Category Archives: Southeast Asian Art

Previewing the Larasati Traditional, Modern & Contemporary Art Auction in Ubud, 16 Febuary 2019

Ketut Teja Astawa "Untitled"                                       Untitled – Ketut Teja Astawa

 

Balinese contemporary artist Ketut Teja Astawa (b.1971) has experimented with the iconography from the Classical Balinese Kamasan paintings for more than twenty years. He reinterprets the imagery with his own innovations configuring wonderful compositions, often humorous, and with a strong sense of spontaneity. His signature style has become one of the most recognizable, and important recent developments in Balinese contemporary art.

Untitled, Lot 555, by Astawa, with an estimated price of between Rp 30 – 40 million, is just one of 77 items of fine art for sale in the upcoming Larasati Traditional, Modern & Contemporary Art auction on Saturday 16 February at the Larasati Art Space in Ubud, Bali.

Nyoman Kayun "Keluarga di Desa"                                       Keluarga di Desa – Nyoman Kayun

 

In an array of media including sketches in ink on paper, watercolour, gouache and aquarelle works on paper, acrylic and oil paintings on canvas, colour prints, and a lithograph, the auction features works by distinguished Balinese and international artists including Gusti Nyoman Lempad, Ida Bagus Made Poleng, Gusti Ketut Kobot, Nyoman Gunarsa, Arie Smit, Miguel Covarrubias and Donald Friend. The sale has buying opportunities for beginners, as well as seasoned connoisseurs, and mid level collectors.

Two of the highlights are Lot 513, Outriggers Bali by the renowned Australian artist and diarist who lived in Bali from 1968 until1980, Donald Friend (1914 – 1989). This striking 47 x 63 cm pen, ink, gouache and gold leaf composition on paper featuring 3 traditional sailing boats on the ocean comes with an estimated price of between Rp 85 – 95 million. Village Scene in Batuan, 1968, Lot 541, is a vibrant, playful composition by one of the most popular Batuan traditional painters, Ida Bagus Made Widja (1912-1992). This 42 x 82.5 acrylic on canvas work with dynamic coloration has an estimated price of between Rp 65 – 80 million.

Donald Friend "Outriggers Bali"                                      Outriggers Bali – Donald Friend

 

For new collectors with smaller budgets the following works offer good entry points into the market, especially if purchased within their estimated prices. Dasa Muka, Lot 525 is an excellent composition featuring mythological characters from the Balinese religious narratives by Gusti Nyoman Moleh and comes with an estimated price Rp 12 – 15 million. Lot 526, Bima ke Suarga Loka by the renowned painter of the unconventional Dewa Putu Mokoh (1913 – 2010) comes with an estimated price of between Rp 15 – 20 million, and Lot 559 Balinese Temple, by Kartika Affandi (b. 1934), the daughter of Indonesia’s first modern master Affandi (1907 – 1990) which has an estimated value of between Rp 14 – 18 million.

The following works will capture the attention of connoisseurs of Balinese traditional art. Nyoman Kayun (b. 1954) is considered one of the last living masters of the Ubud School of traditional painting and his compositions often depict old oral traditional folktales that are transmitted verbally through songs. Lot 520, Keluarga di Desa by Kayun has an estimated price of between Rp 35 – 45 million and comes with good provenance. Gembala Sapi. Lot 523 by Wayan Radjin (b.1945) the son of the celebrated Batuan artist Made Djata (1920 – 2001) has an estimated price of between Rp 55 – 75 million.

541                               Village Scene in BatuanIda Bagus Made Widja

 

Ida Bagus Made Poleng (1915-1999) was born in the village of Tebesaya, Ubud and was considered the finest of all of the Balinese traditional painters. His paintings, which he referred to as ‘his children’, are in high demand. Lot 524 Mandi di Pancuran, a 49 x 32 cm acrylic on canvas composition depicting two men bathing has an estimated price of between Rp 130 – 180 million. In charming, glowing reddish tones, Lot 543, Nonton Wayang by Ida Bagus Made Nadera (1915 – 1998) features a crowd of villagers watching a wayang kulit performance and comes with an estimated price of between Rp. 30 – 40 million.

An unusual item on offer, Lot 510, Rice Granary, Bali, a 36 x 28cm lithograph by Mexican artist Miguel Covarrubias (1904 -1957) comes with good provenance. Covarrubias was a gifted caricaturist and illustrator who wrote the landmark 1937 cultural and social study on Bali, Island of Bali. This work has with an estimated price of between Rp 10 – 13 million.

