“Indo Pop: Indonesia Art from APT7” tours 7 contemporary Indonesian artists throughout regional Queensland, Australia.
While the Asia-Pacific Triennial (APT8) wows the public in Brisbane, highlights from APT7 will tour further afield. “Indo Pop: Indonesian Art from APT7”, held in the Gold Coast City Gallery from 6 February to 20 March 2016, brings together nine new important works from a young generation of Indonesian artists.
The works in “Indo Pop: Indonesian Art from APT7”, which were part of the Asia-Pacific Triennial’s 2012-2013 focus on Indonesia, will visit a total of 12 galleries throughout Queensland until September 2017. They range from explosively coloured paintings to video and digital works, tackling social issues with vibrancy and humour. The pieces are all recent acquisitions of the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art’s (QAGOMA) contemporary Asian art collection.
The artists in the exhibition are referred to as the post-Reformation generation, who grew up under the military government of Suharto (1967-1998). These younger artists favour wit and parody over straightforward critique of the government and the socio-political landscape of Indonesia. They draw on urban and popular culture (PDF download), as artist, curator and writer Asmudjo Jono Irianto notes:
One of the post‑Reformation young artists’ greatest influences is the industry of popular culture. Low‑brow tendencies in the form of comics, illustrations, graffiti and advertising are quite ‘fashionable’ with young artists now.
Art Radar profiles the five artists and their artworks in the exhibition, which address a changing Indonesia – a “post-boom, democratic, multi-ethnic and globalised consumer society”.
1. Uji Handoko Eko Saputro (aka Hahan)
Born in 1983 in Java, Indonesia, Uji Handoko Eko Saputro (aka Hahan) graduated with a major in printmaking from the Indonesia Institute of the Arts, although he now works in several media including painting, ink drawing and sculpture. His work is influenced by youth culture and he is closely involved with the graffiti and comic-book scene in Yogyakarta. Hahan uses satire and exaggerated characters to make commentaries on contemporary culture.
In his work The Journey Hahan focuses on the art industry, highlighting how difficult it can be for young Indonesian artists to make it in the international art world, in spite of the Indonesian art market boom. He interrogates stereotypes in the art world, such as the revolutionary artists, gallery artists, innovators and a hard-working artist, and sets them within an apocalyptic scene.
This follows similar themes in previous works, such as the grotesque figures of a curator, a wealthy collector and an artist in the “Trinity” series (2011–12) and Big Artist is a Big Factory (2012), which looks at the complex relationships that artists need to juggle in the art world.
2. Wedhar Riyadi
Wedhar Riyadi, born 1980 in Yogykarta, grew up in the influential period of the 1997 Asian financial crisis, the fall of the Suharto regime and the transition to democracy. The impact of these political and social changes found expression through his work, as was the case with many young Indonesian artists.
Riyadi, who graduated from the Indonesian Institute of Art in 2007, defies traditional categories as he works in a range of media including drawing, murals, comics, stickers, posters, illustrations, limited-edition toys and clothing, as well as large-scale oil paintings. He uses pop culture reference to create surreal worlds, also drawing inspiration from street art, graffiti and comics.
Noise from the Fertile Land (Keributan dari negara subur) no.3 (2012) dresses an Indonesian family in European style clothing and is based on historical photos overlaid with cartoonish forms. This mixing of the historical with the modern offers insight into the rapid changes occurring in Indonesia. Riyadi’s work has been included in several major exhibitions such as the Jogja Biennale XI and the 2013 Asian Art Biennial in Taiwan.
3. Edwin Roseno
Born in Banyuwangi East Java in 1979, Edwin Roseno first studied product design before moving on to photography at the Indonesian Institute of Fine Arts in Yogykarta. He now works in both photography and video and has been involved in the development of photo-based art in Indonesia through the artists’ collective Ruang Mes 56 in Yogykarta.
When talking about his work in the APT7 catalogue, Roseno comments that:
The most basic human need in pyramid of needs is to eat. Basically…to survive one needs to eat and drink. […] fast population growth means a greater demand for food revolution has impacted on land degradation; agricultural and livestock development do not have principles of sustainable development.
Green Hypermarket looks at the concepts of human waste and food security through a series of photographs of borrowed plants in old cans, bottles, jars and containers. By combining the natural world with consumer culture references, Roseno sheds light on the delicate balance between the two, an issue of increasing importance in growing economies like Indonesia.
Tromarama is a Bandung-based contemporary art collective established by artists Febie Babyrose, Ruddy Hatumena and Herbert Hans Maruli. They work in animation and installation, combining a range of techniques and materials including woodcut, photocopy, collage, embroidery, painting and drawing with charcoal, buttons, sequins and beads. They have also produced music videos for local bands, the best known being Serigala Militia, which was shown at the 2008 Singapore Biennial. Tromarama has held solo exhibitions at the Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam), National Gallery of Victoria (Melbourne) and Mori Art Museum (Japan), amongst others.
Tromarama’s work is concerned with using everyday objects to reflect on contemporary urban culture, particularly the relationship between reality and our screen worlds. In an interview about their creative process, Tromarama highlight the importance of also working away from the computer screen:
Animation or stop motion is one of the techniques that allow us to do our own thing without depending too much on the computer. It gives us an infinite sense of possibility for playing around. About 80% of our video works are done outside the computer. We just depend on what our own hands can do and our imagination with all the material there in front of us.
5. Tintin Wulia
Born in Denpasar, Indonesia in 1972, Tintin Wulia is now based in Brisbane, Australia. Her practice embraces various media including installation, mural, video, sound and performance. She repurposes readymades like IKEA products or surveillance cameras and arcade game machines. Wulia has exhibited in The 9th Istanbul Biennial (2005), Yokohama International Triennale of Contemporary Art (2005), The 13th Jakarta Biennale (2009), The 7th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (2012) and Sharjah Biennial 11 (2013) as well as at museums and galleries around the world.
Through her work Wulia investigates borders in a globalised world, focusing on concepts of nationality and cultural identity. This is a very personal topic for Wulia due to her position as a Chinese-Indonesian and as someone who has travelled extensively. In Microstudy of Wanton , Wulia draws on her own experiences to tackle issues of migration and bureaucracy. Mosquitoes squashed inside a passport leave blood stains looking like stamps, which are meant to evoke the sometimes violent control exercised by governments on national borders and the feelings of anxiety that accompany notions of migration across the world.
- From MTV to perpetual “nowness”: Tromarama at Edouard Malingue in Hong Kong – January 2016 – Indonesian collective Tromarama explores the concept of reality in today’s digital age
- When bamboo meets politics: 4 Indonesian artists at the Frankfurter Kunstverein – December 2015 – the Frankfurter Kunstverein spotlights 3 artists and a collective from Indonesia’s Post-Reformation generation
- Young Indonesian artists unite for “Jogja Agro Pop” – in pictures– December 2014 – artists explore urban culture in Yogyakarta at a show in Equator Art Projects at the Gillman Barracks, open until 18 January 2015
- ART|JOG|14: Redefining democracy in Indonesia and contemporary art – in pictures – June 2014 – Indonesia’s pivotal, artist-led annual fair ART|JOG returns in June 2014 with an ambitious message of democracy
- “Sip!” Three generations of Indonesian Art in Singapore – picture feast – September 2013 – “Sip! Indonesian Art Today” features sixteen artists from three generations at ARNDT Singapore
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