacular. Positioned at the front façade of JNM, evening time it contrasts wonderfully against the white building and the night sky, in the presence of the new, honorary R.J Katamsi statue, flanked by majestic banyan trees. The work, however, lacks local iconography.

Some other works of note include J Aryadhitya Pramuhendra’s Holy Lamb, Mulyana Mogus’ beguiling visual world, Silent Prayers, Agung Prabowo’s linocut reduction print on handmade paper, Study of Convex and Concave by M.C Escher 1955, and Hendra “Blangkon” Priyadhani’s, Fashion As A Weapon. Recipients of this year’s Young Artists Award, a program open to artists under 33 years in appreciation of artistic endeavour are Bagus Pandega and Syaiful Garibaldi.

Indonesian artists, including Wedhar Riyadi, along with art lovers, with "Floating Eyes" JNM. Image Richard HorstmanIndonesian artists, including Wedhar Riyadi, center, along with art lovers, with “Floating Eyes”, Riyadi’s commissioned work.

The popular Fringe Program, headlined by the Curator’s Tour, Meet The Artists, and the ASRI Historical Tour, enhanced the public’s engagement. This year’s new Merchandise Project presents selected local creative communities and artists to showcase their signature works. The strong line-up of Daily Performances including performance art, music, dance, fashion shows and theatre, featured well-known artists Melati Suryodharmo, Garin Nugroho and Rahayu Supanggah, Bimo Wiwohatmo and Astri Kusuma Wardani.

Post preview consensus was, however, the quality of art was down from 2016. “The works were less innovative and less challenging this year compared to last,” said art critic Jean Couteau. “While the local component was minor, the visual and symbolic language is global.”

A deacade of ART|JOG is a huge distinction. Such an event faces great challenges, both internal and external. The vision of Heri Pemad, along with the vigor of Heri Pemad Art Management deserves enormous credit. Indonesia, and the global art world please take note!

20170519_130530                        Universal Syndrome, 2017 – Seti Legu

20170519_125340                             Angki Purbandono, 2017

20170519_131058                Situ Ciburuy; Museum Plan, 2017  – Aliansyah Chaniago

20170519_132125                  Season In The Abyss, 2017 – Jim Allen Abel

20170519_134058                  On the Way, 2017 – “SurantoKenyang

 

ART|JOG|10

19 May – 19 June 2017

Jogja National Museum

Jalan Prof. Ki Amri Yahya No. 1, Yogyakarta

www.artjog.co.id

Words & Images: Richard Horstman

 

 

Made Djirna – soul mining

Installation at Djirna's studio.                     Installation by Made Djirna at his Ubud studio, 2017

Exploring Balinese artist Made Djirna’s cavernous studio conjures up notions of a journey into a mysterious inner sanctum that is vibrant and fascinating, yet is equally as powerful and confronting.

A collector of all manner of cultural artifacts, naturally formed shapes and unusual objects, which he then converts into intriguing installations, typically, Djirna’s lively yet simplified and raw figures reflect the primitive tribal arts. He constructs enormous “shrines and altars” from old timber, crude sculptures and rocks, complete with fire, coloured light,  and abstract painted deities that are infused with a sense of ritual and resonate with spiritual energy.

Installation by Made Djirna, mixed media, various dimensions. 2012.Image Richard Horstman.JPGInstallation by Made Djirna exhibited in “Ubud 1963, (Re) Reading The Growth of Made Djirna”, at the National Gallery in Jakarta. 24th November – 5th December 2012.

Within the National Gallery of Indonesia, Djirna recreates the unique essence of his studio by placing his installations within small rooms and in confined corners. He allows the audience an insight into the creative world of one Indonesia’s finest contemporary artists.

“My concern is to express reflections that go far deeper than what we can know with our panca indra (eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin). All of my work is a process that goes hand in hand with the demands of my soul. It is essentially a spiritual process taking visible pictorial shape,” Djirna.