Ida Bagus Made Nadera," Nonton Wayang", 95x125cm, acrylic on canvas. - Copy                          Nonton WayangIda Bagus Made Nadera

 

Buying art as an investment is possible with the right strategy and this includes purchasing and holding a work for at least 10 – 20 years before selling. Three opportunities are available in the genre of Balinese contemporary art, including the aforementioned Lot 555, by Teja Astawa. Made Palguna has also developed his own ‘voice’ that is distinct within the sphere of Balinese contemporary art. Lot 553, Mencari Orang-orang Marjinal, 2003 by Palguna comes with an estimated price of between Rp 18 – 24 million. The final item for auction, Lot 577, comprises of two paintings, a. Energiku Bertambah, 2003, 70 x 70 cm & b. Malam Bergelora, 2001, 26 x 30 cm, by the iconic Balinese female artist IGAK Murniasih (1966-2006) who raised issues of sexuality, identity and gender politics in her works. These provocative paintings have an estimated price of between Rp 35 – 45 million.

There are many other strong works available in this auction, two are by the renowned traditional painter Gusti Ketut Kobot (1917-1999 Pengosekan, Ubud), Lot 531 Jatayu and Lot 527, Scene from Rajapala Story, while Lot 528, The Witch and the Servant, an ink on paper sketch by Gusti Nyoman Lempad has excellent provenance. For collectors interested in Indonesian modern art there are good works available by artists Widayat, Soedarso and Soedibio.

527                             Scene from Rajapala Story – Gusti Ketut Kobot

 

Potential buyers bidding over the phone, absentee bidders or real-time Internet bidders who are unable to attend the previews days or auction are advised to contact Larasati and enquire about the colour reproduction accuracy of the images contained within the online catalogue to ensure that what they wish to purchase can be realistically appraised. The absence of reference to the condition of a lot in the catalogue description does not imply that the lot is free from faults or imperfections, therefore condition reports of the works, outlining the paintings current state and whether it has repairs or over painting, are available upon request.

Provenance, the historical data of the works previous owner/s is also important and is provided. An information guide including before the auction, during the auction and after the auction details, including conditions of business, the bidding process, payment, storage and insurance, and shipping of the work is also available. A buyer’s premium is payable by the buyer of each lot at rate of 22% of the hammer price of the lot.

Dewa Putu Mokoh "Bima ke Suarga Loka"                             Bima ke Suarga Loka Dewa Putu Mokoh

 

Open to the public at the Larasati Art Space in the Tebesaya Gallery the auction starts at 2:30 pm Saturday 16 February, while viewing begins from 11am Thursday. The online catalogue, complete with a guide for prospective buyers is available at: www.larasati.com

 

Ida Bagus Made - "Mandi di Pancuran"                          Mandi di Pancuran – Ida Bagus Made Poleng

 

 

Viewing:

Thursday,         14 February   11am – 7.30pm

Friday,              15 January     11am – 7.30pm

Saturday,         16 January     11am – 1pm

Auction: Saturday 16 February, from 2:30 pm

Larasati Bali Art Space at Tebesaya Gallery

Jalan Jatayu, Banjar Tebesaya, Peliatan,

Ubud, Gianyar Bali, Indonesia

 

Words: Richard Horstman

Images Courtesy: Larasati Auctioneers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Aswino Aji’s artistic observations of the ego in the face of the Balinese culture

Artist Made Aswino Aji & "Doors of Perception" Image R. HorstmanBalinese contemporary artist Made Aswino Aji and his work “Doors of Perception”

 

An acute sense of observation is an essential talent for a contemporary artist. The ability to scrutinize and reflect on one’s own conduct and thoughts, along with that of the collective, is a doorway to art rich in meaning.

For more than a decade Balinese artist Made Aji Aswino has been an avid onlooker and critic of the human character and behavior, especially what he has witnessed within his own society. His sketches, paintings, sculptures and installations focus upon the pitfalls of the human ego.

Painting by Made Aswino Aji Image R Horstman                                   Painting by Made Aswino Aji

 

Initially his paintings were dark and moody depictions featuring a central figure with an elongated nose that made reference to the tale of Pinocchio. A fictional character and the protagonist of the children’s novel The Adventures of Pinocchio written in 1883 in Italy by Carlo Collodi, then brought to life in popular culture in the 1940’s by Walt Disney, the tale describes when the child, Pinocchio, tells a lie, his nose consequently grows. Aswino Aji utilizes Pinocchio as a metaphor for the human condition, because, says the artist, “We often tell lies, and bend the truth.”

