Tag Archives: Rumah Topeng dan Wayang Setiadharma

Ritiro: An International Artist’s Retreat

04_jumaldi_alfi                                                 Jumaldi Alfi

Presenting an alternative platform for contemporary art in Bali, Kayu (wood in Bahasa Indonesia) is a series of exhibitions held at Rumah Topeng Dan Wayang Setiadarma (House of Masks & Puppets), in Mas Ubud. While contributing to the positive development of contemporary art in Bali since 2014 Kayu has become a distinctive, and fresh feature of the local art map, and calendar.

Aiming to provide a creative space for the exchange of information and knowledge between Bali and the global art world to help stimulate awareness and practices of contemporary art making via experimental and conceptual art events, Kayu is a part of a global art initiative by Lucie Fontaine, a self described art employer who lives and works in France, with many such programs around the world including in Milan, Stockholm, Tokyo and Bali.

Kayu – Lucie Fontaine’s branch in Indonesia, presents its fifth project Ritiro (The Retreat), a two-venue exhibition of international artists on view at Rumah Topeng in Bali and Rumah Doa Bagi Semua Bangsa (The House of Prayer for All Nations) in Magelang, Central Java, Indonesia.

01_agnieszka_kurant                                               Agnieszka Kurant

Featuring work by leading Indonesian artists, expatriate Bali residents and other internationals, the participants are: Jumaldi Alfi, Ashley Bickerton, Lupo Borgonovo, Marco Cassani, Patrizio Di Massimo, Fendry Ekel, Dor Guez, Agnieszka Kurant, Filippo Sciascia, Alice Tomaselli, Entang Wiharso, and Alexandra Zuckerman. The exhibition aims to put forward the identity of Kayu, showing artworks altrove (elsewhere), in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by nature, a place between magic and dream, in opposition to the traditional, often sterile, white cube gallery environment.

Ritiro takes – literally and metaphorically – the artworks away from the comfort zone of the white cube space, creating both physical and mental distance between the artworks and contemporary society. Over the duration of Ritiro the artworks will be presented in two different venues: opening from 4 to 15 December at Rumah Topeng, and on 20 December at Rumah Doa Bagi Semua Bangsa, in Central Java.

The one-day relocation of the artworks to the Rumah Doa Bagi Semua Bangsa, conceived as a site of worship where people of all religions could pray, is a building in the shape of a gigantic dove located in a remote hillside area of Central Java.

02_ashley_bickerton                                              Ashley Bickerton

Rumah Topeng is an excellent location for an exhibition outside of conventions, its pavilions being traditional Javanese houses made from teak wood that perfectly coincide with the Kayu theme. The interior of the pavilion, rich in warm natural wood tones and grain provides a setting that contrasts with, and enhances the presentation of contemporary art. Traditional Javanese design elements, as well lend to the aura of Rumah Topeng making it a unique location in Bali to present art. Kayu’s series of events come as a welcome respite to the Bali art scene.

Italian contemporary artist Filippo Sciascia’s relationship with Asia and Indonesia began back in 1998, however, says the artist, he has only truly “come of age as an Italian-Indonesian artist” in 2013 when he successfully fused iconography from the two worlds into a single creation of art. Moscow born Israeli artist Alexandra Zuckerman draws and paints portraits, figurative images, hybrid elements, worn depictions, and fairytales. Her intricate and mysterious representations are always engaging.

03_filippo_sciascia                                           Filippo Sciascia

Leading Indonesian international artist Entang Wiharso (b.1967, Tegal, Central Java) lives and works in Rhode Island, USA and Yogyakarta. An avid observer of chaos he works in a variety of media to present his narratives, his work is often not for the fainthearted. Agnieszka Kurant is a Polish conceptual and interdisciplinary artist that explores how complex social, economic and cultural systems can operate in ways that confuse distinctions between fiction and reality or nature and culture.