'Benang Merah Bali - Basel" (The Red Thread From Bali to Basel) Made Djirna. 1993, mixed media on canvas, 145 x 245cm..JPG     Benang Merah Bali (the red thread from Bali to Basel) – Made Djirna, 1993

A versatile artist who loves to experiment with new materials, techniques and styles, from 2010 onwards Djirna reinterpreted his method of producing his paintings and the new works were highlighted in his exhibition Ubud 1963, (Re) Reading The Growth of Made Djirna, at the National Gallery of Indonesia, in Jakarta. The exhibition ran from 24 November through to 5 December 2012.

In this, Djirna’s eighth solo, retrospective exhibition, observers may take a brief sojourn through his creative development and witness the metamorphosis he has undergone. Mengenang Piramid (To Reminisce About the Pyramid),1994 and Kabut Hitam (Black Fog) 1994, are memoirs of his childhood experience of 1963. Both paintings are rendered in darkened acrylic hues with traces of red and white. These bleak abstract works convey anxiety and distress, evident in the facial expression in Piramid and the tension created by vigorously scored details into the body of the work. Kabut suggests architectural objects overcome by thick black clouds and bright red denotes volcanic flows and the horror of such a scenario.

"Wajah Wajah Mengambang" (Floating Faces) Made Djirna, 2008, oil on canvas, 295 x 380cm.      Wajah Wajah Mengambang (Floating Faces) – Made Djirna, 2008

Within his curatorial essay, senior Indonesian curator Jim Supangkat began by describing the extraordinary events of 1963 that had a catastrophic impact on Bali, as well as shaping the formative years of a young Djirna who was living just north of Ubud. Mount Agung in East Bali, the islands spiritual pinnacle, began its process of tremors in January, volcanic eruptions started in March and again in May and tremors then continued until its final blast in January 1964. This was an unprecedented year with extensive infrastructure damage, crop failures, wide-spread famines and many deaths, while also putting an immediate halt to tourism in Bali.

Born in Kedewatan, Ubud in 1957 Djirna was just 6 years old at the time of this event. He later went on to graduate from the Faculty of Fine Art and Design at the ISI (Indonesian Institute of Art) Yogyakarta in 1985 and spent 10 years living in the cultural capital of Java. He actively exhibits his works locally and internationally and is a member of the respected SDI, Sanggar Dewata Indonesia association of modern artists.

"Gajah Genit" (flirty Elephant) Made Djirna. 2012, mixed media on canvas, 260x400cm..JPG          “Gajah Genit” (Flirty Elephant), 260 x 400 cm, 2012 – Made Djirna

Among Djirna’s captivating new works exhibited in the National Gallery, Gajah Genit (Flirty Elephant), 260 x 400 cm, serves as a metaphor of a power crisis in the face of change. Djirna communicates the damages inflicted by power and domination via deforestation. Posing in jest, the “flirty elephant” stands confidently in defiance. Yet also he depicts a ruler’s demise by placing the image of a vulture on the elephant’s head.  He also symbolizes the dawn of a new era by depicting a dove on a stump of a tree. This intelligent work in rich blues, reds and greens is infused with humor that helps to resolve the seriousness of the alarming reality we face.

Upon his mixed media canvases of huge proportions (up to 350 x 400 cm) Djirna first applies a thick base of texture into which he scores his vast narratives, then adds color in rich metallic paint and finally contains all the characters within black lines. In a style reminiscent of the traditional Balinese paintings with the narrative covering the complete expanse of canvas, Djirna’s works take on modern narratives and issues that for the artist are very close to home.

Metamorfosis-2012      Metamorfosis (Metamorphosis), 260 x 400 cm, 2012 – Made Djirna

His recent use of metallic paints adds a wonderful luminous dimension, particularly when highlighted by artificial lighting. They are aesthetically spectacular not only because of the dynamic coloration, yet the scale of the works simply overwhelms. Some have taken Djirna more than 4 months to complete.

In Metamorfosis (Metamorphosis), 2012, 260 x 400 cm, two lovers embrace in the forest surrounded by hundreds of brightly colored butterflies, on the trunks of the trees are numerous large caterpillars. What may appear to be a simplistic narrative denoting change reveals the reality that life is full of paradoxes. Butterflies are natures symbol of grace, yet they become caterpillars which are destructive and are seen as pests. This is a creation of wonder and beauty, and it is here that Djirna’s brilliance shines through.

