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Serupa Bunyi exhibition depicts gamelan with no limitations

Ganug Nugroho Adi

The Jakarta Post

Surakarta, Central Java  /  Mon, August 13, 2018  /  09:03 am
Serupa Bunyi exhibition depicts gamelan with no limitations

'Shock therapy for global political leaders' reinterprets gamelan using red chairs, gongs and cardboard puppets of world leaders hanging upside down From under the chair, mallets will strike the gongs with the press of a button, triggering the puppets to move and lighten up. (JP/Ganug Nugroho Adi)

Ganug Nugroho Adi

Surakarta, Central Java

As the sounds of gamelan echoed throughout the International Gamelan Festival, visual arts exhibition Serupa Bunyi (Resembling Sound) took place at Central Java Cultural Park in Surakarta.

Serupa Bunyi, scheduled from Aug. 10 to 15, presents contemporary works from five artists, all inspired by gamelan. The artists are Hanafi, Edwin Rahardjo, Heri Dono, Nindityo Adipurnomo and the late Hadjar Satoto. Each of them used different approaches in creating their works, showing that gamelan is more than just a musical instrument and that it can be depicted with no limitations.

The exhibition was opened by the Education and Culture Ministry’s Culture Directorate General secretary, Sri Hartini, on Aug. 10. It is being held in cooperation with the National Gallery of Indonesia, the Culture and Education Ministry’s Culture Directorate General and Central Java Cultural Park.

Exhibition curator Suwarno Wisetrotomo said the five artists were selected because they often interacted with gamelan in their creative processes.

“They are free to instill meaning into the gamelan according to their interpretation. And visitors to the exhibition have the same freedom to digest the works,” said Suwarno.

Edwin Rahardjo’s Harmony in Diversity, for instance, features a kinetic installation of a gamelan. Mallets beat the gamelan when keys are pressed, producing a sound that is different from the usual pentatonic gamelan sounds.

Edwin Rahardjo’s 'Harmony in Diversity' features a kinetic installation of a gamelan. Mallets beat the gamelan when keys are pressed, producing a sound that is different from the usual pentatonic gamelan sounds.Edwin Rahardjo’s 'Harmony in Diversity' features a kinetic installation of a gamelan. Mallets beat the gamelan when keys are pressed, producing a sound that is different from the usual pentatonic gamelan sounds. (JP/Ganug Nugroho Adi)

The installation also generates a light play from transparent puppets attached to it. Edwin said his inspiration for the piece came from the younger generation, as youth interest in traditional arts, including gamelan, was dwindling.

“The instrument should be presented with an expression, instead of just the way it is, in order to appeal to all generations,” said Edwin.

Read also: International, local gamelan groups gather at Surakarta festival

Meanwhile, Heri Dono showcased two installations, Shock therapy for global political leaders and Gamelan goro-goro. The former reinterprets gamelan using red chairs, gongs and cardboard puppets of world leaders hanging upside down from under the chair, mallets will strike the gongs with the press of a button, triggering the puppets to move and lighten up.

Heri Dono's 'Gamelan goro-goro' depicts a farmer’s effort to water rice fields through irrigation system. It was made in 2001 as a response to multimedia use in post-reform era, and very much open to interpretation.Heri Dono's 'Gamelan goro-goro' depicts a farmer’s effort to water rice fields through irrigation system. It was made in 2001 as a response to multimedia use in post-reform era, and very much open to interpretation. (JP/Ganug Nugroho Adi)

Gamelan goro-goro, depicts a farmer’s effort to water rice fields through an irrigation system. It was made in 2001 as a response to the use of multimedia in the Reform Era, and it is very much open to interpretation. (mut)