The Jakarta Post
The installation Kotak Utak-Atik contains a message of sustainability for a consumerist society. (Courtesy of Museum Macan/File)
A new, interactive installation, titled Kotak Utak-Atik (The Tinkering Box) by artist Gatot Indrajati, has been unveiled to the public in the Children’s Art Space of the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara (Museum Macan) .
Kotak Utak-Atik takes the form of a sitespecific installation, with pieces shaped like cartoonish machinery constructed mainly from cardboard filling up the room’s walls.
Each larger piece is made up of smaller pieces taking the shape of machine components, some with moving parts. The surface is also decorated with marker pen drawings, illustrating wires and electrical apparatuses.
Also part of the installation are wooden creations from Gatot’s workshops, lightly hidden in the nooks and crannies of the pieces for guests to discover with the help of the provided flashlights.
While Kotak Utak-Atik is aimed at children, adults will also be able to rediscover their inner child as there are no age limits for the exhibition. However, younger children will still require supervision so that they will not damage the pieces.
Guests will be able to make their own cardboard creations and decorate them with the provided markers. They are also encouraged to leave their creations in the room as part of the installation’s interactivity.
While guests cannot bring home the creation kits and markers, they are allowed to bring home their completed creations as a keepsake. They can also use the markers to draw on the room’s walls, while the attached pieces are off-limits.
Gatot — who is known for winning the 2016 United Overseas Bank (UOB) Southeast Asian Painting of the Year with his piece titled Right or Wrong My Home,a mixed media painting inspired by the culture of metropolitan cities like Jakarta — said the idea behind the installation came from his childhood, when he used to create and tinker with his toys.
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@gatotindrajati dikenal dengan karya kayunya dan instalasi berukuran besar. Untuk Ruang Seni Anak, ia menciptakan "Kotak Utak-Atik" yang tidak hanya cocok untuk anak-anak, namun juga mengingatkan pentingnya berkelanjutan. . "Kesempatan ini merupakan sebuah wadah bagi saya untuk berkembang sebagai seniman dunia yang bertujuan menjangkau audiens luas. Selain itu, saya juga mengajak pengunjung untuk mempergunakan imajinasi mereka,” jelas Gatot. —— Gatot Indrajati is known for his signature woodwork and large-scale pieces. For Children's Art Space, he created "The Tinkering Box," which is not only suitable for children, as it also reminds adults on the importance of sustainability. . "This opportunity has provided an additional platform for me to grow as an artist, to engage with a wider audience and to encourage people to put their imagination to good use,” explained Gatot. #MuseumMACAN #KotakUtakAtik
“Kotak Utak-Atik is likened to a factory that produces creativity. The message I want to convey is that when you buy something and it becomes lightly damaged, you don’t need to buy a new one. We can always tinker with it,” Gatot said.
He added that through the piece, he wanted to provide a lesson as a response to an increasingly consumerist society.
“The imagery of machines is an illustration of our way of thinking. It starts from a box and goes on until it reaches its ending. The machine produces creativity as well as a mindset to wisely use an object that comes from other global industrial machines.”
Known to have a penchant for wood as his medium of choice, Gatot said he chose to use cardboard because of concerns over the weight of the pieces.
“This is also an installation that I allow to be touched, and children will be able to construct something with cardboard easily, both in the museum and at home,” Gatot said, noting that the entire installation took three months to construct.
Museum Macan director Aaron Seeto explained that the commissioned installation, part of a partnership with UOB, would be the first in a series of commissions for the Children’s Art Space area.
“At least twice a year, there will be a new Children’s Art Space commission, and the artists will come from Indonesia and from across Southeast Asia. So, over the next couple of years, we will be exposed to artists from our immediate region who have a commitment to working with children,” Aaron said.
The partnership will also include sponsored school visits to the museum.
“I think art education is important for everyone, for society. [...] When we look around the world, the resources for art education are declining. It’s important for society because if we believe that art and creativity have some greater societal function — it helps us better understand each other, it helps us be more creative and innovative outside of the arts — then that means we all have to support art education.”