DSCF4366Installation by Made Djirna in the exhibition, “The Logic of Ritual” at Sangkring Art Gallery, Yogyakarta, 2013.

During his July, 2013 exhibition at Sangkring Art Space in Yogyakarta Djirna was prepared to bring his religion under close scrutiny. His paintings and installations in The Logic of Ritual were protests against numerous ritual practices, whose meaning, according to the artist, is now driven by modern and commercial practices.

Djirna criticises the consumption of money (his works utilise a countless number of Chinese coins used in Balinese rituals) in direct relation to the demands of Balinese Hindu religious rituals that are becoming increasingly glamorous, luxurious and festive. Such demands, while indeed granting communion between the devotee, the spirit world and Gods, may be perceived as rigid mechanisms, ultimately keeping the ‘little people’ poor.

He dedicated his exhibition to the plight of the impoverished of Bali, who suffer in silence while paying excessively for offerings and rituals that demand perfection both in the materials and presentation.

Djirna -the magic of ritual .jpg               The Logic of Ritual – Made Djirna, 2013

Djirna was invited to participate in the landmark 2016 Singapore Biennale – An Everywhere of Mirrorings at the Singapore Art Museum (SAM). His installation – Melampaui Batas (Beyond Boundaries) 2016, seeked to transcend the boundaries between the interior and the exterior, the microcosm and the macrocosm, along with the spiritual and the physical planes.

A fusion of different elements, it featured found objects, 1000 terracotta figurines representing humanity (the fragility of clay signifying the precarious nature of life), an antique traditional ironwood boat from Sulawesi –symbolic of journeying between Nusantara and the larger world and the worlds of the living and dead (in Balinese belief the boat carries the soul to its ancestral abode after death). Positioned in the corners of the room, large trees constructed from driftwood – its trunks and branches, some with crude primitive figure scribed into the wood, suggest fragments of other lives, cultures and civilizations.

Made Djirna "Melampaui Batas" 2016 Singpore Biennale .jpgMelampaui Batas (Beyond Boundaries) 2016 – Made Djirna, Singapore Biennale – An Everywhere of Mirrorings at the Singapore Art Museum.

The artist’s earlier works are categorized by naïve figurative and abstract expressions often rendering thick chunks of paint to create ambiguous forms with faces that reveal the darker emotions of the human experience. His strong earthy figures are a reminder of the past when life was simpler and with a greater connection to the environment.

What has remained consistent throughout Djirna’s career is his sense of unity within the collective experience and importance of the personal process while learning to endure the dualities of life.

“Through the personal development that is achieved by the inward journey of self-discovery, compassion, understanding and healing, we gain wisdom and strength. These are the tools which will support us during the journey of life.” Made Djirna’s expressions are intimate, honest and expose the heartfelt emotions of the human experience. They convey a profound sense of authenticity.

Djirna is currently working on a large installation for the Jakarta Biennale in November 2017.

Rimba-2011                        Rimba, 2011 – Made Djirna

Mixed Media on board, 210x70cm, 2007.                Installation by Made Djirna at his Ubud studio, 2007

DSCF4389.JPG                  Painting from The Logic of Ritual – Made Djirna, 2013

Words & Images: Richard Horstman

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

 

 

 

ART|JOG|10 – Changing Perspective

RJ Katamsi WIP 5Yogyakarta artists work on the R.J Katamsi statue, a project designed and overseen by Wahyu Santoso, honouring the artist, and one of the founders, and the president director of Akademi Seni Rupa Indonesia (ASRI), the first fine arts campus in Indonesia, opened in 1950 (now known as ISI). The work will be erected at the historical JNM, the original ASRI site.

 

A milestone in Indonesian art will be celebrated in May during the Grand Opening of ART|JOG|10, marking a decade in the ART|JOG journey, beginning 19 May at the Jogja National Museum (JNM). Themed: Changing Perspective, the fair will exhibit immerging and established artists side-by-side, while featuring some of Indonesia’s hottest contemporary talent.

An initiative born from the collective will of the Yogyakarta art community, ART|JOG’s significance is its model: a supporting and promotional platform for artists, not galleries, introducing fresh names to the market. The vision of Heri Pemad, who through his support of the local art scene starting some 20 years ago developed strong relationships of trust within the community, the springboard for bigger and brighter things.