Regarded as the most famous unknown painter living Bali, Ashley Bickerton, one time resident and darling of the New York art set has called Bali home since 1993. His dynamic, intuitive, frequently satirical mixed media works often speak of the encounter of East and West in all its joyful and ludicrous ways. Dor Guez is an Israeli artist and a scholar who is a critical voice from the Middle East. His work interrogates personal and official accounts of the past while revealing histories that were previously absent. Ubud based Italian artist Marco Cassani is the organizational force on the ground in Bali for the Kayu events. Born in Milan in 1981 his recent works have involved research projects into marginalized groups within the Indonesian society.

05_lupo_borgonovo-_1                                              Lupo Borgonovo

For tourists and the locals who visited Rumah Topeng many have strong memories of meeting an evergreen gentleman, the manager Agustinus Praynito. Pak Prayitno, as he was affectionately known, was a kind hearted man with a booming voice and smile, always with a warm greeting, laugh and a sparkle in his eye. Instrumental in the years of hard work that helped establish Rumah Topeng, the facility and its array of excellent supporting events, into a world class feature of Bali, Prayitno’s charm an inseparable highlight.

Coming as a great shock to many, tragically Pak Prayitno passed away during October. Ritiro is dedicated to the loving memory of Agustinus Prayitno 1946 – 2016 RIP.

08_marco_cassani_detail                                             Marco Cassani

Vernissage: 2 PM 4 December

3 PM 4 December an Art Lecture

Ritiro continues through until December 20

Rumah Topeng & Wayang Setiadarma,

Banjar Tegal Bingin, Mas, Ubud, Bali

Open Daily: 9:00 am – 16:00 pm

Tel: 0817-6022-234

Words: Richard Horstman

 

 

 

The Bali Art Scene 2016 – An Overview

Citra Sh"Torment"

“Torment”  2015 – Citra Sasmita one of the strongest works from the ‘Bali Art Intervention #1’ “Violent Bali”

This overview looks back over the past six months (and more) at exhibitions and happenings of note in the Bali art scene which in the past year has witnessed some critical infrastructure developments.

Closing out 2015 ‘Bali Art Intervention #1’ “Violent Bali”, open 10 November at the Tony Raka Art Gallery in Ubud, featured the work of 60 artists, and was the strongest collective showing of contemporary art in Bali since July 2013’s “Irony in Paradise” by Sanggar Dewata Indonesia at ARMA. Slated to run for a month the exhibition continued into the new year and works by Citra Samsita, Wayan Wirawan, Agus Cahaya, Ida Bagus Putra Adnyana, Pandi Acmadi, Tatang BSP, amongst many others were worthy of mention.

Made Budhiana. "In the Darkness of Night" Image M. O'Riordan “In the Darkness of Night” 2015 – Made Budhiana from the “Cruise Control” Exhibition

“Cruise Control Indonesia – Top End Artist’s Camp Exhibition” 23 January – 13 February 2016 at the Northern Center of Contemporary Art (NCCA) in Darwin, Australia showcased the some of the fruits of the 2015 Artist’s Camp, an engagement by 6 Indonesian artists in the Northern Territory (NT). For five weeks Made Budhiana, Wayan Wirawan, Made Sudibia, Made ‘Dalbo’ Suarimbawa and Ni Nyoman Sani from Bali, and East Javanese artist Suryani were guests of the government of Northern Territory and were exposed to foreign lands and societies, and delved creatively into new visual and conceptual territories.

The biannual Artists Camp, which was first held in 2012 in the NT, and then with two subsequent Camps in Bali (2012 & 2014) is the initiative of Australian art lover Colin MacDonald and Made Budhiana, working with the NCCA, expanding upon the original modal of the Artists Camp that first began back in 1978. The exhibition displayed some outstanding works of cross-cultural engagement and its success in underlined by the support the Chief Minister of the NT government and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. Despite international political relations between Indonesia and Australia recently weathering stormy seas, art and cultural remain the most important and enduring engagements between the two countries.

