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The continuous artistic growth of Bagus Pandega

Marcel Thee

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Wed, July 11, 2018  /  08:37 am
The continuous artistic growth of Bagus Pandega

Bagus Pandega (Bagus Pandega/File)

Lights and electronics are often incorporated into his works, interacting to create an optical feast from which it is hard to look away.

They also utilize a lot of musical instruments, such as electric guitars, drums, keyboards and vintage synthesizers — all positioned in unorthodox ways to create a fresh presentation, unique to the instruments’ sounds.

Record players, old radio transistors, lamps, LEDs and various other objects are also often seen in Bagus’ pieces.

Currently, Bagus, who was born in Jakarta but is now based in Bandung, West Java, is holding a solo exhibition, A Pervasive Rhythm, in Tokyo in the viewing room of the highly respected Yamamoto Gendai Gallery from June 9 to July 14.

For this exhibition — his first in Japan — Bagus is showcasing an installation that features 450 lightbulbs, most of which are attached to motorcycles as turn signals. These lights are controlled using a digital multiplex system to flicker on and off — or “blink”, as Bagus describes it — creating the appearance of a particularly eye-catching floating eye.

The piece, the artist says, represents not only the turns we make from behind the wheel, but also our future paths.

No limits: Bagus Pandega uses lamps, musical instruments, motorcycle engines and other unorthodox objects to create his art.No limits: Bagus Pandega uses lamps, musical instruments, motorcycle engines and other unorthodox objects to create his art. (Bagus Pandega/File)

Bagus studied at the Faculty of Fine Arts and Design at the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) in Bandung as a sculpture major. He is currently working toward his master’s degree at the faculty.

The 33-year-old has made a name for himself within the local art scene through his solo and group exhibitions, which include Disthing at Galeri Rachel in Jakarta ( 2013 ); Jakarta Contemporary Ceramics Biennale at the Museum of Fine Arts and Ceramics, Jakarta ( 2012 ); and Jakarta Biennale #14: Maximum City at the National Gallery of Indonesia in Jakarta ( 2011 ). He was even the artist-in-residence at Le Centre Intermondes in La Rochelle, France, in 2012.

Naturally, Bagus’ art has helped him win awards — he finished in third place at the 2012 Bandung Contemporary Art Awards.

Despite his many achievements, he works on his art with a continual sense of growth. When he first enrolled at ITB, he was overcome with curiosity toward art, and quickly learned just how little he knew about the subject.

“Even today, as so many things are changing, [such as] my knowledge and art, I still feel like I don’t know it all. I am still learning many things about art and trying to truly comprehend it all. This happens, of course, because art itself is always growing,” he said.

A Pervasive RhythmA Pervasive Rhythm (Bagus Pandega/File)

Bagus has a great understanding of what makes his art so characteristically his. His use of electronics to create movement, sound and light in pieces is utterly unique.

He is, however, also flexible and ready to adapt to different situations.

“Every artist has their own unique creative process, as well as different concepts. When you are faced with working abroad, you are handed a new ecosystem, a different culture. But those things challenge me; they give me so much experience. It is never easy but everything is always interesting,” he said.

Be the change you wish to see in the world!Be the change you wish to see in the world! (Bagus Pandega/File)

After his exhibition in Tokyo, Bagus will also hold a residency at the British Council in Liverpool, England.

Over the years, Bagus has worked on various pieces. But a few in particular stand out to him, including one he made at the Amsterdam Light Festival.

“Because it [the festival] was an open call, everyone from around the world could partake in it. It was also the biggest installation I had made, with a length of approximately 20 meters, a height of 2 meters and a weight of 8 tons.”

Utilizing a slew of music-making equipment and various electronics, Bagus’ creations are some of the most compelling to come out of the local art scene. It is clear that this is one artist who will go a long way, both at home and abroad.


Bagus Pandega at Yamamoto Gendai, Tokyo from June 9 to July