The Southeast Asian contemporary art scene often seems impenetrable to the rookie since every country works in a different language. How could we approach Indonesian art if we do not speak Bahasa Indonesia? Do we really have to spend so much time on online research? How do we decide which shows to visit in Jakarta when time is tight?
Introducing Art Stage‘s latest innovation: The Indonesian Award for Authenticity, Leadership, Excellence, Quality and Seriousness (ALEQS). Awarded in thirteen categories, their shortlist of people and places will be sure to crash course your understanding of Indonesian art. Here at Intersection we highlight the most important categories for your summary on Indonesian art.
- Best Artist
Born in Surakarta, Melati Suryodarmo is at the forefront of the Indonesian contemporary art scene. Her award suggests a growing acceptance toward conceptual, non-painting work in Indonesia. She was trained by Marina Abramović and Anzu Furukawa in Hochschule fuer Bildende Kuenste, Braunschweig, Germany and has made her reputation on long durational performances that are usually enacted alone and with great pathos. A series of actions form the core of each performance and are continuously repeated in different configurations, sequences and intensity. Her stage presence is exceptionally magnetic and there is a level of absurd satisfaction watching her perform what is often physically or mentally harrowing acts for hours on end. In Singapore Biennale 2016, Suryodarmo’s most recent showing in Singapore, she distanced herself from the audience using a one way mirror, placed a piece of paper on an oversized inking pad and made an imprint of her face. Repeat over 4 hours.
2. Best Young Artist
Yet another Surakarta artist, Aditya Novali was trained in engineering and conceptual design in Indonesia and the Netherlands before decisively taking the art world by storm. Most discerning collectors of Indonesian art would have a work by Novali, who has been nominated for awards like Sovereign Art Prize, Indonesia Art Awards, Indonesia ASEAN Art Awards and Prudential Eye Awards. His work utilises a variety of material, including steel, plaster, plexiglas,wood and stone. These are handled with the sensitivity of an architect or industrial designer and the conceptual finesse of a contemporary artist, producing objects that express quality, precision and visual power.
3. Best Curator
Long time pillar of the art scene in Indonesia, Enin Supriyanto is consulted on almost every significant Indonesian art show within and outside of the country, including this year’s Indonesian Pavilion in the Venice Biennale. This year, Singapore got a rare peek into several important private collections through the efforts of Supriyanto, who brought together works from six local collectors for a show during Art Stage Singapore 2017. A prolific writer publishing in both English and Bahasa Indonesia, Supriyanto’s writing is a must read for those looking to understand art by significant Indonesian artists like FX Harsono, Agus Suwage, Tisna Sanjaya, Eko Negroho, Tintin Wulia and, of course, Melati Suryodarmo and Aditya Novali.
4. Best Young Curator
Active both in the local and international scene, Grace Samboh works tirelessly with artists, other curators, researchers and activists in the promotion of Indonesian art. Since 2014, she has been part of an international team of curators researching on art from SEA from 1980s to the present. The team has recently opened SUNSHOWERS: Contemporary Art from Southeast Asia 1980s to Now in the Mori Art Museum and National Art Centre Tokyo (ongoing until 23 October, 2017), the largest ever Southeast Asian art exhibition to be held in Japan and arguably the most important Southeast Asian art exhibition for 2017 (and maybe even the recent years). She most recently curated a beautiful show in Singapore for Mizuma Gallery titled Carte Blanche: Anxiety. Suffice to say that any show curated by Samboh is an informative glimpse into the best of Indonesia art.
5. Best Gallery and Best Young Gallery
Founded in 2012, ROH Projects is located in Central Jakarta and is a must-go for any art lover to the city. Despite having only five years of history, founder Laksamana “Junior” Tirtadji has made groundbreaking achievements, from representing and showing only artists in Bandung to extend to the other parts of Indonesia. In Art Stage Jakarta 2017, their stand also demonstrated Junior’s ambition and camaraderie with significant galleries worldwide, including artists from Hong Kong, the Philippines, Singapore and Taiwan, among others. These were sourced through ROH’s collaborations with foreign galleries, who entrusted him with their artists’ works. And sure enough, ROH did not fail its partners: attendants to Art Stage Jakarta 2017 would observe a constant changing act happening in their booth as sold work is repeatedly replaced by new ones.
6. Best Art Institution
Founded in 1995 as Cemeti Art Foundation, the institution was renamed Indonesian Visual Art Archive (IVAA) in April 2007. They collect and produce documentation of art activities in and about Indonesia, with a significant portion of it available digitally on their website. They also publish exhibition catalogues, visual arts research reports and other written and visual material. In their physical site, they have a Reading Room and a Community Activity Room and plays host to talks, discussions, meetings, coffee appointments and hangouts. For its constant regular stable of visitors as well as general Yogya friendliness, any curious visitor would be able to make several new friends and gain a deep understanding of the Indonesian art scene in Yogya or beyond.
All award recipients received a sweet sculpture-trophy by Handiwirman Saputra, an important Indonesian artist in his own right from Yogyakarta. This handy trophy carries on the aesthetic of his current series of ‘rubber band’ sculptures, several of which were on sale at Art Stage among the galleries.
Other winners of Indonesian ALEQS 2017 include Haryanto Adikoesoemo (Best Collector), Tom Tandio (Best Young Collector, check out his website indoartnow), Martin Suryajaya for Sejarah Estetika: Era Klasik Sampai Kontemporer and S. Sudjojono’s Judul Buku: Cerita Tentang Saya dan Orang-orang di Sekitar Saya (Best Publications), Pameran Koleksi Seni Rupa Istana Kepre s idenan Republik Indonesia at Galeri Nasional Indonesia (Best Exhibition), Jim Supangkat, Sunaryo and Ir Ciputra (Lifetime Achievement) and Jatiwangi Art Factory (Bhinneka Award).