Naima Morelli

Tag "bali"

Plural Art Mag has just published my interview with Balinese artist Satya Cipta. I visited her studio back in February, during my latest research trip to Indonesia, and was completely struck by the potency of her imagery.

Here is the link to the piece

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The magazine of the Asia-Europe Foundation Culture360 has just published my interview with Dutch researcher and lecturer in Indonesian Studies at The University of Melbourne Edwin Jurriëns. Edwin has just published a book with Routledge called “Visual Media in Indonesia”, where he analyses how in Indonesia, in the age of digital communication and global capitalism, people’s mental, social and natural environments are interconnected.

Here is the link to the interview

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I have contributed an essay titled “Rules, imagination, and magic powder” to the catalogue of the Drawing Future exhibition at CushCush Gallery in Bali. My words are in the very good company of texts by John Andrews, Mella Jaarsma and Natalie Sprite.

A few words on CushCush Gallery; this is an alternative platform for contemporary art and design in Denpasar. Suriawati Qiu and Jindee Chua have founded the gallery to share art and design with their local creative community, general public, as well as generate conversations with international artists and creative people.

Within the gallery many initiatives, the Charcoal For Children program is a social project that put together 6 working artists and children in 3 sessions, to create collaborative artworks together. As the name suggests, the yearly program focuses on Charcoal as the medium, to foster creativity amongst children. I have been honoured to have given my small contribution in the form of a write-up about creativity to such an exciting project!

Here’s the pdf version of the essay

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I have just started a new series for the webmagazine CoBo about Indonesian contemporary painters. The first installment is Murni, recently celebrated in the show Merayakan Murni at Ketemu Project Space and Sudakara Art Space in Bali.

Here is the link to the article



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Yesterday was the opening night of the show “Attualità Indonesiane” at Il Ramo D’Oro in Naples, Italy, featuring artists Balinese artists Made Bayak, Gede Suanda and Naples-based Setyo Mardiyantoro. It was a successful and interesting night where people from many different background come together to learn about art making in Indonesia and the value of art in helping to grow awareness. The interesting thing about il Ramo D’Oro is its non-elitist approach. Gallerist Vincenzo Montella doesn’t want his space to be accessible only by vernissage hoppers, but rather to people from every walk of life.

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On the 6th of January the art centre Il Ramo D’Oro in Naples will host the exhibition of Indonesian artists Made Bayak, Gede Suanda and Setyo Mardiyantoro. I was invited by gallerist Vincenzo Montella to write the curatorial text. The show – with a patronage by the General Consulate of the Republic of Indonesia in Naples – will be open to the public from the 6th to the 14th of February. During the vernissage Prof. Antonia Soriente will present the book “The dance of the earth” by Indonesian writer Oka Rusmini.

Below my curatorial text for “Attualità Indonesiane” in English and Italian:

“If art had a message, I’d be a postman,” said Nabokov. If we talk about contemporary art at the time of the open work, the idea of the message belongs more to the white walls of Sunday school, rather than to the immaculate walls of the contemporary art’s “white cubes”.

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Thursday, June 25 at 5pm the Library of Oriental Studies at Sapienza University of Rome  will host the presentation of the book  “Arte Contemporanea in Indonesia, un’introduzione” by Naima Morelli. The presentation will be introduced by Filippo Salviati, professor of Eastern Asia archeology, art history and philosophies, with the partecipation of Michela Becchis, art critic and art historian, Francesca Gallo, professor of contemporary art, and Claudio Cozzolino, Press Office at Embassy of Indonesia to the Holy See.

The book is an introduction to Indonesian contemporary art, which now occupies a prominent place in the international art scene, from both a market and cultural standpoint. Placing itself in the dialectic between the global and the local, the book analyzes how in Indonesia the cultural, artistic, political and social context have influenced four generations of artists. The author guides the reader in the contemporary art places in Yogyakarta, Jakarta, Bandung and Bali, looking for the answer to the question: is there really something called Indonesian contemporary art?

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“In a constant relating western and eastern art, Naima dissects and offers interesting models that make legible the ‘new’ culture even to those who aren’t introduced to it”

Arts writer and curator Maila Buglioni has written a very interesting review about my book “Arte Contemporanea in Indonesia, un’introduzione” for the webmagazine Artnoise. Check it out here (in Italian).

Picture above: Pinkswing Park, Collaboration work for CP Biennale by Agus Suwage and Davy Linggar, 2006. Courtesy of Tyler Rollins Fine Art.


