Astari Rasjid, Park Hye-Sung, Frances Alleblas, W.Christiawan, Mella Jaarsma, Damon Moon, Minako Saitoh, Choi Jeong-Hwa, David Sequeira, Midori Hirota, Ruswandi Abdul Ghani, Mongkol Plienbangchang, Alexandra J.Wuisan, Anusapati, Ardiyanto Pranata, Goy Gautama, Tiarma D.R Sirait, Bambang Subarnas, Ristiyo Eko Hartanto, W.S Kodrat
September 5th – 25 th 1999
WEARABLE, Ubud, Bali
Exhibition Sequel (Notes on the Yogyakarta and Bali exbibition)
At the first time this exhibition was planned, it has been realized that there will be many surprising things.This probably happens because the (so-called) curatorial concept has been very wide opened to any area of interpretations, and perhaps it is because of the interpretationof the term WEARABLE itself. Such risk happens wh en the artists’ read the text by their owns interpretations,which certainly attach the meaning with anything being in their own contexts.Thus, what present then are some textsor works that have passed intertextualiry. It means, we are facing free interpretations of theWEARABLE connotation.
This exhibition was displayed in two cities, that is Band ung and Yogyakarta,and now is in Ubud,Bali. Moreover,from each area,respectively, some artists were brought in, not least from Ubud.This indeed was don e to widen and richen the shaped meaning. Nevertheless, many obstacles occur when we have to place those worksin an exhibition display, so that the appreciator can adequately access the works. Moreover, some of Mella Jaarsma’s works have to be substituted because her previous work can not be displayed and has to be exhibited in another place with different context. Mean while Ardiyanto Pranata has to be absent from this Bali exhibition, regarding that the wo rk must be exhibited at an other place, and there is no replace ment for that. In this Ubud exhibition, there are 20 artists presented, it means that there are two new names in it. They are WS. Kodrat, a Bandung artist who lives in Denpasar, and R.E Hartanto, a young artist from Bandung. The works of the artists Astari Rasjid, W.Christiawan, Mella jaarsrna, Alexandra J.Wuisan, Ruswandi Abdul Ghani (all are from Indonesia), Damon Moon, David Sequeira (Australia), Minako Saitoh, Midori Hirota (japan), Mongkol Plienbangchang (Thailand), Choi jeong-hwa, Hye-sung Park (Korea) and Frances Alleblas (Holland)-have been completely reviewed in the previous catalogue. In their works, there are three commentaries occurred: sociopolitical problems, humanity in general sense, and personal problems in other certain ccntexts.2 And how is about other works presented in Yogyakarta and Bali? We can see tha t the works of Bam bang Subarnas,Tiarma D. Ruth Sirait, Goy Gautama, Ardiyanto Pranata (who is being absent in this Bali exhibition), Anusapati, WS.Kodrat and R.E.Hartanto are not too significantlyfar from those problems mentioned above.
Bambang Subarnas with his “Shirt” presents three pieces of coats–covered by resin so that it is stif–in a hung up position,andone of the coats is raising one of its sleeves. On the outer surface of the coat are many political parties’ symbols and attributes that form a pattern. His work was made during the time when Indonesian people have just experienced the freedom of speech for the first time, which is reflected from the boosting of politica lparties after the hegemony of New Order authority kept tight reinfor several decades. Each of parties declares their own aspirations and representatives from many plural groups. And when the campaign period begin, not surprisingly, everybody got involved in the clamor, despite of passing many illegal confrontation which bring out many victims. Bambang’s work is a representation of the ‘political merriment’ or ‘political fever ‘ and one country’s uncertainty).3
As well as Tiarma D.R.Sirait’s work entirled “Anti Rape”, which displays a mannequin wea ring sexy mini skirt, sat on the black circular wood. On the down surface,some condoms were put in erecting position constructed by some plastic pipes (aslooked as some penises shielded by condoms).Tiarma also put an instrument, on which it is pedaled,a musical sound in a techno4 nuance will be heard automatically,and several lighting color bulbs will set on lighting the mannequin and condoms beneath it. On the background are some hanging sexy skirts (made from thin fleecy clothes, with attracting colors and patterns). From her work, we can figure out that Tiarma’s work is commenting on the problem of sexual violence happened on women which become the discourse among the gender observer nowaday’s in Indonesia.Nevertheless, she express it with “a resistant” manner,by performing things that yet stimulate sexual desire or taboos. Interestingly,she made a performance during the exhibition opening by presenting several female models wearing mini sexy dresses. Indeed, that provokes Some of the audiences to comment both in positive utterance and negatively as well. In her work, she also alludes to the masculine belief of modern society.5
WS. Kodrat presentsa work comprises three iron tables/racks, which respectively consists of: chessboard and its chessmen, Javanese batik6 clothes ,a book about Soeharto and Indonesian history book. Each of the racks is lightened by a bulb above it. The chessmen are in a checkmate position, a position tha t has no other choice, or the symbol of ending, which is also symbolized by the shroud cotton. Mean while the book about Soeharto, which is chained on the pillow, also the Javanese batik, seemingly, are the symbols of the power hegemony that controled this stifled nation. Mean while the unchained history book is apossibility of meaning of rereadand reconstructed history.Kodrat’s work obviously comments on history’s manipulating practice done by certain authority (Java?) in Indonesia, and as the power got collapsed, hence the problems of history begin to be reexamined: whom the history was made for The work entitled “Game Over” requiresus to reassess this nation history, especially in relation to what socalled “the power”.7
Mean while R.E.Hartanto comments on such same sociopolitical problems with a wittier way.He made five shelves by wood with iron poles.On the shelves, respectively,he made three aluminum human figures heads surrounded by upturned nails. The shelves are not quite opened; mean while on each side of the shelves, he put some Arabic scripts. From Tanto’s work, we can see the three heads, in this context, show some human figures (Indonesian society) depicted in a caricatured manner; they are surrounded by some sharp nails as a symbol of danger surrounding them.Mean while the opened shelves, in which some objects were put, show that there is something to be offered. The work entitled “Safe Society” seems to al-lude to the condition of full paradoxes in the Indonesian society.