"Floating Eyes" Wedhar Riyadi, Jogja National Museum front entry. Image by Richard HorstmanART|JOG|10 2017 commissioned art work “Floating Eyes” by Yogyakarta artist Wedhar Riyadi, at the front facade of the Jogja National Museum.

“ART | JOG has grown quickly since 2008, when it was Jogja Art Fair (JAF). From 2009 we included curators, selected special themes, and artists, and commissioned artists to remodel the façade of the building, originally Taman Budaya Yogyakarta. Wanting to create an international event, in 2010 we renamed it ART | JOG,” said CEO and founder of ART|JOG Heri Pemad.

“We attracted more and more international visitors in 2011 due to increasingly widespread publication, and began inviting international artists for special presentations. From 2012 our curatorial themes evolved. In short, ART | JOG has grown along with the development of the art world itself, because it has presented the development of artwork from Indonesia and the world.”

A Decade of ArtJog's Journey. Image Richard Horstman                                    A decade of ART|JOG’s journey

With a keen eye for the artist’s needs, Pemad launched Heri Pemad Art Management (HPAM) in 2004, an organization that evolved out of his personalized art services. HPAM has since played a defining role in the development of Indonesian contemporary art. This year ART|JOG|10 will exhibit over 120 artworks; 2 & 3 dimensional works, installations, videos, site-specific objects, and performances.

ART|JOG is the anchor event for the Jogja Art Weeks, a month long abundance of openings and events around the Yogyakarta Special Regency, which has developed into an art and cultural tourism boon, attracting national and international art lovers, industry insiders, and collectors.

20170519_125233                                   Poor Yorick – Ichwan Noor

“We have selected 73, national and international artists, this year, via our Open Call Application, whether by invitation, or those who self-applied,” said ART|JOG|10 co-curator Ignatia Nilu. “Our selection process is not only based on the compatibility between the artwork and curatorial concept, but also the presentation method, and the freshness of the artistic concept.” Nilu adds, “The Open Call program is an unsurpassed way to scout the best young talent.”

ART|JOG|10’s main program includes the exhibition by Indonesian, and also artists from Singapore, Japan, England, USA and Australia. Some of the local names showing are Angki Purbandono in collaboration with Nicholas Saputra, Agus Suwage, I Nyoman Masriadi, Tromarama and Agan Harahap. This year’s Commissioned Works are by Wedhar Riyadi, a young Yogyakarta artist, presenting his balloons installation, decorated with eye icons, transforming the main facade of JNM.

20170519_125333.jpg                   Souvenir from Tangahan – Angki Purbandono

“Through the theme, Changing Perspectives: The Challenge For The Artist, we dare the artists to take a fresh look at how they work from various point of views,” said Bambang “Toko” Witjaksono, of the curatorial team. “Not only from technical aspect, but also the interpretation, to hopefully enhance, and achieve beyond what we have had, and have experienced to now.”

A new and special highlight of ART|JOG|10 is The Making Of The Statue Of R.J Katamsi, a 2.5 bronze made in conjunction with Wahyu Santoso. The statue honours the artist, and one of the founders, and the president director of Akademi Seni Rupa Indonesia (ASRI), the first fine arts campus in Indonesia, opened in 1950 (now known as ISI). The work will be erected at the historical JNM, the original ASRI site.

20170519_125429                                   Dasar – Rudi Mantofani

The event’s Supporting Program includes an Open Air Cinema, a collaboration with Jogja-Netpac Asian Film Festival (JAFF). The Young Artist Award, an award for the best young participating artists under 33 years old or below. Jogja Art Weeks, a publication providing comprehensive information about art and cultural happenings in Yogyakarta from May-June, (the free guide book will enhance the visitor experience, while being an essential supportive platform for the art tourism program), and the Merchandise Project has invited 20 artists, including Eko Nugroho, Papermoon Theatre, Oky Rey Montha, Farid Stevy, and Bob Sick Yudhita to create special buyables.

