The Jakarta Post
Pariaman-born artist Gusmen Heriadi poses in front of his painting titled "Bilangan Kosong" (Less than Zero). (JP/Jessicha Valentina)
The eighth installment of the Ciptadana Art Program, which is showcasing the contemporary paintings of Gusmen Heriadi, opened at the Plaza Asia building in Central Jakarta on Thursday.
Gusmen is no new kid on the block. The Pariaman-born artist has previously participated in various exhibitions, including the 2008 A New Force of South East Asia: Group Exhibitions of Indonesian Contemporary Artists in Beijing and the 2010 Korea International Art Fair in Seoul.
With the program, Gusmen is showcasing works that derive from his response to modern traditions and culture.
Themed “Deep Skin-Skin Deep”, his paintings appear as metaphors and speak about prestige, status as well as animals.
Gusmen told The Jakarta Post that his work titled Lingkaran Bangga (Circle of Pride) features animal skin paintings, which refers to the pride people feel when wearing shoes or fashion items made from animal skins.
“This [pride] makes people forget that there is a murder behind it,” he said.
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Unlike regular contemporary paintings, each of Gusmen's works comes with thought-provoking prose, which aims to generate multiple interpretations.
“I do not want to guide people to understand my works,” he said, adding that everyone had the freedom to interpret his works based on their personal experiences.
In addition to thought-provoking prose, his paintings also feature fabrics, adding texture to the works, making it even more interesting.
The exhibition’s curator, Emmo Italiaander, said the program always looked for thought-provoking artwork.
Italiaander added that he first saw Gusmen’s works at ARTJOG, the largest Indonesian contemporary art exhibition and bazaar, two years ago.
“I had never seen something like that in [Indonesia] before,” he said.
“Deep Skin-Skin Deep” runs until Dec. 14 and is open to the public from Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (kes)