During the landmark 2013 exhibition “Irony In Paradise” by the Balinese art collective Sanggar Dewata Indonesia (SDI) at Ubud’s Agung Rai Museum of Art, Aswino Aji exhibited an eye-catching and imaginative sculpture that was highly critical of his Balinese culture. He adopted the topic that had been the focus of his paintings and sketches, this, however, was his first thematic venture within the 3 dimensional form.

Made Aswino Aji, "Under the Shades 2", 2013, mixed media                             Under the Shade, 2013 – Made Aswino Aji

 

Under the Shade” featured the head of a Pinocchio like-figure carved from wood with a long nose extending out and upwards to form the pedestal for a Balinese religious ceremonial umbrella, which was positioned above his head. A controversial work, such direct criticisms of the local culture are rarely seen within Balinese art. When commenting about the work Aswino Aji said, “Many Balinese Hindu people live under the shade of their own culture while behaving contrary to its philosophies.”

In the most important international exhibition of Balinese contemporary art in 2016 that showcased the finest emerging talent of Bali, “Crossing: Beyond Baliseering, held in December at FortyFive Downstairs Gallery in Melbourne, Australia, Aswino Aji exhibited the monumental wood carving installation, “Doors of Perception”. Spanning four meters wide, by two and half meters high, his representation of a traditional doorway into a Balinese house created over a six-month period. It featured eerie figurines and faces of monsters that are his representations of the darker elements of the ego. Included also were some of the typical iconography to be found in traditional Balinese carvings.

Detail of "Doors of Perception" Made Aswino Aji. Photo R. Horstman                                 Detail of “Doors of Perception”

 

The vibrantly painted creatures adorned the work along with his Pinocchio character – a reflection on the pretensions and lies of everyday Balinese society the artist witnesses.The dynamic colours of the outside of the entrance represented varieties of ‘disorderly’ human personalities, while the inner side of “Doors of Perception” reflected life’s dualities, painted in subdued monochromes and representing the ‘peaceful’ personalities.

Ego Invasion”, 2018, Aswino Aji’s most recent installation is themed upon the candi (Balinese temple gates) and is a commissioned art work for Soundrenaline – Soul of Expression GWK Bali, 8-9 September 2018, a music and youth cultural event held at the GWK Cultural Park in Jimbaran. Created within a whirlwind one-month period at his studio, Aswino Aji employed wood carvers from his family in Silakarang village, Gianyar to help carve the icons and build the structure. With dimensions measuring over three meters high by three meters wide, one of the strengths of this work was in its design, engineered to be simply and quickly dismantled and reinstalled.

Detail of "Doors of Perception" Image R. Horstman                                   Detail of “Doors of Perception”

 

According to the Balinese Hindu belief system outside the temple the ego is free to be expressed with individual autonomy, once a person passes through the temple gates, however, the ego must be disciplined and restrained. This practice, according to the artist, is being ignored. “The ego can be our greatest enemy, or our dearest friend. In daily life man often plays with his ego, its dualities can be mutually supportive,” Aswino Aji says. “Sometimes the ego’s self righteousness dominates, while other times it remains hidden away. In my minds eye the ego is a monster – man is a monster!”

Born in 1977 in Silakarang, Aswino Aji is the son of the wood carver, renowned contemporary artist and gallerist Wayan Sika. Following in his father’s footsteps he studied fine art at ISI Yogyakarta, the Indonesian Institute of Art in Central Java, were he resided for five years. Aswino Aji has taken authentic motifs, patterns and forms from traditional architecture and sculpture and has presented them within the contemporary art realm, while making relevant social statements. In doing so he has made new inroads in Balinese woodcarving and an important contribution to the development of Balinese contemporary art.

"Ego Invasion" 2018 Made Aswino Aji. Photo R. Horstman                             “Ego Invasion”, 2018 – Made Aswino Aji

 

"Ego Invasion" 2018 Made Aswino Aji. Image R. Horstman                                   Detail of “Ego Invasion”

 

 

Words: Richard Horstman

Photos: Richard Horstman

 

 

 

 

 

 

Balinese artists the highlight of “Selematan Masa Depan” – an exhibition of emerging Indonesian artists in Bali

Art works by Budi Agung Kuswara - Image courtesy of Heri Pemad Bali Balinese Baroque (Discovery Toward Invention), 2018 & Time After Time (Discovery Toward Invention), 2018 by Budi Agung Kuswara

 

Presenting works by some of the finest emerging Indonesian contemporary artists over a one month period, Selematan Masa Depan (A Celebration of the Future) closed 15 January 2019 at the AB•BC Building, Bali Collection Nusa Dua, Bali.