For ART|JOG|10 VIP guests the special preview on 19 May begins 5 hours prior to the exhibition officially opens.

Supporting Program Time & Dates:

Curatorial Tours: Saturday, 27 May & 10 June, 3 PM, Sunday, 4 & 18 June, 3 PM.

Meet The Artists: Sunday 28 May & 11 June, 3 PM, Santurday, 3 & 17 June, 3 PM.

Open Air Cinema: Tuesday 23 & 30 May, 6 & 13 June, 7:30 PM.

ASRI Tours: Tueday 6 & 13 June, 3 PM.

20170519_130238                              Be Ready – Nyoman Masriadi

ART|JOG|10

Open from 7pm 19 May

Continuing through to 19 June 2017

Daily from 9am – 5pm

Jogja National Museum

Jalan Prof. Ki Amri Yahya No. 1, Yogyakarta

www.artjog.co.id

Words: Richard Horstman

Images: Courtesy ArtJog10 & Richard Horstman

20170519_132451Study of convex and concave by M.C Escher, 1955 – Agung Prabowo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sutjipto Adi

'Lotuses 5', mixed media on canvas, 2009.                                         Lotus #5, 2009 – Sutjipto Adi

In 1987, thirty-year old East Javanese artist Sutjipto Adi, exhibited paintings at TIM Jakarta Cultural Center, in his second solo show. Sophisticated and highly articulate, Adi’s visionary compositions revealed an extraordinary talent that was to capture the attention of the Indonesian contemporary art world.

Combining meticulous drawing with realism painting techniques, Adi’s symbols, figures, and forms, rendered upon a framework of geometrical designs, come alive in compositions that are mysterious, and futuristic. Within his works the visual information often resonates out from one central point – distinct lines emanating from the canvas’ core – while other lines, both vertical and horizontal, create grids of triangular, fragmented portions. What appear like kaleidoscope visions are in fact perfectly balanced compositions achieved through the execution of a clever and systematic, visual formula.

Sutjipto Adi and unknown character 1987 solo exhibition TIM Jakarta                         Sutjipto Adi 1987, TIM Jakarta

Otherworldly scenarios reveal abstract forms, spherical, planet like objects, and enigmatic symbols floating within interstellar backdrops. The artist often depicts himself in various stages of life: from the embryonic, to the baby, and then the adult. Adi’s paintings are insights into the enigmatic nature of life and its place within the order of the cosmos.

“My work reflects my quest for meaning in the perfection of human life. They simply mirror life itself, while underlining the fact that there is much more going on than meets the eye,” Adi says.

Gifted with unique ability, and a powerfully inquisitive mind, Adi, who was born in 1957, was raised in a multi-religious family in Jember. His mother a follower of the Catholic faith, his father a Buddhist, while his brother a Muslim. Religion is one of the significant forces that shape the Indonesian cultural discourse, yet spirituality is the key dynamic within Adi’s life journey, and how he constructs his worldview.

Work in Progress 2017 - Sutjipto Adi                            Work in Progressive 2017 – Sutjipto Adi

“From an early age I practiced my own techniques of exercise and meditation, yet it was not a traditional style of yoga, rather a personal act that achieved strong feelings. Later I chose to bring the Buddhism doctrines into my life. Not because I believed it to be a superior religion,” to the contrary, the artist said, “I was allowed to feel a personal sense of harmony.”

After studying art at the Indonesian Fine Art School, Adi then continued on at the Indonesian Fine Art Academy (ASRI), in Yogyakarta, Central Java from 1977–1981. “In 1986 I relocated to the Island of the Gods, sensing the ‘spirit of Bali’ as a safe and fertile realm for my continued creative development, and stimulus.”

Living in Bali proved to be a perfect environment for the artists’ deep and reflective nature. His stoic work ethic balanced, while immersed within the Balinese culture, and the creative energy that island is internationally renown. In 1991 Adi’s third solo exhibition was held in Ubud. He continued to exhibit consistently in national and international group exhibitions, and with leading galleries in Jakarta.

'Lotuses 3', 2009, mixed media on canvas.                              Lotus #3, 2008 – Sutjipto Adi

Along with other artists during the 1990’s Adi was one of the forerunners of a new realism movement that was evolving within Indonesian contemporary art. Photography became a crucial part of his technique. A special part of his process, however, is to travel, experience, be still, and observe.

