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ARTJOG aims for collaborative, environmentally conscious art

Bambang Muryanto

The Jakarta Post

Yogyakarta  /  Wed, February 27, 2019  /  06:42 pm
 ARTJOG aims for collaborative, environmentally conscious art

Hyperelastic: An installation artwork entitled 'Toleranintoleransi' by Handiwirman Saputra in ARTJOG 2018, explores rubber bands as a reflection of widespread intolerance cases in the country. This year's ARTJOG aims to promote artist collaboration and to focus on environmental issues. (The Jakarta Post/Bambang Muryanto)

Painter and sculptor Teguh Ostenrik has presented a video showing his installation at the bottom of the sea, which has evolved into a captivating coral reef, becoming home to a diverse variety of species.

“Nature has painted my canvas,” said the artist at the Jogja National Museum (JNM) on Feb. 8 in an event to introduce the upcoming ARTJOG art fair.

ARTJOG, Indonesia’s largest art fair held annually in Yogyakarta since 2008, is slated to run from July 25 to Aug. 25 at the JNM.

Ostenrik’s installation, titled “Domus Musculi” (Snail House), charmingly conveys the artist’s concerns over damaged coral reefs and features his collaboration with marine experts. In essence, his work captures everything that ARTJOG wants to be this year: collaborative and environmentally conscious.

Agung Hujatnika, who serves as an ARTJOG curator along with Ignatia Nilu, says that this year’s theme – ARTJOG MMXIX Arts in Common: common|space – is a metaphor for the earth as a “common space” that has changed a lot as a result of human activity. 

Agung says that in the Anthropocene era, where human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment, artists are expected to provide enlightenment on humans’ relationship with their environment in the broadest sense.

“The common space we live in requires a new way of reviewing, defining, repositioning, rethinking, reflection and criticism,” said Agung, an art lecturer at the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) in West Java.

The art fair will also invite artists to engage in collaborations, whether with those inside or outside the art scene. Ignatia expected the collaborations would produce fresh creations.

She noted that some artists presented their collaborative artworks in previous editions of ARTJOG. One of them is Mulyana, who took the 2018 ARTJOG visitors to explore the undersea world through his colorful knitted installation titled “Sea Remembers”. He created the commissioned work in collaboration with women who engaged in knitting as a form of prayer for a sustainable marine ecosystem.

Also at the event, LG Saraswati, a philosophy lecturer at the University of Indonesia, said art could serve as a medium to remind men of their behavior.

She cited artists who attempted to stop the destruction of nature through their works. Artist and architect Yoka Sara created an installation to reject the reclamation of Benoa Bay in Bali, while Gede Suanda Sayur fashioned an installation in Ubud, Bali, to prevent the disappearance of paddy fields.

ARTJOG invites artists to submit their works from Feb. 8 until May 4. 

Contemporary artist Handiwirman Saputra has been commissioned to create a large artwork as the icon of this year’s ARTJOG.

At his studio in Ambarketawang, Yogyakarta, Handiwirman is focusing all his attention on completing his artwork for the forthcoming Venice Biennale in Italy.

“After delivering my works to Italy at the end of February, I’ll start planning [the ARTJOG] piece,” he told The Jakarta Post.

For last year’s ARTJOG, Handiwirman created “Toleranintoleransi” (Tolerance-intolerance), an installation featuring giant rubber bands, to reflect on numerous cases of intolerance in the country.