Curators Rifky Effendy and Ignatia Nilu selected forty-seven artists from Bandung (10 artists), Yogyakarta (17) and Bali (20) who contributed a diverse array of seventy-four works in 2 and 3-dimensional forms – sketches, paintings, prints, sculptures, installations, video art and new media art. In the follow-up to the Art • Bali ‘Beyond the Myths’, the exhibition highlighted some of the talent that is currently pushing the boundaries of Indonesian contemporary art.

ART01157Exhibition view of Selematan Masa Depan (A Celebration of the Future) at the AB•BC Building, Bali Collection Nusa Dua, Bali.

 

While such exhibitions that display the contemporary artistic talent from Bali side-by-side with their counterparts from throughout Indonesia may be seen in Java, in Bali these occasions are, unfortunately, too infrequent. Importantly, this allows opportunities for young local artists, students and creatives, who have Internet connectivity and can access the ‘larger art world’, yet may not have the chances to travel outside of Bali, to personally observe some the developments and future direction of the national scene.

Opened by Bali’s new governor Wayan Koster 15 December 2018, Selematan Masa Depan is the second of a series of regular events at the AB•BC Building, which will help to define the location as one of the island’s foremost contemporary art venues, while becoming a new art and creative destination within the ITDC Nusa Dua tourism precinct. The Indonesia Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) Nusa Dua is a designated location with tourism facilities and many of the island’s largest five-star resorts.

Sketches by Satya Cipta - images courtesy of the artist.                           Chinese ink sketches on paper  by Satya Cipta

 

“Balinese artists contributed some of the strongest works in the exhibition,” said well-known art critic Jean Couteau. “Especially Satya Cipta, Citra Sasmita and Budi Agung Kuswara.”

In Balinese Baroque (Discovery Toward Invention) 2018 and Time After Time (Discovery Toward Invention) 2018 by Budi Agung Kuswara, the artist experiments with the cyanotype technique, a photographic printing process that produces a cyan-blue print onto the paper with sunlight, along with archive photos and cultural items to produce aesthetically unique, and beautiful images.

“His works are highlighted by innovative visual framing, kind of pop art, yet visually refreshing and intellectually articulated around the memory theme,” said Couteau. Budi represents the vanguard of emerging contemporary artists in Bali today.

CITRA SASMITA - METAMORPHOSIS(The Flowers of Carnage) 2018 Acrylic and Oil on Canvas, Image courtesy of the artist          Metamorphosis (The Flowers of Carnage) 2018, by Citra Sasmita

 

Satya Cipta, who has recently captured the attention of the Balinese art world with her premiere solo exhibition A Budding Talent at Ubud’s Puri Lukisan Museum late 2018, presents four beautifully balanced Chinese ink sketches on paper. Drawing is the basic fundamental of Balinese traditional art, and her combination of drawing techniques with modern gender political themes are an exciting, recent development on the Bali art scene. “Satya’s wild exploration of a woman’s demand for control over her own body is formulated in a revamped, imaginative post-traditional line style similar to Gusti Lempad,” said Couteau.

Metamorphosis (The Flowers of Carnage) 2018, by Citra Sasmita, in her characteristic style of minimal iconography, also ‘speaks’ of gender politics, while communicating through an array of symbols. “In my new painting I adopt nature and nurturing symbols such as stone, cactus, a knife and scissors, a placenta and cloth with gold rose patterns,” Citra said. “I want to visualize to the current generation that they should be aware of, and protect their roots and traditions, for the benefit of the next generation. The future will mean nothing if the next generation do not have any idea about their past and history, and also the philosophies.”

ART01117Exhibition view of Selematan Masa Depan (A Celebration of the Future) at the AB•BC Building, Bali Collection Nusa Dua, Bali.

 

“Citra’s painting is a highlight because she explores and denounces macho vocabulary, and for her feminist statement,” Couteau said.

Selamatan Masa Depan enjoyed increased attendance numbers than the Art • Bali 2018 event because of the tourist high season, and more international and domestic visitors and locals visiting the venue,” said Army Firmansyah, one of the board members of Art • Bali and the AB•BC Building, part of the Heri Pemad Art Management Bali Team.

“Located in the Bali Collection shopping area many visitors see the sculptors and installations outside of the AB•BC Building, become curious and come in. Attendance numbers are important to us because the ticketed entry has to support our event operation costs.”

