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Art Stage Jakarta: Setting its foot firmly on Indonesian ground

Carla Bianpoen

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Wed, August 30, 2017  /  09:03 am
Art Stage Jakarta: Setting its foot firmly on Indonesian ground

Check this out: A visitor reads messages on artworks shown at the 2017 Art Stage Jakarta. Currently in its second year, the event attracted 52, 240 visitors. (JP/Seto Wardhana)

For the first time this year, Art Stage Jakarta handed the ALEQS art award to important figures in the Indonesian arts scene.

ALEQS, which includes 13 categories, is an abbreviation for the qualities demanded of pieces of art to win the award — Authenticity, Leadership, Excellence, Quality and Seriousness in Art.

Coincidentally, ALEQS also sounds similar to Alex Tedja, the collector, who, according to the fair’s founder and president, Lorenzo Rudolf, came up with the idea. Alex is also the fair’s supporter and owner of the fair’s venue, the Sheraton Grand Jakarta Gandaria City.

Winners receiving the awards in a “long” ceremony at the French Cultural Institute in Jakarta included Haryanto Adikoesoema as the best collector. His collection encompasses local and international artworks, and he is also the owner of Indonesia’s upcoming first museum dedicated to modern and contemporary art, the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara (Museum Macan).

Internationally renowned artist Melati Suryodarmo, known for long performances and currently the director of the Jakarta Biennale, was awarded as the best artist.

Art Stage independent curator Enin Supriyanto was named the best curator, while Tom Tandio, the fair’s artistic director and president of the Board of Young Collectors who also founded IndoArtNow, was awarded as best young collector.

The winner of the BaCAA art award, Aditiya Novali, was awarded as the best young artist; Grace Samboh as the best young curator; ROH projects as the best gallery and the best Young Gallery; and IVAA as the best art institution.

Life Achievement Awards went to senior curator Jim Supangkat, senior artist Sunaryo and senior collector Ciputra.

An additional award, the Bhinneka Award, which recognizes the art scene’s commitment to advancing unity and togetherness of Indonesian society, went to the Jatiwangi Art Factory arts community of West Java, the works of which focus on research through art of the lives of people in the area.

The award ceremony left some pondering its worth, with more transparency on the judging criteria deemed necessary. Nevertheless, the winners were happy. As one young artist put it, he was grateful for the appreciation of his work that the award expressed.

For Aditya Novali, the award included an art residency program in Berlin, while Grace Samboh will work with Ute Meta Bauer, director of the Centre for Contemporary Art in Singapore, to curate an event next year.

Best young curator Grace SambohBest young curator Grace Samboh (JP/Carla Bianpoen)

ALEQS was just one of several new initiatives with which Art Stage Jakarta has widened its scope in Indonesia. It has also spread its wings to venues beyond the Sheraton Grand as well as beyond last year’s type of boutique for the elite.

This year, it went in all directions in its intention to make Jakarta a center of the arts. Seeing itself as a matchmaker with a mission, Lorenzo said, “We will make a mark for Indonesia on the global art map.”

Apart from the awards, the exhibition this year made headlines for improved quality of works and displays; the inclusion of graffiti and street art in Off The Wall; and a section for emerging art and non-profit institutions (Art Square).

The fair, which ran from Aug. 11 to 13, also saw the rise of some new galleries. CG Artspace, for instance, joined for the first time but made a decisive mark by covering its spacious booth with murals on three walls made by up-and-coming artist Kemal Ezedine.

Kemal’s vibrant strokes, wildly dancing across the panels, at some instances resembling undulating waves, or volcanic eruptions with sudden figurative images popping up, derive from Balinese painting and are combined with the artist’s own inner sense.

The artist said he was seeking to discover his own identity and the power of self. Many have expressed admiration at the gallery’s bold booth design, but Christiana Gouw, the owner, explained that all she wanted was to push the artist and highlight his talents.


Beautiful booth @christiana.gouw @artstagejakarta 2017 artworks by @kemalezedine See you again in #artstagejakarta 2018

A post shared by ART STAGE JAKARTA (@artstagejakarta) on

Another novelty was BAIK Art from LA, which stood out with a well-designed display of Indonesian artists like Mella Jaarsma, with new sculptures engaging with issues of the body, Restu Ratnaningtyas with delicate works and performance artist Aliansjah Caniago with a video showing him softly kicking a stone from Sunda Kelapa to the State Palace.

No less intriguing was Red Base Gallery, which stood out with its detailed captions providing background information on each work.

In Lawangwangi’s booth, Eddy Susanto’s stunning work The Last Supper attracted major collectors, resulting in a list of future commissions. Eddy’s way of juxtaposing Albrecht Duerer and the Javanese Joyoboyo at world’s end was created with an installation of a wooden table, on which Duerer’s images of the Last Supper were painted as mirror images (so as to read the messages hidden in Duerer’s work) with the figures shaped by Javanese script telling Joyoboyo’s story. Sitting on that table and looking up, one sees a light box with painted images.

Noteworthy was the Ota Gallery with Nobuaki Tukekawa’s huge canvas of Integrity and a miniature version of Zai Kuning’s work from the Singapore Biennale; Su Xiaobai’s wonderful blue painting at Pearl Lam Galleries; Michael Binuku’s refined ballpoint drawings at Rachel Gallery; Argya Dhyaksa’s farcical ceramic rendering at Rachel’s gallery; and Richard Winkler’s latest creations in green and red monochrome at Zola Zulu.

Nyoman Erawan’s glorious Shadow Dance with gold leaf at the Art:1 gallery left a lasting impression, as did Maharani Mancanegara’s exquisite installation of books Omitting Omit, and last but not least Izziyana Zuhaimi’s cotton woven work at Fost Gallery, with colors inspired by her prayer mat.

Although official sales figures from the fair, which attracted 52,240 visitors, were not yet available, there was a general notion of satisfaction — though some foreign galleries noted that Indonesian collectors tended to buy Indonesian works. 

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