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‘Between the Lines’ art exhibition: Redefining history

Ni Nyoman Wira
Ni Nyoman Wira

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Wed, April 19, 2017  /  05:19 pm
‘Between the Lines’ art exhibition: Redefining history

Triyadi Guntur Wiratmo standing beside his painting 'Perjuangan adalah Pelaksanaan dari Kata-kata' (Struggle is the Implementation of Words) (2017) in which he depicts poet Chairil Anwar beside a fragment of his poem 'Persetujuan dengan Bung Karno' (An Agreement with Bung Karno). (JP/I Gede Dharma JS)

As a realist artist and apprentice of Indonesia’s ‘King of Realism,’ Dullah, Triyadi Guntur Wiratmo utilizes more than just a pencil in his work. He often combines his favored medium with acrylic paint, old stamps and, in his latest collection, red yarn. Those who want to marvel at Guntur’s latest creations, along with his other works, can visit his fourth solo exhibition Between the Lines which is being held until April 23 at Galeri Nasional Indonesia, Central Jakarta.

Presented by Galeri Nasional Indonesia and Rachel Gallery, the exhibition is composed of fifteen artworks displayed across three sections; his latest collection Menjunjung Sejarah (Acknowledging History), in which he stitches red yarn into his drawings, Lost in Fiction where he incorporates historical stamps in his artwork and Emo Ergo Sum (I shop, therefore I am), which derives inspiration from the father of modern philosophy René Descartes’s statement ‘Cogito ergo sum’ (I think, therefore I am).

The majority of his artworks feature historical figures, from Adolf Hitler to R.A. Kartini. In Lost in Fiction: Getting Pretty, Dear Kamerad ( 2017 ), for instance, he portrays Karl Marx receiving a hair cut from Mao Zedong. Meanwhile, in Perjuangan adalah Pelaksanaan dari Kata-kata (Struggle is the Implementation of Words) ( 2017 ), he depicts poet Chairil Anwar alongside a fragment of his poem Persetujuan dengan Bung Karno (An Agreement with Bung Karno).   

Having held an interest in history since he was little, Guntur said he wants to question historical narratives through his artworks. “History is written from the writer's point of view,” he stated, adding that this makes history subjective. “Thus, history is not a closed project, but an open project that needs to be interpreted further, so it can be more complete and meaningful.”

Triyadi Guntur Wiratmo (left) with the curator of his 'Between the Lines' exhibition, Rizki A. Zaelani (right).(JP/I Gede Dharma JS)

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With Menjunjung Sejarah, Guntur explained that he wants to merge both masculine and feminine elements by using both pencil and yarn, respectively.

“Many Indonesian artifacts are made from those components, such as our National Flag and keris (traditional daggers), so we cannot be set apart from them,” he said.

Guntur advises visitors to begin with his latest collection, Menjunjung Sejarah. “After that, they can continue to my other works, which convey ideas I have previously explored and redeveloped, such as ‘Lost in Fiction’ and ‘Emo Ergo Sum’, so there will be some kind of journey (napak tilas),” he explained.

The exhibition’s curator Rizki A. Zaelani praised Guntur’s creative process. “What’s interesting [about Guntur’s works] is how he draws, because he does it in a particular way,” he said. “[…] Guntur is very consistent as he likes to draw by making lines. His paintings are made from the lines that are stacked together.”

“At this exhibition, I encourage the visitors to see ‘between the lines,’ to examine what is behind Guntur’s paintings,” Rizki stated.

Aside from working as a lecturer at the Bandung Institute of Technology, Guntur has held a number of solo exhibitions, among them are Emo Ergo Sum in Singapore in 2012 and Historypia Project at Rachel Gallery, Jakarta, in 2011. He was also the winner of the 2002 Recommended Illustrator Award at the 2002 Bratislava International Illustration Biennale. (asw)