Naima Morelli

August, 2014 Monthly archive

Muchlis Fachri is a young artist based in Jakarta, who is also part of the street artist’s crew called TAS – TAS and the artistic collective Aspaleho. We found each other on Facebook and I was amused by his cartoonish and ironically splatter style, with many references to punk aesthetics and popular culture.
Muchlis explained me that he wants to make art accessible to people. I find this conception resonating very strongly with young Indonesian artist in particular (I remember talking about that a couple of years ago with Agung Kurniawan of Kedai Kebun Forum, one of the first galleries to push forward the idea of accessible art, right in the middle of the painting boom in Yogyakarta).
With his practice Muchlis embodies this democratic idea of art, alternating his graffiti practice with conventional painting and the production of merchandise. Indeed, together with his girlfriend Puji Lestari, he also founded the company JUNK NOT DEAD, producing a range of edgy and offbeat products, from posters to bags and dolls – the patches are definitely on my shopping list next time I’ll pass by Jakarta. With a pulp and excessive imaginary, Muchlis Fachri’s art is definitely an artist to keep an eye on.

Did you have a moment when you knew you wanted to be an artist?

I did actually. In senior high school, I would often made unusual things that were different from the ones of the other students, like bags made of a cardboard or I’d decorate my sneakers with drawings. During my third year I visited an exhibition in the Galeri Nasional and I was stroked by the art exhibited – that show has been fundamental to arouse my interest in painting. When I came back home from the exhibition I was so excited that I started painting on canvases and researching about artists.

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The Times of Malta has  just published my review of Marina Abramovic’s 512 Hours performance at the Serpentine Gallery, London.
I’m very happy to have the article published on the leading Malta’s newspaper, because that is where my favourite comic book character Corto Maltese is from!
“When being tucked in for the last time as a kid – I must have been five years old or thereabouts – I couldn’t have imagined the next person to pop me under the bed sheets fondly would be one of the most famous performers in contemporary art: Marina Abramovich…”

Here’s the link to the online version of the magazine

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I remember one beautiful evening few years ago in Rome. I was walking with my new friend Francesco, a mime just met at Cinema Trevi. Quite strangely for a mime, he was a chatterbox. I thought that was because he couldn’t talk on stage, so that was his way to vent. Since I just came back from an opening at Gagosian gallery, I was wearing red lipstick, a little back dress and red shoes. Francesco and I keep on whirling in the street paved with cobblestones and he said: “You know what the beauty of life is? That you can live wherever you want. You just have to choose a city, and you can move there anytime.” Then he went on telling me about when he was my age – twenty-one at the time – and he moved to Spain by himself. He was working in a bar near the beach, studying as an actor at the same time. He also told me about that time that he saved a girl abused by a group of guys – an anecdote he clearly unsheathed to impress me. Aside from that, the beautiful thing about Francesco was his constant excitement and exaggerated optimism. He could have been banal and cliché in his representation of happiness, fancying sunsets on the beach and the like, but he was still infusing me merriness and even a little inspiration.

Over the years I kept on asking myself: Is that true? Can you really pick a city you like and decide to move there on the whim?

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Made Bayak is a Balinese artist, painter, musician, educator and environmental activist.
Through is ongoing project Plasticology – a concept that fuses the words “plastic” and “ecology” – he is exploring Bali’s ecological, social, cultural and political issues. Plasticology develops across different media Plasticology and is associated to an educational campaign against plastic trash.

Plasticology is your long term project that combines art with environmental issues. Bali in fact suffers with plastic pollution. When did you first become interested in that?

I started to make art related to plastic issues in 2001, when I was studying visual art at the Indonesian Institute of the Arts in Denpasar. The first plastic-related project I created was an outdoor installation called PLASTILITICUM. The name is from human history periods, like Megalithic, Palaeolithic, etc. I imagined that in the future people would research about a time in the past where plastic polluted the earth. Therefore the artefacts they will find won’t be stone tools, but plastic objects. At my first solo exhibition at Sika gallery at Ubud in 2008, I created some kinetic objects and sculptures using waste and ready-made materials such as frying pans, wood from the beach, sandals, plastic bottles and broken toys. At the end of 2010 I started experimenting with flatten plastic wastes on a canvas. Since that time I created a series of paintings – I consider them paintings because they are two-dimensional – and I decided to use them for my art project. Plasticology though is not just about paintings and art, but it rather tackles problems directly. We have organized presentations, workshops, river and the beach cleaning up etc.

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There is a mesmerizing Patti Smith’s song I used to listen to when I was in my teens. It’s called “Land” and tells – in a very surreal way – the story of this guy called Johnny. Since the chord progression wasn’t too complicatedly, I quickly learned to play it on the guitar. There was a particular line that made me pretty excited when I sang it. It was “I hold the key to the sea of possibilities”.

When I was seventeen I had a number of small abilities, but very little how-to knowledge.
My guitar practice alone branched off into my folk Neapolitan repertoire, my intimate Carla Bruni-like songs and my love for punk rock. These three aesthetics were not conflicting to me. That was confirmed by reading on a magazine that Norah Jones also had a punk band. I thought, if she does it, why I shouldn’t? (Well, if you have ever heard me singing and playing, the answer is pretty straightforward).

Way before I would learn the position for a E chord, I was making been comic books. Since I was born, I have never stopped drawing and creating stories. As often happens, I started making comic books since I was in high school and my school mates were my first readers. Never in my life I considered to stop that. Then of course, there was the writing. I was that annoying kid asked by the teacher to stand up and read her essay out loud. I didn’t really like to do that, mostly because my pulp Tarantino-confronts-Romero-on-the-theme-of-abortion like essays were meant to be read with a little verve. Which I completely lacked of . Anyways, at eighteen I started writing for an art magazine and a number of rock and general publications. Around the same time, I started covering every blank spot I could find in the city with graffiti. Man, that was real fun!

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