Wednesday, Augustus 09, 2017
Biggest Art Fair : Indonesia

The emerging youthful force, which has seen an overflow of works by young artists — described by some as a regeneration of the arts — was on full display during the inaugural edition of Art Jakarta 2017.

The event, previously known as Bazaar Art, was a bustling event with creative and entertaining activities attracting visitors of all ages, including toddlers.

The fair may have closed on July 30 but the vibrancy of youth lingers on.

Entering Pacific Place shopping mall, which hosted the event, the huge eye-catching installation by artistic pair Indieguerillas loomed from the ground to the ceiling, serving as a sign of what was to come.

From the booths of local and Singapore-based galleries, young and emerging artists were the flavor of the time.

Among them were Jakarta’s Vivi Yip Artroom and Ruci Art Space, Bandung’s Lawangwangi Creative Space and Singapore’s Art Xchange Gallery, Art Front Gallery and Element Art Space. Bandung’s Zola Zulu and Singapore’s Pearl Lam Galleries and Yavuz Gallery gave added focus to emerging Indonesian artists.

There were some references made to European masters, such as in Eddy Susanto’s Melencolia, which put a twist on Renaissance painter Albrecht Duerer’s Melancholia, which Duerer created amid a time of chaos.

By twisting and juxtaposing, Eddy used Duerer’s painting as a basis to shape images with Javanese script narrating a similar situation on Java as revealed in the Babad Tanah Jawi (History of Java). Perhaps Eddy wished to dispel the dichotomy between East and West.

Patriot Mukmin referenced the Belgian painter Rene Margitte’s Treachery of Paintings by creating 2.5 dimensional works (between 2 and 3 dimensions) to trick the viewer’s perception, making them move around to fully grasp the art work.


The Tomato Farmer by Zico Albaiquuni (Zico Albaiquuni/File)

The work which stand out of Yavuz Gallery’s booth was Zico Albaiquni’s fascinating painting The Tomato Farmer whose incredible vibrancy was achieved by using various pigments collected from all over Europe.

He explained that every natural pigment comprised angular particles, which acted as prisms when touched by light. Interestingly, painting the Tomato Farmer was his entry point for examining the devastating evictions occurring near his home. Delving deeper into the painting evoked even more interesting angles, demonstrating the intense interaction between art and solutions to social concerns.

Boedi Widjaja, also organized by Yavuz, delved deep into the psyche and the feeling of yearning in an installation comprised of 28 Indonesian male headdress pieces (peci) in the form of a flower arrangement.

Modified into pinhole cameras a corresponding number of paper negative prints of press images of Indonesia’s first president Sukarno speaking at various occasions, accompanied the headdresses.

“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,” Boedi said.

Other highlights of the fair included Gatot Pujiarto’s huge wall “tapestry” titled Strength in Fragility for Pearl Lam Galleries; Laila Azra’s Menuju Satu(Heading to one) for Element gallery; Antoe Budiono’s hyper realistic works for Art Xchange Gallery; Cucu Ruchiat’s comical figures for Zola Zulu gallery in which he captured a hint of Botero and Richard Winkler and a host of young artists at Vivi YipArtroo.

Euphoria Budaya by I Nyoman Arisana (JP/Carla Bianpoen)

The Creative Economy Agency (Bekraf) sponsored booth excelled with 45 creations from Indonesian artists below 33 years of age. They were selected by renowned curators Rifky Goro Effendy and Asmudjo Jono Irianto to showcase their works — many for the first time — in the public space.

From oil, acrylic and water color paintings to ceramics, aluminum, three dimensional works, textiles and combinations of painting accompanied by soundscapes and musical scores the works managed to give representation to the artists’ thoughts on today’s culture and issues. While the artists’ may need further professional assistance to reach their peaks, they may be the next generation to shine.

Interpreting the tone of speeches with the aid of musical scores and a background of (blurred) faces is a unique endeavor, undertaken by Etza Meisjara in Symphony Tafsir (Symphony of Meaning). By using sound and neon lighting on acrylic glass, the artist made tangible her concept and concern with the controversial utterances of the two of the most controversial people of recent times.

I Nyoman Arizona presented the painting Euphoria Budaya (Culture euphoria), which noted that intercultural relations in Indonesia are leading to new, hybrid forms of culture.

Youthful force: A visitor poses with Ronald Apriyam’s paintings at Art Jakarta 2017 at Pacific Place in Jakarta. The arts fair, previously known as Bazaar Art, showcased a wide range of works by young artists and positioned itself as the people’s arts fair. (JP/Carla Bianpoen)

In contrast Dina Adelya in Sore Membatik showcased her desire to preserve the traditions of her homeland in Sumatra, creating a delightful textile tableau of hand-embroidered figures using thread, needle and beads.

In a similar vein was Niskala by Monica Hapsari, while Robert and Olga presented a relief made of fabric called Minggu Pagi (Sunday morning).

Artist Harry Arafat explored Sound Reactive LED in Lotus, sending out signals with flickering lights to denote the growth and blossoming of a flower. Ragil Adiwinata provided a critique of pseudo food in a well finished plate installation Konsumsi Semu (Unreal consumption).

Putu Sastra Wibawa’s work Satukan Mimpi (Uniting dream), was inspired by American Indian dream catchers used to banish nightmares. In the same vein, artists also wished to tackle the issues afflicting the country today.

Like a veritable playground of the arts, the foyer was adorned with art works by Antonio Sinaga, Ronald Apriyan and Zico hanging on the walls, while Patricia Untoro’s glasshouse with immortelle for l’Octanne welcomed visitors to enter and take selfies.

Another vital point was Naufal Abshar’s semi painting/sculpture installation, which stood in the middle of the foyer, stating his intention to reach the sky. It was a wish bound to have many followers.


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