The Jakarta Post
Entang Wiharso with his work. (Courtesy of Cans Gallery/File)
Indonesian contemporary artist Entang Wiharso was among 25 artists from the United States and Canada who received the 2019 Guggenheim Fellowship.
Announced by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation on Wednesday, the Guggenheim Fellowships are given to artists who have "demonstrated exceptional capacity for significant exhibition or performance of their work or who have productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability and a significant record of publication as writers, scholars and scientists".
"This year, after considering the recommendations of panels and juries consisting of hundreds of distinguished artists, scholars, and scientists, the Board of Trustees has granted 168 Fellowships to a diverse group of scholars, artists, and scientists. Appointed on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise, the successful candidates were chosen from a group of almost 3,000 applicants in the Foundation’s ninety-fifth competition," said the foundation in a statement.
Entang's work has graced exhibitions and institutions across the globe, including the 55th Venice Biennale; the Beijing Biennale; the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; Museum MACAN, Jakarta; Museum of Modern Art, Gunma; Hilger Brotkunsthalle, Vienna; and Musée d’art contemporain, Lyon.
The Guggenheim Fellowship is said to help support the artist's current project, "Temple of Hope: Tunnel of Light".
“My Guggenheim year will allow me time outside the studio to travel and explore protected landscapes, historic sites and places changed by industry like the oil fields in Texas," said Entang, adding that he also planned to research and visit important artworks dealing with land, light and shadow. "Having grown up in Indonesia, I compare the Hindu and Buddhist temples in Java with the works of James Turrell, especially "Roden Crater", and Walter De Maria’s "The Lightning Field" in the US. I feel that their work, man-made structures like the ancient temples, underscore our connection to the Earth, de-emphasize the now and force a reckoning of our ephemeral place in the trajectory of time. Architecture changes and marks the landscape, creating and building memory and history."
As an immigrant, Entang said he never felt a strong emotional or cultural connection between the two countries, despite the fact Indonesia adopted and learned democracy from America. "It is important to me to reconcile these two places and I hope to consolidate a connection between my country of birth and my adopted home in my artwork." (sop/kes)