Naima Morelli

Tag "indonesian art"

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 Italian magazine Artribune has  just published my review of  the Bali Bulè exhibition at Museo Archeologico in Naples, featuring artists Bickerton, Ontani and Sciascia.

Here the link to the review

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Dunque, per quanto surreale possa sembrare, è veramente successo. Ashley Bickerton, Luigi Ontani e Filippo Sciascia si sono effettivamente incontrati nella stessa stanza.
Chiaramente c’è qualcosa che questi tre eccezionali artisti, così diversi tra di loro per pratica artistica e personalità, hanno in comune. Bali.
Bickerton e Sciascia ne hanno fatto la propria dimora, Ontani vi soggiorna spesso fin dagli anni ’80, da quando ha cominciato a far produrre le proprie maschere agli artigiani locali.
Dico, riuscite a immaginarvi Ontani, aristocraticamente vestito di seta e con la sua elaborata parlata infarcita di giochi di parole, dialogare amabilmente con Ashley Bickerton, camicia da surfista e flip flop, il quale dichiara candidamente di sentirsi in certe situazioni “Come una scorreggia in una cabina telefonica?”.
Fortunatamente c’è Sciascia che funge da elemento di raccordo. Lui, molto gentiluomo noncurante col sopracciglio lirico, ma spiegato come un radar alla ricerca di stimoli tra cultura alta e bassa.
Ashley Bickerton possiede un dipinto di Sciascia che tiene in bella mostra a casa sua, una Giuditta dal seno rifatto e le labbra impertinenti che brandisce la testa di Oloferne: “Mi piace perché è un soggetto della pittura classica, ma è così chiaramente un’immagine presa da qualche porno!”
Ontani, il quale pure inserisce elementi suggestivi nelle sue ceramiche, conosceva Ashley Bickerton fin dagli anni ’80, momento più fulgido per l’artista americano. Sciascia invece Ontani l’ha incontrato proprio a Bali.

Il fatto è che Bickerton, Ontani e Sciascia sono bulè, è il nome con cui i balinese chiamano l’uomo bianco.
In una splendida mostra al Museo Archeologico di Napoli, curata da Maria Savarese, il trio si appropria ironicamente di questa parola, e dissemina balinesità tra le statue antiche della collezione Farnese del museo.

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The Italian web magazine Art a Part of Cult(ure) just published the interview I had in Melbourne with Edwin Jurriëns, lecturer in Indonesian Studies at Melbourne University. The interview is part of my reportage about contemporary art in Indonesia.

Here you are the link to the interview

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The inevitable destiny of every artists is to be know from the wide public just for a single artwork or an aspect of their more extensive production.
Duchamp is for everyone “the guy of the urinal”, Damien Hirst is the chap who did the shark, Eric Clapton is Layla’s ex boyfriend and so on..
If I say Haris Purnomo, what comes to your mind?
Babies with tattoos, of course.
Haris has painted babies with tattoos for almost 22 years – becoming one of the most popular Indonesian artists in the meantime.

The last solo show of Haris Purnomo “Beyond the Mirror Stage” at the Mifa gallery in Melbourne, Australia, has just finished.
The day of the finissage – you say “finissage” only in Italy and France, what a ridiculous name for “closing”! – the gallery Mifa decided to host a talk with the artist.
It was an interesting talk of 45 minutes with the SBS radio presenter Sri Dean and with frequent interventions from the public. The discussion was focused on the symbols used by the artist and his way of working.

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Oky Rey Montha is an interesting pop-surrealist artist from Indonesia.
I already wrote a post about one of his painting “Dark Venice” here.
Oky just had a big solo show in the Galeri Canna in Jakarta. The title of the exhibition “Brigitta Queen” is referred to his new character, a mysterious girl from Moscow with her face constantly hidden behind a mask.
Here you are a gallery of photographs from the exhibition that can give you an idea of Oky Rey Montha’s visionary world:

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In these days I’m preparing the bibliography for my book about Indonesian Contemporary Art.
In the last year I have tried to read every single publication, magazine, website, brochure, article, blog post about art in Indonesia and, of course, try to speak to many people involved as possible.
These are some interesting books and catalogues that were important for me to start orientate in this world:

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The italian web magazine Art a Part of Cult(ure) just published the interview I had in Melbourne with the artist Danius Kesminas, member of the Indonesian Punk-Rock Band/ Art collective Punkasila. The interview is part of my reportage about Indonesian Contemporary Art.

Here you are the link to the interview

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The Italian web magazine Art a Part of Cult(ure) just published my review on the exhibition “Rally – Contemporary Indonesian Art” at the National Gallery of Victoria.  The interview is part of my reportage about Indonesian Contemporary Art.

Here you are the link to the review

Here you are the link to the English translation of the review

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I just moved to Melbourne and, of course, before even having a place to call home, I visited the National Gallery of Victoria.
I was particularly keen to see the exhibition “Rally: Contemporary Indonesian Art”, featuring Jompet Kuswidananto and Eko Nugroho.
Actually, the choice of just two artists to represent Indonesian art is interesting.
I’ve found the show very useful for my researches, as the Australian perception of what contemporary art in Indonesia is.

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Most of Agung Kurniawan’s artworks are based on memory. In his famous charcoal work “Very Very Happy Victims” , part of Singapore Art Museum’s collection, he uses a raw irony to depict the situation under Suharto regime, from ’67 to ’98.

He explained me the genesis of this work during my visit to Kedai Kebun Forum:

“I made Very Very Happy Victims in 1995.  I was still a young an angry artist. It was a portrait of  myself and the society at that time because at that time Indonesia economy was one of the best in Asia. At the same time we lived in a kind of fascist regime. Everything was controlled by the government. Indonesia was the copycat of Orwell’s book 1984.
I asked my friends if they feel ok and they reply “Yes, I feel happy, I can eat at McDonalds, school is not expensive, I can have very cheap prize” . So I portrait my generation that felt very happy even though was oppressed by the government. This is the reason why I called it “Very Very happy Victims”. We were happy because we didn’t realize we were victims. If we realize it we can fight, that’s the idea. ”

More about Agung activities on:

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 Looking at the sheets of my Indonesian reportage stained with Java tea I really start missing Yogyakarta.

In these days I’m in my hometown Sorrento surrounded by mandarini’s smell, writing the first draft of my book about Contemporary Art in Indonesia.
I’m trying to recollect the memories of these days in Yogya, from the amazing studio of Heri Dono to the taste of the Pisang Goreng, the fried banana with melted javanese sugar and chocolate.

We don’t have original Java tea here in Sorrento; I’ve to content myself with the Lipton version.
Whatever, tea is tea. As Proust teaches: “As long as you have a madeleine, a pancake or a fried banana to be dipped in tea, you could recollect memories”, or something like it.
I feel like adding to Proust’s statement that all the contemporary art starts from a substantial breakfast. Definitively I’m on the good track.
Actually, can I have extra chocolate on my Pisang Goreng?

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