Putu Wirantawan - "Dimensi Dualitas" - pencil bollpoint on paper (115x141 cm) 2018Putu Wirantawan -Dimensi Dualitas, 2018 – pencil bollpoint on paper by Balinese artist Putu Wirantawan

 

“The idea of contemporary art and creative events as a tourism attraction is new to this area and while foreign tourists are happy to pay entry fees, we have to help change the mind-set and behaviour of domestic visitors to go alternative ticketed cultural events, rather than recreational venues and movies, for example.”

“The management of the AB•BC Building have many challenges to engage with in building the brand of this multifaceted creative space – inclusive within the Bekraf (Agency for Creative Economy Indonesia) vision for the development of the Indonesian creative economy that includes cuisine, design, architecture, and art themed events.”

“As for up coming events in 2019, we are now in progress of preparing 3 shows (including ART • BALI 2019 in October) which will be produced by HPAM. Those shows are in addition to one art exhibition that we are still in discussions with the organizer” he adds.

ART01246Exhibition view of Selematan Masa Depan (A Celebration of the Future) at the AB•BC Building, Bali Collection Nusa Dua, Bali.

 

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Words: Richard Horstman

Images courtesy: Heri Pemad Art Management Bali Team

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Satya Cipta – the rise of a unique female Balinese talent

Satya Cipta "Fragrance" 2018, chinese ink & kencu on paper Image Richard Horstman                                  Fragrance, 2018 – Satya Cipta                       

 

A beautiful, naked woman with long flowing hair sits legs raised, feet positioned above her head. In her left hand she is holding a red lotus flower concealing her groin. “Fragrance” an intimate, yet daring sketch by Balinese artist Satya Cipta ‘speaks’ of the feminine physical, and worldly splendour, and according to the artist, a woman’s desire to be perceived as one of nature’s most beautiful gifts.

“Broken Vulva”, on the other hand, is in stark contrast. It illustrates a woman ripping open her vagina, while a symbol of red fire is cited between her legs. This is a depiction of violence.

Satya Cipta "Broken Vulva" 2018 chinese ink & kencu on paper                                  Broken Vulva, 2018 – Satya Cipta

 

Explicit images of the body are in no way considered by the Balinese as vulgar or pornographic, they are essential teachings about the mysteries of human life and its origins. While male sexuality is openly explored in Balinese art, few artists are willing to expose female sexuality – the violence and suffering – as Satya has done.

In “A Budding Talent”, which closed 16 November 2018 at Ubud’s Puri Lukisan emerging artist Satya Cipta, in her first solo exhibition reveals the pleasure and pain, and the horror and beauty that are constant realities for the women of the Balinese culture.

In her semiotic works she juxtaposes themes such as resentment, marriage without love, adultery and rape with fertility, intimacy, solitude and passionate love. And while it is the complexity of her compositions, enhanced by the distinct power of her lines that reveal the aesthetic beauty of her works, like a poison pen the line is contrasted with wildly imaginative narratives. Some are not for the faint-hearted – they convey what is considered taboo within Balinese art.

Satya Cipta "The Offering" 2017 chinese ink, water color, acrylic and gold on canvas Image Richard Horstman                              The Offering, 2018 – Satya Cipta                          

 

An outsider within her own culture Satya’s situation is unlike many Balinese. Born in Lombok she came to Bali at a young age, then later moved to South Sumatra and resided with her family in a small minority Balinese group within an Islamic and Christian dominated environment. She went on to study theatre and performance in Jakarta before returning to Bali. Living outside of Bali, as well as in the nation’s capital gifted her an open and modern worldview.

“Before, when I was living in Sumatra and Jakarta I was proud to be Balinese and loved to participate in the ceremonies and rituals. When I returned to Bali I found things were much different,” Satya said. “I witnessed how people engaged in their religion within the temples showing respect to the gods and goddesses. When they returned home, however, they could not respect the real women in their lives – their mothers, sisters and wives.” She continued, “I discovered the domestic violence, and that women are trapped within their roles and cannot live their lives how they wish.”

Satya Cipta at the Puri Lukisan Museum Image R. Horstman                                    Satya Cipta at Museum Puri Lukisan                                                  

 

Destined to create controversy in this fiercely patriarchal society Satya is willing to courageously speak her mind. “I paint my pain,” she stated. “Yet this represents not only myself, but many other women throughout the world. I want people to understand about the position of the woman’s life within the Balinese society. Maybe it is forbidden – but I have to say it.”

“Change is slowly happening,” she admits. “The most difficult thing is to introduce the change. The first women to do so endure much criticism, then the others can more easily follow on.” Through Satya’s works we may witness a new era and that Balinese women too, are prepared to stand up in protest.

