Entang Wiharso exhibiting in Berlin
Paper Edition | Page: 22
Entang Wiharso, Untold Story: Floating World, triptych, 300 cm x 600 cm. —Courtesy of Arndt Gallery
After Milan in 2010 and the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts in 2011, Entang Wiharso is now in Berlin from June 9 to Aug. 28.
The artist is known for his unique images, whose pure physicality and meticulously hyper-detailed style can both frighten and fascinate the viewer.
As Entang does not leave tradition for the contemporary, but rather digests it, his works are one of a kind.
Inspired by Javanese myths and legends — but also by the latest culture in the world — his artistic expressions reveal the state of the world as he sees and experiences it, often gruesome and harsh, but always with a tangible touch denoting wishful dreams.
In Berlin, Entang’s show tells his personal stories, or “Untold Stories” as the exhibition is titled. Entang has appropriated the title of Pak Harto: Untold Stories, which compiles the stories of those who were once close to the strongman in an effort to refashion the harsh image of the president whom many remember by the negative realities of the time.
In taking on the title of the book, Entang, however, does not wish to refashion his image, rather he wishes to tell the truth of what has happened in his own life. It is something he would never be able to tell us in words, he says.
In fact it is a love story, and the struggles to uphold true spirit in spite of cultural differences. His firm belief in plurality makes him link his personal experience to the historical differences that separate the three parts of Java into East, Central and West.
Two works in the show center around this theme: namely the installation titled Borderless Floating Island and the painting Untold Story: Floating Island.
Borderless Floating Island is like a stage on which a couple with their children are featured amid a tropical landscape.
The scene appears peaceful except for the fact that one of the children is lying on the floor, and the other has a neck twisted from front to back.
Looking from above, the “stage” takes the shape of the island of Java as we usually see it on the map. It stands on a three-part rock base, pointed down as if it were to be floated on water.
Numerous kris flung onto the rocks indicate the struggle, both of the couple and their children, to overcome cultural divisions (his wife is not Indonesian), but it also denotes his concern for the divides that mark the relations between Indonesians themselves and their neighboring countries.
The pointed rocks on which the stage is based indicate that, after all, under the ocean there are no borders.
In the painting Untold Story: Floating World, the issue is even more personalized as the three parts of the island of Java float over a landscape where a man is featured convulsively holding an umbrella as if wanting to protect himself from what is happening in the bloody chaos on the warring islands floating over his head. A female figure looks on.
In Paradise Lost, made of aluminum, Entang seems to have given up hope. But Interfere: Reclaim Landscape, a painting in acrylic and oil on canvas, features a couple lying together against the background of a tropical landscape, and the series of installations titled Expanded Dreams show Entang will go on to have visions for the future.
Aptly capturing the content of Entang’s works, a critic and journalist from Spain who attended the opening in Berlin said when looking at the works that she felt “500 years of the past and 500 years of the future”. This really is what this artist’s works are about.
“Entang Wiharso: Untold Stories”
June 9 - Sept. 8
Potsdaner Strasse 96 Berlin
Ph+49 30 20613870
Fx +49 30 206138720