Mapping Contemporary Visual Art Spaces in Bali

“Mapping Contemporary Visual Art Spaces in Bali”

Essay by : Grace Samboh, visual art writer, resides in Yogyakarta.
In collaboration with :
I Made Aswino Aji
, visual artist, resides in Silakarang;
Hardana Putra aka Wiss, visual artist, resides in Denpasar; and
I Gede Ari Astina aka Jering, musician, resides in Kuta.

The exhibition will be held 31 January 2009 – 14 February 2009

An introduction

This is a research-project presentation. The research itself shares what the word ‘contemporary’ means in the visual art scene and how it applies in Bali. As for this exhibition, it presents you:

  1. The process of data gathering (driving all around Bali and taking pictures of spaces that state themselves contemporary);
  2. Working environment due to producing the essay along with the literatures that have the most influence in writing the research report, yet those literatures were not directly-quoted in my writings;
  3. And, the works of several Bali-based artists in response to the output of my research.

So, basically there are 4 areas in the whole gallery.

The first, as you can see, are artworks lent by several gallery/space. They are supposed to be able to describe the contemporariness of the gallery/space through the works they lent.
The second area is filled with fellow artists that are responding to the same data I used in writing this essay. There are 3 artists involved.
The third area shows you the corner where all the idea of presenting this research, writing it and mostly everything else happened. It is my messy working corner.
The last part was not part of the displays’ design-plan; but it surely is interesting. This area consists of the artworks from Sika Gallery’s stockroom that I picked, rearranged and made a story out of it.

Silakarang, Bali, January 2009
Grace Samboh


AREA #01:
The Spaces

Located at Jl. Raya Sayan, Ubud, Bali 80571, Gaya Art Space, was established in 1999. Gaya Art Space is a part of Gaya Fusion of Senses (FoS); a (some-sort-of) center consists of art space, ceramics and design showroom, restaurant, and villas. Several people supports (owns) Gaya. I think it’s fair enough to say that Stefano Grandi is the trigger of all. He is an entrepreneur from Reggio Emilia, northern city of Italia, who owns a company of high technology and electric motors also a great supporter of the arts.
The Gaya FoS concept itself grew from a friendship between Stefano and I Nyoman Birit who wanted to create a partnership in art. Together, they wanted to learn through experiences, friendship and improve the lives of people in Bali. As for the ceramics and design showroom, the designers are Massoni (and his wife, Michela). Maisonbulle Pulse wrote that they met Stefano in Milan, 1999. It was their first presentation of ceramic collections; and, few years later, Stefano offered them to join Gaya FoS.
Desak Damayanti, Gaya Art Space’s gallery manager, said that the primary mission of Gaya Art Space is to identify the best emerging, mid-career, and established artists in Indonesia, Asia, and the world; and to bring them together in a way that increases the dialogue between the local and international art worlds.

AREA #02:
Artists’ in Response

Working with these artists, I only gave them a free-writing-kind-of-paper that summarizes all of the information I’ve gathered, photographs and interview sessions result. Their works were entirely produced based on their interpretation on the same raw materials I used in order to write the book.
Participating artists are:
I Made Aswino Aji, visual artist,
Hardana Putra (aka Wiss), visual artist
I Gede Ari Astina (aka Jering), musician
As for this is one, it’s the work of I Made Aswino Aji titled Jalan-jalan (which translates as ‘Walking Around’; collage and drawings on paper). He responded on the photographs of galleries/spaces that state themselves contemporary.

Being the so-called contemporary;
I selected these works from Sika Gallery’s collection. At first, there shouldn’t be any other artworks but the ones selected form each gallery/space due to represent each places version of contemporariness.
But then, Wayan Sika, the gallery owner, gave me the chance to choose what-to-exhibit on behalf of Sika Gallery. He sort of challenged me ­­–he does that most of the time and I find it exhilarating. So, I picked these 13 artworks and treated them like puzzles. I shuffled it, rearranged it and, finally, made a story from all these works.
This area was not on my project-presentation plan, yet creating it made me feel challenged back. To read my story, start reading these works starting from #01 (from left to right).

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