Satya Cipta "Darmi" 2018 Chinese ink & Kencu on canvas. Image R. Horstman                                          Darmi, 2018 – Satya Cipta

 

Her criticisms, however, are not only directed at men. In “Emptiness”, 2018 Satya depicts the scenario of a woman who marries into a family yet disrespects her mother-in-law. “Many women also forget their parents at home and wait for them to die so they can inherit the family’s land. She looks so beautiful, yet she is empty.”

A self-taught artist from the age of fourteen a decade later Satya began learning the renowned Batuan painting traditions. From there she kept pushing forward eager to improve and not to become stuck within the traditional mind-set. Two years ago she began studying under Ketut Budiana, recognized as one of the greatest living Balinese artists. “I am stepping into the next phase of my creative journey, and there is much to learn,” Satya said.

Satya Cipta "Spirit" 2018 chinese ink on hot pressed paper. Image R. Horstman                                     Spirit, 2018 – Satya Cipta

 

Holding her first solo exhibition at Puri Lukisan Museum, Ubud’s oldest and most important art museum, grants the artist immediate endorsement from the highest levels of the Balinese art establishment. Satya, however, remains humble. Offers have come from a leading regional gallery, but Satya choses to reject them, remembering that its her process that is essential and only when she believes she is ready will she focus on the international stage.

A wonderful and abundant source of creativity, she is also gifted actor, performer and singer. We eagerly await Satya Cipta’s next artistic offerings.

Satya Cipta "Disgusted" 2017 Chinese ink & acrylic on canvas                                   Disgusted, 2018 – Satya Cipta

 

Words & Images: Richard Horstman

 

 

 

 

 

#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

Welcome to Denpasar2018 Art+Design: An Exhibition & Movement

Invited artist Yoka Sara                        Denpasar2018 – invited artist Yoka Sara

 

During the month of October a unique program of activities presented by CushCush Gallery (CCG) in Denpasar highlights the ongoing transformation of the city into a modern creative hub that is evolving side-by-side with its cultural and historical icons. Opening 5 October DenPasar2018 Art+Design – An Exhibition & Movement headlines the program along with other community happenings, including Design Talk, Design Walk, Open Studios, that coincide with the launch of the DenPasar Art+Design Map 2018/2019.

 “In recent years many creatives from throughout Indonesia and overseas have been attracted to Bali for its lifestyle and rich culture. Many decide to base themselves here, while others return regularly. As the island’s multi-cultural society evolves so does its creative potential,” said CCG co-founder Suriawati Qiu, who along with her partner Jindee Chua in July 2016 launched CCG upon the local art and design landscape injecting exciting energy into Bali’s creative scene.

Curatorial Talk #1 with Kevin & Marishka 6 10 2018   Curatorial Talk #1 with Kevin & Marishka 6th October at CushCush Gallery

 

“Nowadays many of Bali’s youths have been educated in universities outside Bali and internationally, and then return. They are important agents of change and vital contributors to Bali’s artistic spirit and are stakeholders in the new emerging creative economy.”

The development of Bali’s contemporary art and design infrastructure (including new art spaces, co-working creative hubs, festivals, and organizations) are the important meeting and showcasing points for the thriving new generation of creatives. Following on from the first edition released in 2017 the DenPasar Art+Design Map 2018/2019 will include a listing of community events celebrating Art & Design in October.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA               Design Talk – Denpasar Inside : Out at Maya Sanur Ballroom

 

The DenPasar Art+Design Map 2018/2019 highlights museums, government and cultural institutions, art and design educational institutions, art galleries and creative spaces, art and creative communities, festivals, artists’ studios, cultural heritage/public spaces/monuments, and the markets within the city of Denpasar.  The map is endorsed by the Denpasar Central Government (Pemerintah Kota Denpasar), Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association and the Denpasar Tourism Promotion Board, along with the Indonesian Government’s Agency for Creative Economy, Badan KREATIF Denpasar. Printed in 10,000 copies the map will be distributed at selected Creative spaces and hotels in Bali over the next twelve months. The unique feature of this year’s map is the QR Code to allow direct access to the listed venues via the smart phone App.

“The recent importance given to the creative economy, and its support through government organizations such as Bekraf encourages initiatives in the Creative sectors of economy,” Suria added. “The government plays an important role too.”

