Jl. Paletehan 1 No.38 Melawai, Kebayoran baru Jakarta 12160 - Indonesia
T. + 62 21 739 7385
F. + 62 21 739 7385
I was so excited and challenge when Dr. Oei Hong Djien ask me to organize an exhibition to celebrate his 73rd birthday, mainly because I think this exhibition must reflect the quality of Dr. Oei Hong Djien as one of the most important art patron in Indonesia. After many brainstorming internally and with Dr. Oei Hong Djien, the idea of this exhibition grew and becoming the Magelang Art Show; an exhibition to present the highlight of Indonesian art to be able to give a better understanding of Indonesian art to a wider audience, locally and International art lover. We hope with the support of our art community, we could held this exhibition every 2 years to give the latest update about the development of Indonesian visual art.
The theme of this first Magelang Art Show, is A Tribute to a Mentor, is still in line with the birthday celebration of Dr. Oei Hong Djien, a mentor for many people in the development of Indonesian visual art. He is not only passionate about collecting Indonesian visual art, but that passion is also equipped with the knowledge and experience that he like to share with others. A Tribute to a Mentor is looking Indonesian art through Dr. Oei Hong Djien’s eyes, knowledge and experience that reflected in his art collection. In this exhibition we only choose artist that their works are in the collection of Dr. Oei Hong Djien.
With the limitation of time, only 7 months of preparation, we only able to exhibit works from 37 artists. We undestand this might not be enough to have a full reflection of Dr. Oei Hong Djien’s collections nor the Indonesian art in general. We hope this small sampel of Indonesian visual art works can give the audience a better understanding about Indonesian visual art and most importanly this exhibition will bring an artistic experience that will leave a mark in your heart.
March 24, 2012
Dr Oei Hong Djien
In and Around Indonesian Art,
a Mentor, a Friend, a Patron.
Believe me, the list of Indonesian artists whose works have been collected by Dr. Oei Hong Djien was longer than I expected. The 37 artists selected and participated in this exhibition are those whose works have been collected by Dr. Oei Hong Djien all through his many years being a patron in Indonesian art scene.
Many of the artists involved have been working, producing, growing, and shining around the figure of the collector doctor. Dr. Oei as we all know, is an impressive figure of a patron, a friend, a mentor, as well as a lifetime student of art itself. Dr. Oei, with his long and wide experienceuntil now keeps gathering knowledge from all sources that he finds, and never restrict himself to share it with everyone he meets, including with the artists around him.
Yogyakarta, one of the three golden triangle cities of Indonesian contemporary art together with Bandung and Jakarta, obviously have become the closest to Dr. Oei’s heart, given the geographical location and culture, in which it is closest to where the birthday boy resides. Most of the artists participating are artists from Yogyakarta. With the existence of Dr. Oei, art scene in Yogya has extended to the small city of Magelang, in which Dr. Oei lives and built his museum, and the movement between the two cities has created a large vibrant art society.
Dr. Oei’s character as mentor was brought forward from the beginning of the preparation of this exhibition, this theme grew and widen as the process continues, and these artists were adding more of their personal perspectives, value, opinion, and wishes for the figure of Dr. Oei that they know and love so well.
This exhibition has also grown into the celebration of the artists themselves during their time growing in the society with Dr. Oei, those whose body of works according to Dr. Oei has the ‘greeng’. The famous term used by Dr. Oei to express the right feeling when finding a good artwork. No formal meaning to that term, maybe it is like the sound of the thunder in your chest when finding an extraordinary click with something exciting.
This exhibition is casually divided into three different sections, one is a large selection of Indonesian contemporary artists, the second one is a smaller section celebrated by the Indonesian art pioneers that are dear to our hearts, and the third one is an entertaining section of Indieguerilla’s TV Eye Project.
Nasirun prepared approximately 16 meters wide installation, consisting of 73 paintings, each sized 80 x 60 cm. In his daily life, breath by breath, second by second Nasirun is an artist. Going in and around his house, studio, and mini museum, and even the street along where he lives have been touched strongly by his productive nature. Nasirun’s artistic value, strong thought, and creative instincts have ben recognized early by Dr. Oei. Working a lot with shadow puppets as objects and the fluent batik patterning, Nasirun holds strong the principle to begin his work from within, started from the root of his being as an Indonesian with proud strong culture, instead of adopting outside thoughts and theories and start working from there. Nurtured by Indonesian culture that never separate itself from spiritual practices and mystical beliefs, in the paintings, which obviously present repetitive shadows of Dr. Oei, Nasirun also portrayed spiritual traits that he beliefs exist as characters that we must not neglect and abandon in human beings.
The juxtaposition of the flat shadowed surfaced, followed by thick texture of paint, and washed over with glittery, silverish, and golden tones, created a layered visual drama that sometimes neglected by our quick glance perspectives.
