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ARTJOG takes viewers to contemplate relationship with environment

Bambang Muryanto

The Jakarta Post

Yogyakarta  /  Thu, August 8, 2019  /  03:12 pm
ARTJOG takes viewers to contemplate relationship with environment

Into the abyss: The prestigious Indonesian art exhibition, Artjog 2019, was opened at the Jogjakarta National Museum on July 25 . The event will take place for a month, including Handiwirman Saputra's installation 'Taman organik Oh Plastik' (Organic Garden Oh Plastic). (JP/Tarko Sudiarno)

The latest edition of Yogyakarta’s annual contemporary art festival ARTJOG features five special projects that center on environmental issues.

The Jogja National Museum (JNM) is the host for this year’s festival, which comes under the tagline ARTJOG MMXIX Arts in Common|Space, and also displays the special projects that include Handiwirman Saputra’s Taman Organik oh Plastik (Organic Garden Oh Plastic), Teguh Ostenrik’s Domus Frosiquilo (Leaves of the Equator), Piramida Gerilya’s Warung Murakabi (Sufficing Kiosk), filmmaker Riri Riza’s Humba Dreams (un)Exposed and Sunaryo’s Bubu Waktu (Time Trap).

Handiwirman’s work directly greets visitors because it is located right in front of the museum and is directly connected to the main exhibition room.

His work is basically a hole, measuring seven meters in diameter and five meters in depth, and he fills it with various kinds of organic and nonorganic objects. It seems to suggest that the various kinds of waste produced in the modern era have blurred the line between what is natural and what is not. 

“I directly worked at the location instead of at a studio,” said Handiwirman, who hails from Bukittinggi in West Sumatra and is known for reviving thrown away objects into artworks.

Handiwirman literally dugged the hole right on the location where it is being exhibited. During the digging, he found various objects, such as wires, rocks and tree roots. He then added other objects like plastic bags to plant bushes, water flowing in a ditch, statues, water sprayers, a bench made of stone, and a big mirror placed at the bottom of the hole.

Not far from Handiwirman’s work is Teguh’s installation, Domus Frosiquilo.

'Domus Frosiquilo' (Leaves of the Equator) by Teguh Ostenrik.'Domus Frosiquilo' (Leaves of the Equator) by Teguh Ostenrik. (JP/Tarko Sudiarno)

Teguh created a big dome made of iron bars. He then attached ornaments, created from teakwood leaves, to the dome. Inside the dome, visitors can watch a film that talks about coral reef.

Being inside the dome also gives visitors an aesthetic sensation of diving in the sea and enjoying beautiful coral reefs, that unfortunately, have been facing threats of extinction due to plastic waste, fish bombing and chemical pollutants.

ARTJOG MMXIX curator Agung Hujatnika said Teguh loved to dive and was devastated to see the state of the damaged coral reefs in Indonesia. Therefore, the artist liked to create works made of iron bars that he later sank into the sea as a medium for coral reefs to grow.

Teguh will sink Domus Frosiquilo in the Jikomalamo waters in Ternate, North Maluku, after exhibiting it during ARTJOG. Previously, the artist had also sunk several of his dome installations into different waters in Indonesia. Some of them have succeeded in growing new coral reefs.

From enjoying Domus Frosiquilo, visitors can walk to the west of the exhibition building to enjoy Warung Murakabi from Piramida Gerilya, a collaboration of interdisciplinary artists, that include Santi Ariestyowanti from Indieguerillas with Singgih Susilo Kartono from Spedagi Movement, Agung Satriyo Wibowo from Ekoliterasi Jogja, Lulu Sindhu Prasastyo from Sapu Upcycle and Lulu Lutfi Labibi.

'Warung Murakabi' (Sufficing Kiosk) by Piramida Gerilya.'Warung Murakabi' (Sufficing Kiosk) by Piramida Gerilya. (JP/Bambang Muryanto)

Warung Murakabi features a kiosk, with artistic pop culture accents from Indieguerillas, selling various local foods and beverages, such as coffee from Kulonprogo and fresh fruit juices served without the use of plastic.

In addition, Warung Murakabi also displays Labibi’s lurik fashion designs with affordable prices and Singgih’s installation that features bamboo-based bicycle, chair and radio.

Agung said Warung Murakabi would not stop at ARTJOG but would continue to offer a place for local food business practitioners.

“Within this month we have to find a new place for ‘Warung Murakabi’,” Agung said.

After re-energizing using the Warung Murakabi’s local foods and beverages, visitors can go up to the museum’s third floor to see Riri’s installation called Humba Dreams (un)Exposed, which was created in collaboration with Wulang Sunu of the Studio Batu.

Riri’s installation features a big curved screen showing an animation of the Sumba culture from East Nusa Tenggara. In the middle of the installation are also three statues of a human body in a squatting position through which visitors can peep unexposed cuts from Riri’s Humba Dreams movie.

Riri said respecting the dead was central in the life of Sumba people who still embraced the local faith of Marapu. They saved money so they could organize proper rituals to bury their loved ones.

“The dead cannot be buried before undergoing a series of proper rituals,” Riri said.

Through Humba Dreams (un)Exposed, Riri said he wanted to ask people to understand the complex problems that Sumba people are facing. Despite having one of the most beautiful natural scenery and tourism spots in the world, Sumba and the East Nusa Tenggara province remain one of the poorest regions in Indonesia.

The last special project is Sunaryo’s Bubu Waktu that was inspired by the traditional fish trap called bubu. The work is a big tunnel made of bamboo that also functions as the exit of the exhibition building. (hdt)

INFO BOX:

ARTJOG MMXIX will last until Aug. 25