Invited artist Alit Ambara                         Denpasar2018 – invited artist Alit Ambara

 

Three invited artists along with 12 Shortlisted Open Call artists will exhibit in DenPasar2018 – An Exhibition and Movement. Themed “Jingga”, which describes the colour of twilight and is a metaphor of how the people of Denpasar feel about both the joys and hardships living in Denpasar. The theme endeavours to capture varying perspectives within Bali’s multi-layered realities in a three-month long exhibition showcasing works of fine artists, designers, architects and performers. Works featured include paintings, installations, multimedia projections, photography, ceramic art, and posters.

Co-curated by Suriawati and Jindee, and independent curator Stella Katherine, the invited artists include Sydney-based painter and performer Jumaadi (b. 1973, Sidoarjo, East Java), who has collaborated with Balinese traditional Kamasan painters, designer and activist Alit Ambara (b. 1970, Singaraja, Bali), exhibiting his poster designs and artefacts used in social movements, and renowned artist and architect Yoka Sara (b. 1965, Denpasar, Bali), who founded and leads SPRITES ART & CREATIVE BIENNALE (est. 2013).

Layung #2 zatkimia 17 10 2018            Layung #2 zatkimia at CushCush Gallery 17th October

 

DesignTalk invites distinguished practitioners and scholars of architecture and design disciplines, including Budiman Hendropurnomo of DCM Indonesia, Maximilian Jencquel of Studio Jencquel, a lecturer and researcher from Warmadewa University Gede Maha Putra, and Japa Wibisana and Magat Kurniawan as representatives of the Indonesian Young Architects community, to share their specialized perspectives on the evolution and transformation of Bali’s architecture. DesignTalk is hosted by Suzy Annetta, the Editor-in-Chief of Design Anthology Magazine and is themed “Bali Inside:Out”.

DenPasar2018 Art+Design is a collective effort to mark the city with its own distinct character as a hub for contemporary arts, design and culture. With CCG’s DenPasar program we aspire to put Denpasar city in the mapping of contemporary Art + Design in Bali and beyond by showcasing the potential in Denpasar and inviting Art + Design lovers to come explore,” Suria stated.

Denpasar2018 Mural Jamming with Kuncir and students of ISI Denpasar on the walls of the Kerobokan prison 30 10 2018Mural Jamming on the walls of the Kerobokan Prison with Kuncir and art students from ISI Denpasar 30th October

 

This combination of an exciting mix of people who are presently in Bali, and the many active platforms give a rise to exciting collaborations and events, to be shared amongst local communities. This visionary initiative helps to lay the foundation for increasing art/cultural/design tourism into the island’s capital and developing the local creative economy.

Located near the heart of the city, CCG is in Gang Rajawali, off Jalan Teuku Umar. An alternative gallery, with an inspiring and unique program embracing interactions and multidisciplinary creativity via explorations at the intersections of art, design, materiality, techniques and crafts, CCG prioritizes community engagement and learning, along with children’s workshops. Open to the public CCG is a must see in Denpasar.

Invited artist Jumaadi

                          Denpasar2018 – invited artist Jumaadi

 

Gotong Royong Seni with Mella Jaarsma 10 11 2018gotong royong seni with Mella Jaarsma 10th November at CushCush Gallery

 

Denpasar2018 Ceramic Painting Workshop 20 10 2018               Ceramics painting Workshop at CushCush Gallery 20th October

 

 

 

DenPasar2018 Exhibition continues until 5 January 2019

Monday—Friday: 9:00AM–5:00PM
Saturday: 9:00AM–12:00PM

CushCush Gallery (CCG)

Jl. Teuku Umar Gg. Rajawali No.1A Denpasar, Bali

Tel. (62) 361 484558

http://www.cushcushgallery.com

 

Words: Richard Horstman

Images courtesy: Denpasar2018 & CushCush Gallery

 

 

Balinese art patronage – now & then

Balinese Kamasan Painting                                          Balinese Kamasan Painiting

 

Balinese painting has a rich and unique history dating back over 400 years. Originally the work of artisans from the East Javanese Majapahit Empire (13-16th Century), this special narrative style of painting expanded into Bali in 1343 when the Majapahit conquered Bali, introducing the Hindu culture, and institutions.

The collapse of the empire in 1515 led to the mass migration of the Majapahit aristocracy to Bali, and from the 16th – 20th centuries, the village of Kamasan, Klungkung, East Bali was the epicenter of classical Balinese painting. The art form thrived because its patrons were the highest-ranking kings of Bali. Patronage has played a defining role in Balinese art, and there are many fascinating stories about the development of the art, and the characters involved, both from the present, and the past.