TiTian Art Space. Image by Richard Horstman                 TiTian Art Space – Image Featuring works by Teja Astawa & I.B. Purwa

Merging perceptions and practices from the past with the present, along with an innovative vision for the future, Yayasan TiTian Bali (YTB), a new art foundation launched 29 January 2016 at Bentara Budaya Bali cultural center, is setting out to revolutionize Balinese art. Inaugurated on the 80th anniversary of the founding of the Pitamaha artists collective in Ubud, the Balinese artist co-operative TiTian Art Space, located on Jalan Bisma Ubud, will help transform artists into art entrepreneurs within the creative economies.

The brain child of the former 20 years volunteer curator and international liaison officer for Puri Lukisan Museum, Soemantri Widagdo, exhibitions hosted this year have showcased some of the finest Balinese traditional and contemporary artists such as Teja Astawa, Ida Bagus Putu Purwa, Made Griyawan, Aris Sumanta and Gede Widyantara to name a few. The June “Traces Under the Surface – Batuan Painting Exhibition” set 3 generations of Batuan painters from one family side-by-side in a unique expose into the development of Batuan painting. The regular series of exhibitions and workshops along with the revolutionary vision of YTB are an exciting and important addition to the Bali art infrastructure.

With plans to build a Museum of Contemporary Art (Bali MOCA), an international class museum located in Ubud, within the next ten years, exhibiting both old and new work of the highest quality, YTB expects to inspire new directions and achievements in Balinese art, while being the premier hub for Balinese visual arts by 2021.  Balinese traditional art is undergoing an exciting revival underpinned by fresh young talent and strategic collective activity, for example in Batuan led by the formation of the Baturlangan Artist Collective of Batuan.

With the mission to place Balinese art on global platforms the welcome addition of  YTB to the Bali art scene will aid in future consolidation of the current flourishing of Balinese traditional painting. The 21st century ushers in a new paradigm of global thinking and the art world is responding and evolving especially due to the impact of the internet and social media which is empowering individuals to develop global brands and presence. Yayasan TiTian Bali is building a new eco system for Balinese art for the 21st Century.

A.A Gede Anom Sukawati-"Tari Joged Bumbung". Image courtesy of Larasati“Joged Bumbung” 2008 – A.A Gede Anom Sukawati featured in the 1oth Anniversary Larasati Balinese Modern Traditional & Contemporary Art Auction at ARMA Ubud.

Results of the special 10th anniversary Larasati Balinese Modern Traditional & Contemporary Art auction at ARMA 28 February confirm that the market for Balinese traditional art is growing steadily while providing excellent value through the low to medium and high price ranges. Emphasizing quality over quantity the 81 items birthday sale featured a parade of beautiful works including sketches, watercolors, wood carvings and paintings by “Old & Young” Balinese masters.

During the past decade, with two auctions per year in Ubud Larasati have opened up an international forum for the trade of high quality traditional Balinese works, especially paintings. By introducing professionalism of an international standard that Bali had yet to experience in its art dealings Larasati has helped create a real, healthy market for traditional Balinese art. The auction included works by popular artists I.B Made Poleng, Gusti Lempad, Made Sukada, A.A Gede Anom Sukawati, and I.B Nyana to name a few.

A feature of the sale was Larasati Auctioneers providing for the first ever real-time data over the internet allowing easy, direct access to buying opportunities for a global audience. The auction audience revealed more foreigners in attendance than Indonesians being a testament to the developing international market of the Balinese art which is considered by experts to be undervalued. Larasati CEO Daniel Komala confirmed that the outcome of first ten years of auctions have exceeded all expectations.

I GAK MURNIASIH - SEDANG ACTION - AOC - 100 x 100cm - 2003                                                  “Sedang Action” –  I GAK Murniasih

“Merayakan Murni / Celebrating Murni”, a project gathering local and regional artists to create works in response to the legacy of the iconic female Balinese artist I GAK Murniasih (1966-2006) “Murni” started 8 December 2015 at the innovative new art space Ketemu Project Space in Sukawati. Punctuating the beginning of the 6 month plus program of events, culminating with the group exhibition at Sudakara Art Space Sanur 16 July 2016, the 8 December event was an intimate evening of discussions.  Featuring friends and colleagues of Murni’s, while introducing some of the breadth of her work, and the schedule of up coming events was reveled that included artist in residency programs and curator discussions. This highly anticipated exhibition will be the most important of the 2016 art calendar.

