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'Intention, Please!' highlights purpose in contemporary art

Ni Nyoman Wira
Ni Nyoman Wira

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Fri, March 15, 2019  /  01:32 pm
'Intention, Please!' highlights purpose in contemporary art

'Limited Edition #1' by Muchlis Fachri (Muklay) displayed at the Intention, Please! exhibition on Tuesday, March 12 at Edwin's Gallery in Kemang, South Jakarta. (JP/Ni Nyoman Wira)

The exhibition Intention, Please! encourages people to explore the fundamental element of art, particularly within the contemporary art scene. Held from March 12 to 24, the exhibition is taking place at Edwin’s Gallery in Kemang, South Jakarta.

Curated by Rio Raharjo, the exhibition features artworks from more than 35 artists. Rio said he wished to see the development of artistic practice, especially among young contemporary artists. While there had been new explorations, he was keen to know if there was an intention behind the creation of an artwork.

'Odin Pay Tought' by Argya Dhyaksa.'Odin Pay Tought' by Argya Dhyaksa. (JP/Ni Nyoman Wira)

“In general, contemporary artists usually claim they celebrate diversity, plurality – they create a sculpture without using [common] sculpting approaches, graphic [art] is no longer created with a [common] graphic art approach. They’re free,” said Rio during the vernissage on Tuesday, March 12. “[But], amid the freedom, we have no idea what they want to create. I am aware of that phenomena.”

Rio added that the artists had diverse styles, from formal arrangements, to fantasy or imaginative, to emotional and objective accuracy.

A visitor stands between artworks by Ngakan Putu Agus Arta Wijaya (right) and Ruth Marbun (left).A visitor stands between artworks by Ngakan Putu Agus Arta Wijaya (right) and Ruth Marbun (left). (JP/Ni Nyoman Wira)

The exhibition offers something interesting for all visitors as the figurative-abstract artworks are divided into three areas. The first area near the entrance displays artworks where the intention and plan are aligned, the second area features artworks where the artists rely more on their intuition and feelings and the third area is a combination of both former areas. Visitors can also observe how the artists cope with what Rio called “disruptions”, such as context, aesthetic and medium elements.

Tom Tandio, director of Art Jakarta who opened the exhibition, stressed the importance of intention in an artwork as a medium for a story or critique to be delivered to the public. “The exhibition encourages people to ask the artists about their intention,” Tom said. “Many people don’t move forward to understand the story, whereas it can be the way to appreciate contemporary artworks.”

Read also: BaCAA: An assembly of Indonesia’s finest contemporary artists

'Ghost #1, #2 and #3' by Meliantha Muliawan. 'Ghost #1, #2 and #3' by Meliantha Muliawan. (JP/Ni Nyoman Wira)

In the first area, Wulang Sunu exhibits four fragments of black-and-white illustrations called the Light Hunter Series. A collaborative project with his American friend Kyle, Light Hunter Series tells the story of a child who is easily influenced by their surroundings. “The story came from how Kyle and I used pencils to make it more dramatic,” Wulang said.

The director of Yogyakarta-based multidisciplinary studio Studio Batu (https://www.thejakartapost.com/life/2019/03/05/young-artists-explore-preservation-of-memories-in-mixed-art-show.html) said the series comprised 24 illustrations and was related to the present time. “I chose scenes that are visually strong […],” said Wulang. “In this social media era, it’s very easy for people to get provoked [for instance] when they see others doing something. Our happiness depends on that. […] We think too much about other people, which makes us unhappy.”

'Light Hunter Series' by Wulang Sunu.'Light Hunter Series' by Wulang Sunu. (JP/Ni Nyoman Wira)

Meanwhile, artist Endira F. Julianda depicts how she views the night sky in 1923 (3). Displayed in the third area, her painting is surrounded by black fabric with LED light illuminating the painting from below.

Based in the West Java city of Bandung, Endira likes to preserve ideas in sketches based on her observations. “1923 is when the Bosscha Observatory [in Lembang, West Java] got its first telescope,” Endira said. “There was a discussion [in 2015] that Bosscha would be moved to East Nusa Tenggara, which means the light pollution has gotten so severe the observatory cannot operate properly anymore. I tried to portray the sky according to what I captured with my eyes, which isn’t as detailed as that captured by photos when it is transferred to the canvas, but I tried to give meaning to the sky’s impact on the observatory’s fate.”

'1923 (3)' by Endira F. Julianda. '1923 (3)' by Endira F. Julianda. (JP/Ni Nyoman Wira)

Other artists participating in the exhibition include Ayu Arista Murti, Cinanti Astria Johansiah, Hendra “Hehe” Harsono, I Putu “Kencut” Adi Suanjaya, Kemalezedine, Made Wiguna, Meliantha Muliawan, Mohammad “Emte” Taufiq, Muchlis “Muklay” Fachri, Ngakan Putu Agus Arta Wijaya, Riki Antoni, Ruth Marbun, S. Dwi “Acong” Stya, Ummi Shabrina Damas, Uswarman and Y. Indra Wahyu. (mut)