It was a dark, wet, rainy evening, when Heri Dono took me around his huge studio, stepping up and down the steep stairs of the old building that used to be the Dutch police quarter. ”It’s haunted” he said, “that was why no one wanted to buy this building from the Sultan. So I did. And it seems that the spirits are happy with the presence of the artwork here.” Did I mention it was dark and rainy? We walked up to the second floor and came across his old work Flying in a Cocoon. And no, not goosebumps, there were butterflies in my tummy. Made in 2001, the two angels in the Heri’s Cocoons were never evolved to be another creature, said Heri. Created around the time and about the Indonesian reformation in 2008, the angels keep flying in their cocoons, never evolve, and became merely an idea, inspiration, and imagination of the future.
I chose to bring up this artwork again after 11 years it was created, and more importantlyafter 14 years of the supposed to be Indonesian reformation. One may contemplate how far the reformation have brought evolution into this nation, or has Indonesia been just floating around with the idea of the reformation, never really landed down to realize and make it happen? Has Indonesian reformation continues as predicted by Heri Dono eleven years ago, a mere ambition being trapped by its own dreams?
Travelling in to a more personal context, I dig out S Teddy D’s personal drawings, quick strokes that are more like scribbles on personal diary. Teddy never ceased to stop to draw heads, heads with expression, no expression, heads off, heads filled with images, heads with other heads.There is a pang of longing, the longing to share the content of his head. Longing for the content of his head to be understood. It's like his head is screaming :I mean something!
His expressions are much represented by his line quality, the melting, smearing; thick and thin of his lines, the evolution between the black opaque ink that moved and thinned to transparent.
"I'm just started learning to handle this medium, ink. The difference is with painting is that I have to be sober when doing this drawing. Ink is still hard to handle for me, that's why I can't be drunk when drawing these."
"These are Tere's paper. She bought them and just leave them like that, so I use it." Teddy said, mentioning his wife, also an established artist. I love the hidden intimacy reflected between the lines of that statement, as much as the hidden complexity between two strong people in a productively strong relationship in their own way, as much as the hidden emotion contained in the strokes and lines on Teddy’s papers.
A newcomer using a totally different method that of Teddy’s manual method, Dhanank Pambayun used purely digital technology to put layer and layer of his objects to create a surreal effect on the two dimensional platform. A symbolic nature, The Rain Tree is a stopper. You will have to pause and let go of your surrounding for a long moment to enjoy being under his tree and absorb the content and mystery offered by it. Rain Tree or better known as ‘Suar’ atau ‘Suwar’ in Bahasa Indonesia is a type of tree that is large tall, with a flat top and branches reaching wide, it is often used for shading of crops in tropical country.
As a metaphor for quick sanctuary, to take a pause from the dynamicity of life, this tree provides a shade for silent contemplation. Every aspect of tree has given a life to itself and to other creatures living around it, asymbol of wisdom and protector, a patron, a mentor?
While Yani Mariani, as most of the time have done it, again she created gasping effect with dainty details of her installations. The negative space in her installation giving a sense of calm breezy movement, an artwork to be experienced, not told.
Galam Zulkifli’s used the negative gaps that he usually threw away in his usual works. To create the illusion of fragmented and distorted figure in his regular work, Galam used masking tape to line his canvas and painted in realistic manner over it. The he took out the tapes and layer the image using the same method, repeat the process until the intended illusion reached. For the artworks on Illusion Series, Galam created three pieces of artworks, in which the Chapter II is shown in this exhibition. The Chapter I, which is the first artwork done for the series was done in his regular manner, then he took the masking tape used in Chapter II and layered them on acrylic sheet, combined two images together and created a distorted images of the layered figures. Chapters of life of the fallen heroes, distorted beliefs, and mislead power.
My last visit to Dr. Oei’s house to prepare for this exhibition, I found an interesting happening at his backyard terrace, a long table full of stacks of their family old albums. Those were prepared forAngki Purbandono’s visit that afternoon. Angki spent about the whole day going through those albums, choosing and scanning Dr. Oei’s photos. Combining photography and scannography. In this work, Angki uses his scanner merely to copy or recapture the photos he chose from Dr. Oei’s albums, flat objects that don’t’ create the drama of shallow depth and shadow effect when recaptured by the scanner, delivering the images as they are, which are a priceless record of Dr. Oei’s life. The rest of the images, Angki uses his collection of panoramic snapshots. With the use of panoramic frame of reference, Angki wished to be able to present a more thorough view of the objects taken, though in the final result, lengthy view is not necessary wide and thorough.
Six meters of images of a lifetime documentation contained inlight boxes installation is quite a fulfilling perspective on someone’s life.
The artists whose works mentioned above were only some of the names whose works have been chosen and celebrated by Dr. Oei in the years he has been nurturing, making marks, and created some of the most important highlights in Indonesian art history through his collection. Looking at the 37 artists involved and the works at his museums,it is proven that Dr. Oei’s collecting activity is to record some of the traces of Indonesian art history, as well as shaping the history itself. Most of these artists have been proven to be the ones shaping the significant history of Indonesian contemporary art. With faith to Dr. Oei’s curatorial ability, the younger ones potentially will follow.
All his life Dr. Oei has celebrated Indonesian art, now on his birthday, his life is being celebrated with a smorgasbord of his artistic palate. Happy 73th birthday, Pak Dokter!