“Meditation not only gives us the light of insight, but also the power for expansive change,” Adi says. “By having faith in our spiritual journey we both may learn and will be provided the tools to steer us through the physical and non-physical labyrinths that encompass us all.”

A strong sense of innovation has driven Adi’s artistic development, he incorporated digital art collage, and the use of pencil in his works well prior to his fellow contemporaries. His depiction of iconic characters such as John Lennon, the Dalai Lama, and Buddhist monks as central subjects in the compositions occurred well before it became a national trend.

'Reincarnation', circa 1985, mixed media on canvas,                               Reincarnation, 1985 – Sutjipto Adi

His process of self-discovery is reflected in the changing colors Adi has utilized during his career. His work is witness to his transformation of spirit; his darker colors during his younger days reflect an unsettled conscience in the process of self-analysis. Lighter, and brighter colors mirrors the easing of internal tensions during his personal growth.

Unlike other Asian cultures, Indonesian art does not have a tradition of drawing. Lead, charcoal, pastel and colored pencils, for the past two decades, have become Adi’s exclusive mediums of choice. The technique he chooses is not only the application of line to give structure and form, rather a method influenced from photographic images, to build form via the subtle, and painstaking use of line to suggest elements of skin tone, facial and body features.

WALK TO FREEDOM 2010                        Long Walk to Freedom, 2010 – Sutjipto Adi

“Within the mind of the photographer, second-by- second, essential elements come together,” Adi says. “Composition, lighting, character, and sensitivity for the object, all fuse within an instance, to capture a special moment. ”

Photography has had an unparalleled impact on modern and contemporary realism art, as well as Sutjipto Adi’s. His drawing technique bursts into life with the inclusion of bright colors and hues from colored pencils and pastels. While the majority of Indonesian contemporary art draws it techniques and themes from outside and the West, Adi is unique within the canons of Indonesian art. If you travel abroad to see the finest museum collections of modern and contemporary art, such a technique cannot be found.

Profile - Sutjipto Adi                                             Sutjipto Adi 2010, Ubud, Bali

In his depictions of the human form Adi deliberately presents both the old and the young side-by-side; a tiny baby contrasted with an elderly monk, or his young son positioned along with himself. While its important to include the iconic figures, he too includes the other ‘heroes’ – the normal, everyday people, and the poor, who endure, and soldier on through life.

“My intention is to present these figures as archetypes of faith,” Adi says. The metaphors he conveys are an essential message about life itself.   “The youth of today’s world require good role models, fine examples of behavior, moral courage, and strength to successfully ‘navigate’ the journey of life.”

As he has matured Sutjipto Adi’s paintings have become less esoteric, and easier to read, yet always ‘speak’ of the human spirit. They are profound, and important messages of hope.

Sutjipto Adi-02.jpg

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Exotic, 93 x 64 cm, 2008                                      Exotic, 2008 – Sutjipto Adi

 

Words & Images: Richard Horstman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bali Artists’ Camp 2016 Exhibition

Made Budhiana "Badak Taman Ujung Karangasem"                Badak Taman Ujung Karangasem – Made Budhiana

Impressions of some of Bali’s most important archeological sites, the 11th century Gunung Kawi temple in Tampaksiring, and the stone reliefs at Yeh Pulu in Bedulu, along with dramatic landscapes depictions from remote East Bali, went on display at the Bali Artists’ Camp 2016 Exhibition.

Open from 8 April – May 22 at the Made Budhiana Gallery, Ubud, and featuring more than 30 paintings, sketches, and installations by local and foreign artists, the exhibition marks the fifth year of engagement between the Northern Territory of Australia and Bali, and Eastern Indonesia.

Gede Gunada "Yeh Pulu"                                       Yeh Pulu – Gede Gunada

An art and cultural engagement that began in 2012, the Bali Artists’ Camp’s vision evolves around engagement with the landscape, nature, and the rich Balinese culture. The event brings together artists from Bali and Indonesia, with their counter parts from Australia, and other foreign countries, to visit inspiring sites throughout Bali, to work on location in a visual art and cross-cultural exchange exercise.

