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Art show sheds light on cross-cultural ties

Stevie Emilia

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Fri, September 28, 2018 | 08:49 am
Art show sheds light on cross-cultural ties

Collaboration: British-Indonesian artist Sinta Tantra’s Tabuh Tabuhan II in Prussian (Colin McPhee) is paired with Geometric balance 01 by Laurent Martin “Lo” (right) at the Reflections exhibition at Puerta Roja gallery in Hong Kong until Oct. 25. (Courtesy of Puerta Roja Gallery/-)

The works of 12 artists on display in the “Reflections” group exhibition in Chinese Hong Kong, held jointly between six renowned art galleries from six countries, reflects growing dialogue and interconnectedness across regions, generations and diverse artistic genres.

Curated by Puerta Roja in Hong Kong to mark the gallery’s eighth anniversary and running through to Oct. 25, “Reflections” aims to create dialogue between the gallery’s artists and those brought in by its six partner galleries in Belgium, Chile, Indonesia, South Korea and Singapore.

British-Indonesian artist Sinta Tantra is representing Indonesia at the exhibition through the auspices of the ISA Art Advisory, while Balinese artist Wayan Novi’s is on behalf of Singapore’s Art Porters.

Sinta describes herself as a painter working within an architectural scale in an abstract geometric style, and explores color, identity and narratives while questioning the function of spaces.

True to form, she has contributed Tabuh Tabuhan II in Prussian (Colin McPhee), geometric abstractions in tempera on a linen canvas, which was inspired by her fascination with American composer Colin McPhee and his explorations into the traditional Balinese gamelan orchestra.

Sinta explained that, while her previous works used color to celebrate spectacle, she had recently started thinking about what would happen if color was taken out of the equation.

“After studying the blueprint designs used to prepare my public art projects, I became fascinated by line, and how at times it offered more imaginative possibilities than color. Could total immersion be achieved through the simplicity of line alone? How does this relational experience alter the way we see and imagine?” said Sinta.

Largely known for her murals and public installations and commissioned for various projects in many cities from the United Kingdom to South Korea, Sinta’s most renowned public work was the 300-meter painted bridge commissioned for the 2012 London Olympics.

Sinta said she felt immensely fortunate that she could travel the world as an artist–exhibiting her art, doing commissions and making projects.

Geometry of nature: The meditative Japanese paper work titled Leiunare #07, Estratum Series (left) by Spanish artist Javier León Pérez resonates with Whorl, a coiled feather sculpture by British artist Kate MccGwire.Geometry of nature: The meditative Japanese paper work titled Leiunare #07, Estratum Series (left) by Spanish artist Javier León Pérez resonates with Whorl, a coiled feather sculpture by British artist Kate MccGwire. (Courtesy of Puerta Roja Gallery/-)

“[Traveling] also inspires me to look at the world differently. I meet new people, see new sights and experience new things,” she said. “This can directly affect my art, since even the light varies depending on the part of the world. It’s also amazing — and a privilege — to witness the impact of art globally. We share a lot more in common than we often think.”

Sinta’s piece is juxtaposed against Geometric balance 01, a gravity-defying bamboo sculpture by Laurent Martin “Lo”, who is renowned for his exquisite bamboo creations.

A member of the Royal British Society of Sculptors who currently lives and works in Spain, Lo was born in France and trained as a visual artist, but has worked for many years as a creative director in the advertising and fashion industries. 

His first encounter with bamboo was entirely incidental, but as he recalled, “it was love at first slight”. Bamboo became his obsession, a passion so strong that drove him to become a full-time artist and embark on a journey of discovery he refers to as “Bamboo Routes”.

Cross-cultural: Wayan Novi’s Growing Bloom (right) is paired with María García-Ibáñez’s Cradle at the exhibition.Cross-cultural: Wayan Novi’s Growing Bloom (right) is paired with María García-Ibáñez’s Cradle at the exhibition. (Courtesy of Puerta Roja Gallery/-)

“I work with geometry using bamboo, its own structure and natural movement. I draw in the air, creating calligraphy made of bamboo gestures, threads, lines and spheres used for balance and in order to build organic environments. The meeting point is the fullness and the void, what is interpreted and what is not,” he said.

Lo found Sinta’s geometric works fascinating, as they used colors and graphic lines to create architectural environments in a bidimensional space.

“I particularly like how Sinta’s and my works are complementary in how they’re looking for balance. In a fourth dimension, our works could probably merge,” he said.

The work by Wayan Novi, a Balinese artist who works and lives in Yogyakarta, is no less fascinating. The 29-year-old is known for his persistence in exploiting the eye’s insensitivity to details through his imaginative natural landscapes.

Wayan’s Growing Bloom, an intuitive piece in acrylic on canvas, is paired with María García-Ibáñez’s Cradle, a series of meticulously detailed pencil drawings that explore memory and intimacy through everyday objects.

Puerta Roja founder and director Adriana Alvarez-Nichol, who is also the current co-president of the Hong Kong Art Gallery Association, said that by inviting like-minded galleries to co-curate the exhibition, “Reflections” was a statement on the power of collaboration and cross-cultural dialog.

Founded in 2010, the gallery has a dual-pronged mission to expand appreciation for Latin American and Spanish art across the Asia-Pacific and to increase awareness of the region’s rich contributions to the global artistic landscape.

“The hidden but strong connections between our different artists will create an eclectic and strong exhibition that challenges traditional categorizations or demarcations for gallery exhibitions,” she said.

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