Goy Gautama and Ardiyanto Pranata seem to get more interestedin problems existingin mediums. Goy Gautama presents two pieces of photographs about tattoo. Unlike common tattoos–which is usually marked or fixed upon the body by insertion of pigment under the skin–his tattoo is a temporary tattoo, which is remain to be permanent as long as the owner wants it to be.This temporary tattoo is in a well-liked trend among Indonesian teenager. For the reason that the real everlasting tattoo is negatively connoted, as it contradicts with Islamic principles, it has anegative tendency,inparticular among the aged people, Moreover, several decades ago, this topic of tattoo was a locusin Indonesia,because it was identically engaged with some criminals chased by mysterious sniper.This temporary tattoo is easier to be designed, fashionable and practical, that is why this tattoo is very wanted. Ardiyanto Pranata presents the work entitled “The Rhythm of yesterday”, Today & Tomorrow” comprising two hanging pieces of batik silk stretched across along its length (this work is ab-sent in Bali). The batik consist of rectangular shaped of two joined layers of clothing sheets. One of the layers re-mains unstirched and hung up.The medium of his batik is not treated conventionally. He did his abstract patterns of batik by immersing the clothes repeatedly, so that the patterns become blurred. This is resistance against the batik convention.
Lastly,it is the work of Anusapati, who presentan old hook (in Dutch)–in a glass box–that is opened on the middle part.On the middle part of the pages, he put some seeds, something like casuarina seeds. The three seeds were immersed in a half part of the well-chiseled book. At a glimpse, the seed appeared to be buried in book. Apparently, Anusapati wants to allude to the concern to history,which is represented by the Dutch book,and the process of regeneration (seeds). From the title, “Generation Preservation” is an opinion about a nation that has been imprisoned in the colonial history and all the impacts to the life of nation afterward.
Those works occur from a perspective toward many problems in the Indonesian social arena. Indonesian contemporary art, or perhaps, another art discourse from other world spheres, is now experiencing a contemplation or a reconsideration of where and how actually the position of art in the society. Certainly,it is difficult to find out the answer clearly.What have been done by artists nowadays in their works is dialogical process, rather than ideologically. The works that are wider opened to any meanings outside the artists enable us in tracing of what and how artworks were made,and how they produced the meanings.
WEARABLE is a project that will remain to seek new values by tracking down the hidden meanings o f lndonesian contemporary art.
At last, I will not forget to express gratitude to all the WEARABLE Ubud exhibition supporters. Especially to ABN-AMRO Bank and Mrs.Tarie Soetarto, Mr. Sika from Sika Contemporary Art Gallery,Kodrat,Riri, Mrs. Inda C. Utoyo and Cemara 6 Cafe Gallery,Exsport and all other artists.
1. See WEARABLE Bandung cxhibiuon catalogue (Bandung,Galeripadi: 1999). p.1
2. See notes on W EAR.ABLE I•-xhibition in Yogyakarta in this Bali exhibition catalogue. (Bandung,Galeri padi:1999) p.7
3. Sec artist statements, ibid, p. 19
4. A kind style of current musical sounds nowadays, produced by synrbesrzer and computer progrum
5. See artists statements, op. cit, p. 19
6. Translator notes,batik is a traditional javanesc patterns applied on clothes that are designed with the usc of wax.
7. See artistsl statements, op.cit.. p.19.