Culture / Art Republik

Moving Forward: Art Stage Jakarta 2017 Review

A celebration of Indonesian contemporary art at this year’s Art Stage Jakarta

Aug 22, 2017 | By Art Republik

Argya Dhyaksa, ‘There is A Title’, 2017. Image courtesy Rachel Gallery.

The second edition of Art Stage Jakarta, Indonesia’s annual international art fair, took place at Sheraton Grand Jakarta Gandaria City Hotel in South Jakarta from 11 to 13 August 2017. The fair was bigger and merrier than in the previous year, with more related events and more participating galleries and visitors.

The organisers selected 60 best galleries from around the globe, an increase from 50 galleries in 2016. More than 50,000 people attended Art Stage Jakarta 2017, over three times the visitors from the previous year. The high visitor turnout translated to robust sales, with sold-out shows reported during the three-day fair.

Among the successful galleries was Bandung-based Lawangwangi. The artworks of its artist Eddy Susanto, who is known for his style of adopting various historical narratives, including those from the Bible, were sold out. Seoul-based Atelier Aki art gallery also shared similar success with the meticulous works of South Korean artist Yeh Sine Kang.  “I think it is a wonderful sign of the confidence of the market to the galleries […] and the fair,” Art Stage founder and president Lorenzo Rudolf said.

Displaying the latest from the country’s contemporary art scene was high on the agenda of the fair. “We don’t want to look back, we want to look much more […] to the future,” Rudolf added. In that spirit, the organisers initiated a series of special projects and events to celebrate the dynamics of Indonesian contemporary arts.  Among them was a special project by Jakarta-based music and art collective Double Deer that featured two interactive multimedia installations. Another one was ‘Off The Wall Jakarta’, which showcased 31 artists from Southeast Asia and Europe to present innovative street art.

Mochtar Sarman, ‘Mighty Atom’, 2017. Image courtesy Ruci Art Space.

Five young Indonesian art collectors, Arif Suherman, Wiyu Wahono, Nicholas Tan, Indra Leonardi and Tom Tandio also brought out their private collections in the ‘Spirit Today’ exhibition.  Tandio emphasised the role of young collectors in shaping the future of Indonesian contemporary arts. “The regeneration of collectors lies on our hands,” he said.

The soul of contemporary arts was also strongly felt in the art fair.  A display of cutting-edge artworks featuring new emerging artists were seen in many exhibitors’ booths. One interesting artwork was Mochtar Sarman’s ‘Mighty Atom,’ based on Japanese manga character Astro Boy at Ruci Art Space, which could turn into live animation with the use of augmented reality glasses. Srisanti Syndicate from Yogyakarta placed paintings of established Indonesian artists such as Heri Dono and Djoko Pekik with those of younger artists such as Suroso Isur and Ronald Manullang.

Artists, collectors and gallerists were generally positive about the fair. Young artist Dhanoe Pudjisampurno was glad that the art fair gave him the opportunity to engage more with prospective buyers. “It is important for an artist to not only receive appreciation, but also buying interest,” the Surabaya-based artist stated. Leading Indonesian collector Ciputra indicated that Art Stage Jakarta had become the new art destination in Indonesia following its success. “Its influence will be immense for the world of Indonesian art because through Art Stage Jakarta, Indonesia will grow internationally,” he said.

Ronald Manullang, ‘The Duel 0727189: Van Gogh VS Van Gogh’, 2017. Image courtesy Srisasanti Syndicate.

Both new and returning galleries were generally satisfied with the exhibition with some giving additional notes for improvement in the future. Director Lee Soetikwan of newcomer Go Artspace criticised the booth arrangements, arguing that some of them were not strategically positioned, resulting in fewer crowds in several spots. “Every gallery deserves to have the same exposure,” he said. The fair organisers acknowledged this space challenge to give exposure to more galleries. “We squeeze every corner of the location so we can have 10 more [exhibitors],” Rudolf said. Despite some critics, exhibitors did praise the introduction of various new side events. “We hope more events will be organised in the future,” said Benedicto Audi Jericho of Srisasanti Syndicate, a returning gallery.  

Other notable activities included visits to the houses of collectors such as Alex Tedja. The art fair also organised the first Indonesia Award for Authenticity, Leadership, Excellence, Quality, Seriousness in Art, with 13 awards presented at a Gala Award Ceremony. Among the awards given out were ‘Best Young Artist’ to Aditya Novali and ‘Best Young Curator’ to Grace Samboh.

The public’s highest appreciation must go to Art Stage Jakarta’s new initiative Art Square, which accommodated the existence of small art groups and institutions as part of Indonesia’s art ecosystem. Located at the centre of Gandaria City mall, Art Square has been seen as an effort to democratise Indonesian art scene as it tries to reach out to the masses with more affordable offerings.

Art Republik looks forward to Art Stage Jakarta 2018.

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This article was written by Ika Krismantari for Art Republik.

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