AJI02649_1-1_LR“Forgotten Optical Satsuma Filters” – Ashley Bickerton at Rumah Topeng dan Wayang Setiadharma

Kayu, a series of exhibitions that began in 2014 presented by French art worker Lucie Fontaine at Rumah Topeng dan Wayang Setiadharma in Mas, has been a highly valuable contribution to the appreciation of contemporary art in Bali. Organized and curated by Italian artist and Ubud resident Marco Cassani, Kayu showcased both local and international artist in cross cultural collaborations, group and solo exhibitions. Kayu aims to support the growth and awareness of contemporary art in Indonesia through experimental and conceptual projects and operations as an incubation facility to give the opportunity for information and knowledge exchange between Bali and Indonesia with the outside art world. Projects have included artists Corrado Levi, Radu Cosma, Entang Wiharso and Luigi Ontani.

The exhibition space at Rumah Topeng, a traditional Javanese teak warehouse is a unique setting for the presentation of contemporary art allowing the ambience of cultural design elements and raw timber to enhance the presence of the art. Despite not being well attended by the local art community, importantly Kayu allowed an opportunity for people to enjoy art in an alternative exhibition setting, in contrast to the often “sterile” gallery spaces, while positively contributing to the viewer experience. The program culminated in April with Ashley Bickerton’s first ever solo exhibition in Indonesia “Forgotten Optical Satsuma Filters” that featured his experimental “non commercial” color creations.

DSCF4872             “King Udayana : A Visual Epic” 2016 – Ketut Budiana at Bentara Budaya Bali

The historical collaboration between the Udayana University of Bali and the Bentara Budaya Bali Cultural Center, Denpasar on Friday 15 April highlighted a landmark event in Balinese painting, presenting the works of Balinese master artist Ketut Budiana. Officiated by the Governor of Bali, Made Mangku Pastika, the exhibition “King Udayana : A Visual Epic” featured an enormous narrative canvas, 8339 x 140 cm spanning the walls of the pavilion paying homage to the lifetime journey of the 10th century Balinese King Udayana.

Budiana invited the audience to wonder clockwise around the pavilion to engage with this poetic work laid out in such as way as to occupy the four directions of the compass, with their respective gods, and colors, symbolically linking the human existence with the cosmos. Often described as a “fantastic’ painter” Budiana communicates stories that appear to come from the subconscious in dream like imagery that often evolves from swirling clouds of energy. Post exhibition the work was installed within the Rectorate’s hall of the Udayana University in Jimbaran.

13173813_10153830185898778_8308656514481768488_n     “Kartini” – Cherographed by Jasmine Okubo, May 2016, image by Dewandra Djelantik

Long time collaborator with Indonesian artists, Japanese choreographer, dancer and performer Jasmine Okubo continues to push the art performance genre into new and exciting realms. Her performance during the opening of Rie m’s April exhibition “Conexion & Contradiccion” at the Villa Pandan Harum, Ubud was captivating, as were other during the year. While Rie’s exhibition of cross cultural infusions was outstanding, and importantly introducing the art of collage in a fresh and highly sensitive manner to the local art community, Jasmine’s performance, melding the futuristic aesthetics with Balinese and Japanese flavors typifies her extraordinary talent.

Okubo’s 5 June performance at Rumah Sanur in a silent enclosed space brought into dynamic, otherworldly life with excellent visual aesthetics via video mapping during the Art Ritual, themed about the transition from WATER to AGNI for the 2017 Sprites Bali Art & Creative Biennale broke new ground for the performer and the audience alike.