The fruits of the 2016 Bali Artists’ Camp, themed engagement with monumental Bali, produced on separate occasions in May, June, July and September 2016 (collectively a period of seven weeks), will be displayed until 22 May. The vibrant collection includes works by renown Balinese artists Made Budhiana, along with Made Sudibia and Gede Gunada from Bali, and paintings by Freddy Sitorus, born in South Sulawesi, and East Javanese painter Nanik Suryani.

Nanik Suryani "Gunung Kawi"                                       Gunung Kawi – Nanik Suryani

The foreign artist’s contributions reflect different artistic approaches and backgrounds, Japanese artist Rie Mandala’s offerings are delicate works in ink on paper. Well-known Australian artist Michael Downs’ compositions have both surreal and abstract sensibilities, fellow countryman Ivor Cole prefers to works in oil, in his realism paintings, while Australian Mary Lou Pavlovic’s presentations are forged from an array of media, including timber and plastic, with the addition of paint and other decorative media.

Ivor Cole said of his experience, “the cultural divide between the artists is quickly wiped away. There is no separation, we are here to absorb and translate the best we can through the visual image, the emotional, spiritual state of this place and this time.”

Ivor Cole                                        Puri Prima – Ivor Cole

“The Northern Territory – Indonesia relationship has a long history of trade and cultural exchange,” said Michael Gunner, the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory, who is one of the co sponsors of the event.

“For hundreds of years trade and cultural exchange flourished between the Macassans (people from present day Sulawesi and related islands) and aboriginals of the Northern Territory. Since the birth of the Republic of Indonesia, and the attainment of Self- Government for the Northern Territory in 1978, there has been an increased focus on acknowledging and strengthening our economic, cultural and social ties within the region,” Gunner adds.

Made Sudibia - "Perwujdudan Dewi Kesuburan"                                 Perwududan Dewi – Made Sudibia

“I had the honor of traveling through the lush tropical landscape with the local artists visiting spectacular temples and monuments,” Mary Lou Pavlovic said. “And I was struck by how close to nature the Balinese and Indonesian artists were, everywhere we went they knew all the fruit and medicinal herbs. I realized although I long to feel this affinity with nature, I am not from a culture that exists in the same way with nature.”

The Bali Artists’ Camp compliments the Artists’ Camp art engagement project run in alternative years by the Northern Center For Contemporary Art (NCCA) in Darwin.      “The Artists’ Camp involves Balinese and Indonesian artists traveling to the Top End of the Northern Territory and interpreting its rugged and diverse landscape, together with an artistic and cultural interaction with Aboriginal artists,” said the founder of the Made Budhiana Gallery, Australian Colin MacDonald.

Michael Downs "Gambelan Landscape"                           Gambelan Landscape – Michael Downs

“The camp started as a concept with the original Director of Museums and Art Galleries in the Northern Territory (MAGNT), Dr Colin Jack Hinton back in 1978.” MacDonald, the former Director and Chairman of the Board of MAGNT, developed the concept further when he took Balinese artist Made Budhiana to the NT to participate in the first international Artists’ Camp, along with Australian and Malaysian artists in 1990.

The vision of the ten-year program of the Artists’ Camp is that the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory, the Australian Prime Minister and the Indonesian President will open a touring exhibition at the Australian National Gallery that will include the first retrospective of the Australian-Indonesian artists’ engagement.

Study for a Monument of Flowers             Study for a Monument of Flowers – May Lou Pavlovic

 

The Bali Governor, Made Pastika, who is also a supporter of the event, will visit the exhibition in early May to meet the artists, and to be presented works by the artists.

This project has had the on-going and enthusiastic support from the Indonesian Foreign Affairs Department, the Australia Indonesia Institute and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs, especially successive Australian Consul Generals.

20170414_085327                                    Batur – Gede Gunada

Made Budhiana Gallery

Villa Pandan Harum

Jl. Anak Agung Gede Rai

Banjar Abian Semal

Gang Pandan Harum

Lotonduh, Ubud

Tel: 0361 981624

Words & Images: Richard Horstman