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The summer of 2012 is not a long time ago , but from my perspective and for all I have experienced in this two years it feels like decades ago. Back then I just graduated from the Art Academy with a thesis on the “Popolo” in the arts and, at the beginning of the year I started to became intrigued by Indonesian art thanks to the exhibition “Beyond the Est” at MACRO, curated by Dominique Lora. I began researching about contemporary art in Indonesia and in a few weeks I was a regular visitor of the Castro Pretorio library in Rome. I would go there every week sourcing and memorizing everything I could find related to art in Indonesia and South East Asia. I would fill notebooks on notebooks and start planning to go to Indonesia. At that time my partner in crime Lucas Catalano was eager to go back to Bali to work on a photoessay and he offered me his help with the project.
I mailed Barbara from Art a Part of Cult(ure), the magazine I was writing for from three years, asking if she would be interested in a reportage of the art scene in Indonesia. She said yes, of course! I started sending emails around to the artists and fix interviews. Once in Indonesia, everyone was super nice, open and welcoming. Every interview gave me not only fundamental insights into the art practice of the artist and his context, but it was also really good fun! Here some pictures that give you some glimpses of the field-research that I did for my upcoming book “Arte Contemporanea in Indonesia”. There are no captions; let the images do the talk! Then of course, if you are already accustomed to the arts in Indonesia you will certainly recognize all the faces. (And of course, don’t miss the updates for the release “Arte Contemporanea in Indonesia”)

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I have been talking about my so-called “Indonesian book” for such a long time. My profile description at Trouble magazine reads: “she’s currently working on a book about contemporary art in Indonesia that will be published in Italy the near future”. Well, the near future is finally here. My book “Arte Contemporanea in Indonesia – un’introduzione” will finally be published and presented in Rome during a series of exhibition focused on South-East Asia and Australia called “AU.SIAN”, that I will curated with my collegue Roberto D’Onorio at the gallery Parioli Fotografia.

I look at this book as a step in the process of connecting different cultures via contemporary art and people’s stories around contemporary art. Thus the decision to link this book to the wider program of AU.SIAN. I’ll give you guys all the details of the November/December release pretty soon!

“Arte Contemporanea in Indonesia ” is an introduction to contemporary art in Indonesia and looks at how the cultural, social and political conditions in Indonesia have influenced four generations of artists. Through this book I didn’t just learn about art in Indonesia, but I also reconsidered my idea of contemporary art. I started became more and more aware of the context that surrounds contemporary art. I went around asking questions, rather then just see a show, come home and write my thoughts about it. I still consider myself an art critic, but I don’t want to criticize anymore. I want to understand and let people understand what’s behind every human expression. I’m convinced that by giving background coordinates, readers could see beyond the pretty picture. One of the aim of this book is also challenging the outdated western hegemony on contemporary art, a point of view that is still prevalent in Italy.

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Dal 14 al 2o Luglio curerò una rassegna di video arte indonesiana nell’ambito del Festival di Villa Ada. L’iniziativa è stata organizzata da MNAO Contemporary, il programma di arte contemporanea del Museo Nazionale d’Arte Orientale Giuseppe Tucci di Roma, e si focalizza su diversi paesi asiatici. L’inaugurazione è domani sera dalle 9 in poi… intanto beccatevi il comunicato!

Villa Ada Festival Roma Incontra il Mondo presenta…

Programma di video-proiezioni ed installazioni di artisti contemporanei asiatici diretto da Valentina Gioia Levy, con la collaborazione di Elena Abbiatici e Naima Morelli

Presso l’Art Project Space
Adagio Bar
A partire dal 4 luglio
INDONESIA 14 – 20 Luglio

A cura di Naima Morelli
14 – Presentazione scena artistica indonesiana e introduzione al lavoro dei tre artisti in mostra.

15/16 – Krisna Murti – Empty Theather – Video installation (multi-channel video), DVD 3 projections, 3’58’’, loop, sound, 2010.

17/18 – Fallen –Tintin Wulia – Video projection (single-channel), 18’43”, loop, 2011

19/20 – The Lepidopters – Slave Pianos and Punkasila – Video projection (single-channel), loop, 2014
Proiezioni dalle 21 in poi
Per la settimana dedicata all’Indonesia verranno proiettati tre video che rappresentano alcune sfaccettature della complessa e variegata scena artistica locale in rapido sviluppo.
Krisna Murti e Tintin Wulia sono pionieri della video arte in Indonesia. Entrambi cominciano a lavorare con i new media all’alba della caduta del regime del dittatore Suharto nel ’98, in un clima di libertà espressiva fino a quel momento negato.
Punkasila invece è un gruppo artistico nato a Yogyakarta nel 2007 da una residenza all’Indonesian Visual Art Archive, allora Yayasan Seni Cemeti, di Danius Kesminas. Il gruppo originale di Punkasila conta sette giovani artisti indonesiani più Kesminas, ma è costantemente in espansione e aperto a nuove collaborazioni, tra cui quella con Slave Pianos per questo video.

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My interview with artist Ashley Bickerton “Artists are dyed poodles dancing through fiery hoops for the one percent”,  is the cover story of the Australian magazine Trouble. (My second cover story on Trouble after Bindi Cole!)
The interview is part of my reportage about contemporary art in Indonesia.

Here the link to the interview

Here the link to the online version of the magazine



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