press enter to search

Bagong Kussudiardja family exhibit: Art as tradition & legacy

Tarko Sudiarno

The Jakarta Post

Yogyakarta  /  Fri, May 25, 2018  /  08:39 am
Bagong Kussudiardja family exhibit: Art as tradition & legacy

Human story: Steel sculptures by Bagong Kussudiardja (JP/Tarko Sudiarno)

Looking at the late Bagong Kussudiardja’s sketch being exhibited at Padepokan Seni Bagong Kussudiarja (PSBK) in Bantul, Yogyakarta, a visitor spontaneously raises his two palms as high as his shoulders, then moves his head, creating a gesture of a Balinese performer dancing.

The sketch indeed easily leads spectators to imitate what is depicted in it, a Balinese dancer’s gesture.

“This sketch is very imaginative, like telling us to imitate the attractive, dynamic dance movement,” art lover Peter Wang who hails from Surabaya, East Java, said, adding that the sketch reminded him of martial arts stories in which the main characters learn martial arts from sketches on caves.

The sketch brings us back to the memory of the founder of PSBK, maestro dancer and choreographer Bagong Kussudiardja, who passed away in 2014. Bagong was also known as an artist of the first batch of students of the Indonesian Fine Art Academy, now the Indonesian Institute of Arts (ISI) Yogyakarta.

Together with the sketch, a number of the maestro’s artworks including paintings and sculptures are on display as part of an exhibition that also features his three sons Otok Bima Sidarta, Butet Kertaredjasa and Djaduk Ferianto.

Puppet show: Otok Bima Sidarta poses next to his painting, titled Dibawah Kekuasaan Gareng (Under Gareng’s Rule).Puppet show: Otok Bima Sidarta poses next to his painting, titled Dibawah Kekuasaan Gareng (Under Gareng’s Rule). (JP/Tarko Sudiarno)

Held alongside the annual ARTJOG 2018, the exhibition that will last until June 30 is entitled “Sirkuit: Ahli Waris Etape Satu” (Circuit: First Lap of Heirs) with curator Suwarno Wisetrotomo. Other artworks on display include ceramics and photos.

Known for his breakthroughs on modern Indonesian dances, Bagong was indeed known for his imaginative dance paintings that could be easily understood by his pupils. Yet, his paintings on other objects are also attractive and have been exhibited abroad.

Pope Paul II once awarded him with a gold medal for his painting depicting Jesus in Indonesian taste. He also received a gold medal from the Bangladeshi government for his abstract painting exhibited in a joint exhibition with Asia-Pacific artists in Dhaka.

His talents have apparently been inherited by his children and grandchildren.

Otok Bima Sidarta, his first son who was born in 1960, inherits his talent as a gamelan musician as well as an artist who learned how to paint autodidact in 1975. Otok’s artworks displayed in the exhibition were mostly on traditional art objects such as characters in the shadow puppet show stories, especially those of the four royal servants known as Punakawan comprising Semar, Gareng, Petruk and Bagong.

In his work entitled Dibawah Kekuasaan Gareng (Under Gareng’s Rule), Otok criticizes the use of the Yogyakarta special fund that is distributed to artists but creates no solutions for the problems in the arts. In the work, Gareng is described as playing with marionettes.

Daily activities: Sketches of Butet Kartaredjasa.Daily activities: Sketches of Butet Kartaredjasa. (JP/Tarko Sudiarno)

Meanwhile, Butet, Bagong’s second son who was born in 1961 and popularly known as a monolog artist, movie star and theater performer, dropped out from studying fine art at the ISI, but silently continued his passion in paintings.

In 2017, he featured in his first solo exhibition for his ceramic paintings entitled “Goro Goro Bhinneka Keramik” at the National Gallery in Central Jakarta. The exhibition was considered a success as most of his works were sold.

For this exhibition in Yogyakarta, Butet presented a few of his ceramic paintings, two ceramic sculptures depicting wild boars as well as some of his sketches and water color paintings. They mostly depict social criticisms and daily objects such as traditional markets.

Among his works on display include Mengencingi Jakarta (Peeing Jakarta), Nir Kutang (Without Bra) and Kegedean Cangkem (Too Much Talking).

Crucified: A photograph titled Palang (The Cross) by Djaduk FeriantoCrucified: A photograph titled Palang (The Cross) by Djaduk Ferianto (JP/Tarko Sudiarno)

Meanwhile Djaduk Ferianto, Bagong’s third son who was born in 1964, presents his photos for this exhibition. He applies “Ngeng” as the theme of his photos to describe a personal moment when he was inspired to create a particular composition for his music.  

“I feel a loss if I don’t capture every moment passing by in front of me through my camera,” said Djaduk, who always takes a camera with him wherever he goes, adding that the moments can not be repeated.

As such, he said, he treats photography as a stimulus to train or sharpen his sensitivity, or “Ngeng” as he called it. Among the photos he displayed for the exhibition include Palang (The Cross), Sunyi (Quiet), Rhythm Bende and Orkes Burung (Bird Orchestra).

Photos are also displayed by Bagong’s first grandchild Doni Maulistya, who was born in 1987. His collage photos mostly document his family life as a background.  

With his experience of participating in workshops on photography domestically and abroad, Doni created a story out of old and new photo collages. He took “Mother on Mother” as the theme for his exhibited photos.

The artworks of the grandfather, the sons and the grandson serve as a narration for the endless art legacy passed down from one generation to the next.

Your premium period will expire in 0 day(s)

close x
Subscribe to get unlimited access Get 50% off now