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'Maaf Senin Tutup': 1998 through eclectic eyes of Anggun Priambodo

Marcel Thee

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Thu, December 13, 2018  /  08:36 am
'Maaf Senin Tutup': 1998 through eclectic eyes of Anggun Priambodo

Bitter memories: The film slightly references the riots of 1998 as well as the political turmoil surrounding it. (Courtesy of Anggun Priambodo/-)

Anggun Priambodo’s latest exhibition is framed under the guise of a fictional character he created for his last movie of the same name, Maaf Senin Tutup (Sorry, Closed on Mondays) -- an artist named Eva who is trying to establish herself in the art world with her first solo exhibition.

This breaking-the-fourth-wall approach is nothing new for the artist, whose work throughout his dynamic career as filmmaker, curator, music video creator and more, has included a lot of off-kilter experimentation.

His last film, 2014’s Rocket Rain was an almost meditative take on divorce and the growing pains of young adulthood, which featured colorful vignettes of dancing human reproductive organs and other peculiar imagery.

So it really isn’t a surprise that the conceptual approach towards Maaf Senin Tutup includes this particular exhibition.

What is a surprise is the sociopolitical nuance the film (and exhibition) has. While it isn’t explicitly stated or shown, Maaf Senin Tutup suggests ideas related to the riots of 1998 as well as the political turmoil surrounding it.

Eva, the fictional artist at the center of the story, is depicted as being 10 years old at the time of the riot, and not really understanding the happenings around her -- only sensing something is off when she sees her father coming home from veteran rock band Kantata Takwa’s concert one day with a bloody gash on his head.

Actor-director: Artist and filmmaker Anggun Priambodo stars in the 56-minute movie alongside fellow filmmaker Tumpal Tampubolon. Actor-director: Artist and filmmaker Anggun Priambodo stars in the 56-minute movie alongside fellow filmmaker Tumpal Tampubolon. (Courtesy of Anggun Priambodo/-)

Anggun felt that the film’s timeline of 2018 made it somehow relatable to what happened 20 years ago.

“It’s been [20 years] since the fall of the New Order and Soeharto, which is really important to me personally. I experienced the moment,” he says. “That occurrence leaves a scar and will always affect any individual who went through it firsthand. Whatever history you go through, it stays with you.”

Anggun, through his published multidisciplinary magazine Cobra, actively campaigned for and promoted Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama over the years. Jokowi and Ahok led Jakarta as governor and deputy governor from 2012, respectively, until 2014 when Jokowi was elected as president.

In this story, Eva is a swimmer who is nearing the end of her twenties. With not much left to achieve professionally, she decides to refocus on an old hobby -- the arts.

“This leads to her packing up and moving to Yogyakarta, a hotbed of contemporary art and a place where she ends up meeting a long-lost friend named Jansen, a character who first made his appearance in Rocket Rain,” Anggun says, “The film dives into Eva’s search to belong in this new landscape.”

According to co-curators Mira Asriningtyas and Dito Yuwono (collectively known as LIR), Eva stands for Anggun’s fear that “historical amnesia and romanticization of the past is something that is far more dangerous and alarming than the riots, crowds and the rock that hit her father’s head”.

Get ready: Anggun Priambodo’s solo exhibition consists of the daily screening of his film, Maaf Senin Tutup (Sorry, Closed on Mondays), and the display of artwork created by the film’s fictional character, Eva. Get ready: Anggun Priambodo’s solo exhibition consists of the daily screening of his film, Maaf Senin Tutup (Sorry, Closed on Mondays), and the display of artwork created by the film’s fictional character, Eva. (Courtesy of Anggun Priambodo/-)

The idea for the exhibition wasn’t always part of the plan and wouldn’t have happened had Anggun not realize that it has been a while since he had a solo exhibition. His last one was last year’s retrospective alongside his friend, Henry Foundation, as part of their mostly music video directorial duo The Jadugar.

The idea of setting everything in Yogyakarta happened simply because of how influential the city had been for Anggun’s own creative growth when he was still an art student.

“There were always so many fine art activities, galleries and exhibitions that I visited back then. Those activities triggered so many ideas and energy to create -- to go to galleries and meet people there. It really refreshes the mind,” Anggun says.

The film, which runs at a compact 56 minutes, was shot in Yogyakarta and Ngawi in September. As he almost always does, Anggun also acts in the film, alongside Tumpal Tampubolon who was also in Rocket Rain. Music was provided by longtime collaborator Zeke Khaseli, while the edit was done by Kelvin Nugroho.

The event itself will feature three screenings of the film every day in one room, while another room will showcase Eva’s drawings, silkscreens, objects and installations. They will all reference the riot and happenings of 1998.

“Trying to simply remember those moments is not enough, so Eva encourages herself to depict and illustrate those events and memories in this solo exhibition […] It is a form of standing up for what’s right,” Mira says.

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The Maaf Senin Tutup exhibition runs from Dec. 1 to 16 at LIR Space in Yogyakarta.

Disclaimer: The Jakarta Post’s M. Taufiqurrahman wrote the subtitles for Maaf Senin Tutup.

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