DSCF5736                               “Questioning Balinese Painting” 2016 – Kemal Ezedine

 

Neo Pitamaha art collective headed by Gede Mahendra Yasa and Kemal Ezedine brings a fresh, strategic, intellectual approach to the art explorations in the historical development of Balinese traditional painting. Beginning in 2013, inspired to investigate a new paradigm of Balinese painting, since 2014 they have been exhibiting in high-profile events in Bandung, Semarang and ArtJog in Yogyakarta. During 2016 they have been increasingly focusing their attention outside of Bali especially engaging with curators, collectors, along with larger audiences. Mahendra Yasa and Ezedine both held solo exhibitions at Langgeng Art Foundation, during the Jogja Art Weeks June/July art extravaganza for the local and international audiences gathered in Yogyakarta for the opening of ArtJog9.

The Neo Pitamaha’s critical and strategic approach is building positive momentum, importantly raising the bar of what Bali based collectives may achieve, while setting a potent example for others to learn from. Ezedine’s enormous 2016 mural project, highlighting his graphic illustration and dynamic color design skills, upon ceiling panels of the café dining area the new Artotel in Sanur is a visual feast for the eyes while helping to define the uniqueness of Bali’s first art themed hotel.

DSCF4884Detail from Gusti Agung Mangu  Putra’s 2016 painting of the 1906 Pupatan in Denpasar at Gwangju Art Museum, South Korea

Social issues and important Balinese historical events are themes close to Gusti Agung Mangu Putra’s heart. In the May 2016 “In Commemoration of the 36th Anniversary of the May 18th Democratization Movement 2016 Asian Democracy, Human Rights, Peace Exhibition – The Truth To Turn it Over” at the Gwangju Art Museum, South Korea he exhibited his painting of the 1906 Pupatan in Denpasar  Bali. Following from his research early in 2016 he reconstructed a scene post puputan killings that depicts leaders of the Dutch military battalion posing with the body of the Raja of Denpasar.

IMG-20160609-WA003       The WOI (Wall of Indonesia) Exhibition at Bloo Art Space, Padang Bai, East Bali

The prevalence of artist run initiatives such as Cata Odata in Ubud, Ketemu Project Space (who via their regional approach, professionalism and highly structured methodology have raised the bar high in Bali for others to be inspired), Luden House in Ubud, and the recently renamed Bloo Art Space located at the Bloo Lagoon Eco Resort and Villas in Padang Bai (also managed by Cata Odata), have become major forces within the development of art in Bali. While these community focused organizations embrace and grow through the dynamic connectivity of social media and the internet what is essential is that there are venues outside of the gallery commercial modal that continue to grow and survive as essential pillars of the art infrastructure in Bali.

 

 

 

 

 

“it isn’t all black & white” – Philippe Janssens

"Rites of Passage" Philippe Janssens                            “Rites of Passage” – Philippe Janssens.

 

Human beings are compelled to make art. This need is a basic urge that is as natural as sex and social interaction. Art gifts us opportunities to be inspired, become more educated and aware, as well as allowing insights into the thoughts and feelings of our fellow man. Most of us have experienced the creative and personally enriching potential of art, however often we are not fully aware of all of the ways that art can benefit our lives.

Art offers unique therapeutic benefits to both the practitioner and the observer, and while people may not find relief in talking about their traumatic experiences they often are able to communicate aspects of their ordeal through artistic expression. For some, such as expat Bali resident Philippe Janssens, art is a multidimensional experience, which has become an essential way of life.

“I can never forget the first time I saw art, the famous rock paintings in the Lascaux Caves in South Western France,” Philippe says. “I was just a young boy, yet the prehistoric images communicated with my inner core.” Born in Belgium in 1946, Philippe was raised in a creative, yet unsettled home environment. “I grew up around music, my mother was a gypsy who loved singing and playing musical instruments. From an early age I had a fascination with music and drawing, and I also began to paint.”

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Aged 16 Philippe left Europe for America, living first in the Bronx, New York City, finding work wherever he could. Later he settled in Oakland California. “Initially living in the States, learning a new culture and language was very challenging – I had trouble fitting in.” He began working with a master flamenco guitar maker, a difficult man, yet with very high standards. “I eventually understood that in order to achieve excellent sound I had to create perfect instruments. You must pour your heart, soul and emotions into the process.”