Flora and fauna painting by Ketut Rudi of Lodtunduh                       Flora and fauna painting by Ketut Rudi of Lodtunduh

 

The Kamasan paintings feature two-dimensional compositions with imagery derived from the Wayang shadow puppet theater, one of the original story telling methods in the Balinese Hindu culture that may be traced back over 2000 years to India. Often depicting battles between the forces of good and bad, the narratives originate from the Hindu and Buddhist texts, and old Javanese-Balinese folktales.

The paintings decorate Balinese temples and adorn the houses of the aristocracy. They communicate about the philosophies of life, religion, ethics and morals, as well as flora and fauna and astrology, while serving to bring peace and harmony to society. Referred to as an ancient academic art, it differs from modern systems by placing more emphasis on contemplation, the role of the senses, meditation and direct application.

Art patron Colin McDonald with Lodtunduh bird artist Ketut Rudi (left)Australian collector and art patron Colin McDonald with the renown bird painter from Lodtunduh, Ubud, Ketut Rudi

 

The formation of the Dutch colonial state in the early 20th century had a massive, disruptive impact upon the Balinese social structures. Patronage was previously inherent to social belonging: the king, village, or clan commissioned a work from an artist, or a group of artists for some rice, or possibly a piece of land. Under foreign rule artists no longer worked solely for their palaces, yet had to contribute free manual labor, suffering loss of status, privileges, and the spiritual returns of working for royalty.

A revolutionary period of creativity began in Ubud in the 1930’s having a dramatic effect upon the traditional art, along with the lives of many Balinese. A new genre was born, Balinese modern traditional art, featuring the introduction of western techniques with more realistic iconography, and modern narratives to cater to a burgeoning market for souvenirs purchased by the initial wave of foreign tourists to visit Bali. Important patronage came from early western settlers, along with the Ubud royal family, who later in 1954 opened Ubud’s first museum, Puri Lukisan.

Art patron Colin McDonald with Made Budhiana Colin McDonald with Balinese contemporary artist Made Budhiana whom he has supported for over 30 years

 

A new era of private patronage began, post 1970’s, during the second wave of tourism, when successful art dealers became gallerists, and then museum founders in Ubud. Suteja Neka opened the Neka Art Museum, Agung Rai established ARMA, and Nyoman Rudana opened the Rudana Museum.

An important modern day chapter of art patronage is accredited to Australian collector Colin McDonald QC, who first visited Bali in 1983. “I was immediately arrested by the beauty of the landscape, along with the art, and was eager to return,” said McDonald, who at the time was a collector of Australian aboriginal art.

"Menyanyikan Hidup" 2012 - Made Budhiana                          “Menyanyikan Hidup” 2012 – Made Budhiana

 

Upon his first visit to the Rudana Gallery, McDonald was attracted to the natural, aesthetic, and spiritual qualities of the art. In 1984 he purchased his first Balinese paintings, one by the abstract expressionist Made Budhiana, and another by the Lodtunuh bird painter Ketut Rudi. McDonald later met and befriended the artists.

“I was especially attracted to gentle, insightful and spiritual temperaments of the two artists,” McDonald said. “After I visited Budhiana’s home and witnessed the depth and power of his work, I starting buying directly from him.”

"Good Friday" Wayan Wirawan“Good Friday” 2018 painted by Wayan Wirawan on Good Friday at Colin McDonald’s residence at Lodtunduh, Ubud

 

The process of becoming an art connoisseur is driven by a thirst for knowledge, and meeting and learning from other collectors and experts. McDonald frequented the Rudana Gallery, and later the Neka Museum, and there he met important Indonesian collectors who were willing to share about their passion.

McDonald started collecting contemporary art and he loved to immerse himself in the local art community. Today he owns more than 400 pieces, sketches, drawings paintings, installations and sculptures. In 2011 he went on to establish, in conjunction the Northern Center for Contemporary Art in Darwin, the “Artist’s Camp” for Indonesian and Balinese artists to visit the Northern Territory of Australia to interpret the landscape and the indigenous culture.

"Easter Sunday" Wayan Wirawan            “Easter Sunday” 2018 by Wayan Wirawan for Colin McDonald

 

“Art is a celebration of life, and a great companion. It speaks of cultural and religious tolerance, and the importance of ceremony,” McDonald said, who found art a perfect refuge from a stressful law career. “The Balinese artists have an extraordinary sensitivity to seeing the world and the universe with an intelligence and receptivity to both the seen and unseen worlds. The western world, however, often neglects this, and this reflects the spiritual gaps within western contemporary culture, along with their struggles.”

 

 

Words: Richard Horstman

Images: Courtesy of Colin McDonald & Richard Horstman