Research Log | Jakarta and Jogjakarta


I was in Jogjakarta from the 18th of December to touch base with some of the local artists there and managed to catch a glimpse of the Jogja Biennale before it closed on 22 December. The Biennale entitled "Di Sini dan Kini" (Consciousness of the Here and Now) is the 8th time the Biennale is being held and the first international one to include foreign artists coming from countries such as Holland, Japan, Australia, Malaysia, Liechtenstein, and Canada. Curated by M. Dwi Marianto, Eko Prawoto and Mikke Susanto, the Biennale opened on the 4th of December 2005 with exhibitions spreading across 18 different cultural and heritage sites around Jogjakarta.

I only managed to visit ten of the venues in two days and attend the closing event at Taman Budaya Jogjakarta. The exhibition at Taman Budaya included works by artists Titarubi, Ahmad Syahbandi, Abdi Setiawan, Adi Kaniko and Sally Smart. Klinik Seni Taksu; a collective of 8 artists from Bali showcased an installation ,"Jalurgaza Budaya," at ISI Pasca Sarjana responding to censorship in Indonesia. Malaysian artist, Nadiah Bamadhaj, installed a site-specific work at Kandhang Menjangan.

On the 21st of December, two performances were staged at PD Taru Martani, a cigar factory in Jogjakarta. Heru Hikayat and Maranatha Art Project from Bandung presented "MAP", a site-specific performance, and Venzha, an interactive performance entitled "Artificial Intelligence Part_01 - Piring Terbang Sudah Lama Datang (Flying Saucer has arrived a while back)". Heru Hikayat is both artist and curator, and writes on a free-lance basis. He recently participated in the "'7th Asiatopia 2005, First S.E Asia Performance Art Symposium" (SEAPAS) in Bangkok organized by Concrete House and Empower Foundation last November. Venzha, a visual and performance artist is part of a collective called House of Natural Fibre and is one of the founders of a free monthly street press '10:05'.

The Biennale organizers are currently working on producing a post event catalogue. Gudang Garam's Lifetime Achievement awards were presented to two important influential and established artists, Sigit Sukasman and G.Sidharta Soegito, during the closing of the Biennale on the 22nd of December. Coincidently, I learned that Tempo magazine has also presented 4 Indonesian artists with awards for their best works for 2005. The artists are Erik Prasetya, Eko Nugroho, Nukila Amal and Joko Anwar. Tempo selects best works (from literature to visual arts) by Indonesian artists, at the end of each year.

Other exhibitions on during the Biennale included a solo sculpture exhibition by Jogja-based artist, Ali Umar, entitled "BIG (small, long, short, high and low)" which opened on the 15th of December at Bentara Budaya and "Electra Complex: A Story of Father and Me"' by Saraswati Djumaryo and Keke Tumbuan opened at Cemeti Art House featuring mostly digital prints.


Whilst in transit from Jakarta to Yogja, I touched based with Caroline Rika (artist), Rifky Effendy and Farah Wardani (curators based in Jakarta), Ade Darmawan, Reza and Dimas (members of Ruangrupa) and one of the organizers of Ruang Per Ruang project, Rangga Purbaya. Rika was in town for a contemporary batik exhibition, "Batik Inovatif, Tradisi Berlanjut" (Innovative Batik, Continuous Tradition), which opened on the 9th of December at the National Gallery in Jakarta. Curated by Inda C. Noerhadi and co-curated by Rifky Effendy & herself, the exhibition showcased works by renowned Jogja based batik artist, KRT Daud Wiryo Hadinagoro. Rika, a young textile/installation artist from Bandung is currently based in Jogjakarta and was also involved in the 8th Jogja Biennale.

This January, Ruangrupa, an art collective consisting of 8 members formed in 2000, will move to a new location. The artists from Ruangrupa took part in "Ruang Per Ruang #3" presented at Third Eye Studio. Rangga Purbaya, who co-organized the exhibition, is a young artist from Jogjakarta and has been in Jakarta for six months working at Third Eye Studio doing commercial jobs. He was part of the project's first installment held at I Made Aswino Aji's home in 2002 with the second installment at Michelle Chin's in 2003. A discussion on "Ruang Per Ruang" project was held recently on 6th of January.

Edwin's Gallery, which celebrated its 21st birthday last year, was showing "Fragments, Kecil itu Indah 13" with the works of 68 Indonesian artists including Handiwirman, Bunga Jeruk, Liang, Yunizar, Ugo Untoro and Yusra Martunus . The exhibition curated by Farah Wardani, a young curator and graduate from Goldsmiths who sits on the editorial board of a monthly visual arts magazine published in Jakarta called VISUAL ARTS, opened on the 14th of December along with live music performances.

"Sensecity", a photo exhibition that opened on the 12th of December at Antara Photo Journalistic Gallery featured the works of 10 young photographers. '10 different views on the urban nightmares and wonders of Jakarta' were created during a photography workshop organized by the gallery and led by the supervision of renowned German photographer, Peter Bialobrezski.



Juliana YASIN

Wed, 1 Feb 2006

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