Art Jakarta 2017 reports successful beginning
Young, emerging artists take the stage at Art Jakarta 2017
Bazaar Art in its inaugural iteration as Art Jakarta running from July 27 to 30 may look back to be a fairly successful event. It had 10 more participating galleries as compared to last year, attracted 47.645 visitors — 2,472 more than last year — and had satisfactory commercial results.
Some galleries reported great sales. Lawangwangi was one, with all three booths expressing solid results. In particular, Lawangwangi’s Eddy Susanto’s solo was sold out, while evoking a long list of prospective commissions. Edwin’s Gallery did well too with works from old masters. Zola Zulu’s Richard Winkler booth was sold out, while Arifien Neif’s sold 80 percent of their works. Similarly, Vivi Yip’s booth of young, emerging and mid-career artists sold 80% of the works they brought to the fair. And Singapore-based Element art space reported decent sales as well.
An exceptional treat was the prominence of works by young, emerging and mid-career artists — many among whom have attracted the attention of the visiting public. Of note was the Bekraf-supported booth highlighting 45 creations of Indonesian artists of up to 33 years of age, selected by renowned curators Rifky ‘Goro’ Effendy and Asmudjo Jono Irianto out of 473 candidates. For some, it was their first time showing their works to the public.
With a wide variety of mediums including oil, acrylic, watercolour painting; pencil and pen drawings; ceramics, enamel and aluminium three-dimensional works; and mixed media, textiles, and combinations of painting with sound from written scores, many managed to visualise their thinking on issues surrounding life and culture today.
Issues and sentiments regarding ethnicity, race, religion and otherness that had been keeping the authorities and the public busy were a source of inspiration. ‘Symphony Tafsir’ by Etza Meisyara is one such work, combining sound, neon light on acrylic glass and musical scores to interpret the tones of speeches of the two most controversial persons of recent times in Jakarta: the bold ex Governor dubbed Ahok and Habib Rizieq, the FPI (Front Pembela Islam) founder and leader. Articulation of intercultural relations was another issue, tackled by I Nyoman Arizona in his interesting painting ‘Euphoria Budaya’, showing a mix of cultural forms that shaped new forms on canvas.
There were other works of note. Dina Adelya denoted textile and craft as a trending feature in contemporary art in her textile tableau of hand-embroidered figures using needle, thread and beads in realistic visibility. Harry Arafat explored sound reactive LED in ‘Lotus’, sending out signals with flickering lights to portray the growth and blossoming of the flower; Ragil Adiwinata critiqued pseudo-food in a well-finished installation of plates with ‘Konsumsi Semu’; Putu Sastra Wibawa’s work ‘Satukan Mimpi’ aimed to dispel burning issues afflicting the country by referencing the American Indian dream-catcher, believed to banish scary nightmares.
In a solo show, Lawangwangi’s Eddy Susanto made new inroads of juxtaposition to blur boundaries by using finely hand-written Javanese script to shape the images of Renaissance painter Albrecht Dürer’s ‘Melancholia’, as he found similar chaos in Dürer’s Europe under Maximilian I and Java as chronicled in Babad Tanah Jawi (Book of History) at the same point in time.
In another Lawangwangi booth, Patriot Mukmin referenced the Belgian painter Rene Margitte’s ‘Treachery of Paintings’ by creating works of 2.5 dimensionality to trick our eyes, forcing the viewers to do a lot of shifting in position in order to see the image within the gate-like structure.
Singapore-based Yavuz Gallery presented fascinating Indonesian artists. For one, Zico Albaiquni from Bandung wants to show that good art can contribute to solving social problems. While researching evictions from the land close to his home, he also explored the use of pigments collected from various places in Europe. With his fascinating painting ‘The Tomato Farmer’ whose colours are of a rare vibrancy, he succeeded in befriending the population to let him do the research. His use of natural pigments, comprising angular particles that work like a prism when touched by light, is a result of his ongoing exploration with colour and the land in his hometown of Bandung.
Indonesian-born, Singapore-based artist Boedi Widjaja innovated while going deep into the psyche of self with a notion of yearning. He transformed 28 peci (male caps) into pinhole cameras, producing a corresponding number of paper negative prints of press images featuring Indonesia’s first president Sukarno delivering his speech on various occasions. “Sukarno spoke of the peci as an emblem for Indonesian national identity — an identity I wasn’t able to tangibly grasp while growing up in Singapore,” said Widjaja.
There was also Gatot Pujiarto at Pearl Lam Galleries offering a huge wall tapestry titled ‘Strength in Fragility’, Laila Azra’s ‘Menuju Satu’ at Element Gallery, Antoe Budiono’s hyper-realistic works at Art Xchange Gallery, Cucu Ruchyat’s comical figures at Zola Zolu gallery, and Vivi Yip Art Room’s many young artists.
Indonesian artist Naufal Abshar’s latest development, a diptych sculpture presented by Singapore-based Art Porters Gallery, was among the major attractions in the foyer. Taking the shape of astronauts, Naufal’s work is a reflection of his inner self that dreams to fly into the unknown discoveries of life, likening adventures to outer space. “I believe our life is like the universe: mysterious, endless, and exciting,” said the artist.
With an overflow of works by young artists emerging as a new youthful force which some call a regeneration of the arts — including Patricia Untario’s’ Glasshouse’ with immortelles in glass blown bulbs inviting the selfie public in, artists’ demonstrations of their processes, a charity auction of artists’ embellished sketches, fine porcelain and skate boards, performances and art talks — Art Jakarta has made its mark.
This article was written by Carla Bianpoen for Art Republik.