Three emerging Bandung artists reflect on their place in the local and global art worlds.
Version four of the Bandung New Emergence (BNE) exhibition was held at Selasar Sunaryo Art Space in Bandung, Indonesia in June and July 2012. The show aims to highlight emerging trends and local artists, and we have profiled three of the artists’ practices below.
Illumination, Redefinition, Soliloquy
BNEv4 included three curatorial categories: Illumination, Redefinition and Soliloquy.
As explained in the exhibition catalogue, Illumination represents “the theme of artists [using] art as a medium of enlightenment. Artists in this domain believe that art expression reflects the condition of a society in one point in time”. The artists included in this theme are Ackay Deni, Michael Binuko, Gabriel Aries Setiadi and Muhammad Zico Albaiquni.
The domain of Redefinition represents the employment of art as a medium for artists’ criticism and reinterpretation of the world of art itself. The works presented in the gallery test how strongly the art world validates an object into being called ‘art’, criticizing [the term’s] exclusivity and presenting the uncertain state of artists […] facing intricacies within the art world.
Bandung artists participating in the Redefinition section of the fourth BNE include Theo Frids Hutabarat, Satria T. Nugraha and M.R. Adytama Pranada Charda.
The Soliloquy domain represents the use of art as a medium of personal exploration. The works presented in this gallery represent the form of dialogues between artists and themselves, … a looking glass towards personal issues and/or the practice of their artistry.
Bandung and the global art world
Leading sociologists Howard Becker and Sanento Yuliman are referenced in the exhibition catalogue to provide a conceptual context that considers the art world at large and how Bandung, Indonesia fits within it.
Becker describes the art world as the interplay between competing and cross-promoting actors within the general cultural system. These include the artists and their mediums; the galleries and their showrooms; the curators and their ideas and the collectors and their financial support.
Looking at the art world from a more individualistic perspective, Indonesian philosopher Saneto Yuliman believes that due to the continuous divide between urban landscapes, race and sociological factors, the world will continue to produce different kinds of artists.
The curators of the exhibition consider Bandung specifically and acknowledge the divide between the Indonesian “upper art”, which is more academic and Western, and the “lower art” community, which thrives in the local villages where artists are often self-taught and have less access to formal education.
“Redefinition” artists in profile
With increasing international attention towards Indonesian art in recent years, artists from the Redefinition section consider their individual role as contemporary Indonesian artists within the globalising art world. Theo Frids Hutabarat, Satria T. Nugraha and M.R. Adytama Pranada Charda all contemplate their personal growth as Indonesian artists and how they react to the much larger and constantly changing art world that they work in.
Theo Frids Hutabarat
In an effort to explore his own identity as an artist who has already received national exposure, Theo Frids Hutbarat makes an ongoing effort to assert himself in his artwork using Western art history themes and practices.
For example, in his 2012 site-specific installation and performance piece How I Met Your Artworks, Theo comments on the Indonesian art world by exploring the tension between popularity and institutional credibility in determining a work’s value.
Born in 1987 in Jakarta, Theo Frids Hutabarat studied at the Faculty of Art and Design of the Bandung Institute of Technology, majoring in painting, and was awarded the Best Student of 2009. Despite his young age, Theo has already exhibited his work twice at the Indonesia National Gallery, once as a Jakarta Biennale participant.
Satria T. Nugraha
With an education in printmaking from two esteemed Bandung institutions, the Bandung Institute of Technology and the Indonesia School of Art and Design, 26-year-old Satria T. Nugraha has exhibited his anatomy-inspired collages and prints throughout Southeast Asia.
As one of the few emerging Indonesian artists that still uses traditional printmaking techniques, Satria participated in the first NBC Meshtec International Screenprinting Biennial in Tokyo, Japan as well as in many exhibitions throughout Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia and even Paris, France.
In his typically black, white and earth-toned compositions, Satria reconstructs the celebration of power in his prints and cut-out collages, which consider sexuality, politics and mortality. Satria also questions the value of artwork developed through collaborative projects, especially those that engage the public.
In his controversial piece Sometimes Personal Matters Become Meaningless from 2012, Satria collaborated with a microbiology lab to exhibit underwear he wore for over two weeks. He wanted to find out how the art world would receive it in a conventional contemporary art exhibition.
M.R. Adytama Pranada Charda
At 25, M.R. Adytama Pranada Charda has won several awards for his works including Best Video in the fifth Jakarta International Video Festival held at the Indonesia National Gallery.
Living in Bandung but born in Surabaya, Indonesia’s second largest city, most of Charda’s work focuses on issues of memory. To Charda, “memory has the ability to bridge the time between the past and the present, connecting a person’s principle or belief to a wider society that has a similar memory and experience.” In this way, the artist not only recalls the past, but also attempts to shape the perceptions of the present.
With that in mind, Charda’s work Through the Tangled Mind (Chaotic Booth Installation), takes typical memories of a shopping centre and entangles them with the anxiety of a young artist facing the art world. Instead of filling the booth with items that one would find in a store, Charda covers it with eerily dark sketches that represent an artist unable to enter the art world due to overwhelming competition. The booth also had a salesperson selling these emotionally charged sketches. When sold, the compensation validates the artworks, ironically transforming these “failures” into successes.
About Bandung New Emergence
Exhibited bi-yearly at the Selasar Sunaryo Art Space in Bandung, Indonesia, BNE aims to introduce the top local emerging artists and trends to both a local and global audience. The event also encourages experimental and exploratory curatorial projects. The fourth edition of the exhibition ran from 22 June to 14 July 2012.
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