During his early 20’s Philippe was enlisted in the US Army and sent to fight in the Vietnam War. After 7 months he returned home with head injuries – the experience, he admits, has had a major impact upon his life. Philippe’s recovery is an on going process and his painting has evolved into a vital mode of self-healing. In 1995 Philippe first visited Bali after spending 2 years in the Philippines. He worked as a jewellery designer for a few years before returning to California for a year, while developing a successful jewellery business, his designs being produced by Balinese silversmiths that he would sell at markets and fairs in California. In 1998 he returned to live permanently in Bali and began teaching local silversmiths Mokume Game – a Japanese metalworking procedure of folding and layering different metals together, the end result being jewellery with distinctive decorative patterns. “I felt fulfilled through teaching and sharing my designs as I was contributing to the development of the art form here in Bali.”

Ten years ago Philippe met his Balinese wife to be at a temple ceremony in Kintamani, they purchased some land and built a small house near the river in Sukawati, and since then Sarini has been a strong and grounding influence in his life. Together they sponsor a teenage girl from a poor family. “She has become just like my daughter, and brings lots of love into my life,” he says. “During all my travels I have always been searching for a place where I felt comfortable. Here in Bali I feel more at home than anywhere else that I have lived.”

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Philippe met many Balinese painters and became inspired by one who worked outside of the traditional conventions, and together they formed a small art collective along with other local artists. Until today he continues making musical instruments, building his own special designs – hybrids of traditional wooden instruments – and both local and foreign music connoisseurs sought out his expertise. Yet Philippe must scrutinize each person before he consents to the task. “I love to make instruments for people who, above all, are passionate about their music. I will not make them for everyone.”

For the past year Philippe has been preparing a body of paintings for exhibiting in 2015.  In September he showcased 20 works in Ubud for his ‘Black & White Exhibition’ at the Kupu Kupu Art Space. Having painted since he can remember Philippe has explored numerous styles and techniques and exhibited numerous times. Dynamic colors characterized his recent expressionistic works, for this exhibition however, he reduced his palette down to the core, communicating via black, white and grey.

Philippe’s works are minimal in structure and feature flowing black lines that contrast with planes of colour, and combine to create eye catching, suggestive shapes. Drawing on abstract and surreal imagery his spontaneous and intuitive depictions are expressive feelings from his inner world. Mysterious organic and mechanical forms complete with facial features, distorted limbs and torsos come to life expressing an array of emotions. The opposition of black against white creates powerful visual tension, while his use of grey often adds a calming sensation. His arrangements of positive and negative shapes grant his compositions harmony and balance. Philippe has no wish to create pretty pictures, and some of this imagery is not be for the faint hearted. His raw and honest paintings touch on dark, tribal and enigmatic symbols drawn from within the depths of his subconscious mind.

DSCF3666                           “Lembu dan Topeng” – Philippe Janssens

Offering few words of explanation about his work Philippe, on the other hand, is fascinated by his audiences’ imaginative responses. “It’s very satisfying to listen to other people’s interpretations of my work. Art has no singular meaning it’s about sharing. An essential part of modern art is the observer’s participation.” He does, however, have this to say. “Many events in my past come back to haunt me, especially my experience in Vietnam. I confront these issues on canvas, as I have done for many years, believing that both myself, and paintings gradually improve with time. The idea is to place my trauma into the paintings and then it is outside of me. Memories contain energy and I transfer this into my paintings. I am soul mining, and in essence I am setting myself free.”

Philippe’s latest exhibition “It isn’t all Black & White” opened on 22 November and continues through until 6 December 2015, at the Rumah Topeng & Wayang Setiadarma Banjar Tegal Bingin, Mas, Ubud, Bali and features forty works.

DSCF3642                                        “Dogma” – Philippe Janssens

Contact Philippe via Facebook: Philippe Janssens

Words & Images: Richard Horstman