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Jakarta Post

The quest for survival

  • Carla Bianpoen

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, May 7, 2013   /  12:41 pm
The quest for survival

Observatory of the Self. Courtesy of Biasa Art Space. In our globalized world where the pace of life is ever-increasing and the buzz of the new is all-encompassing, the need for identity seems to be more urgent than ever.

Belgian born, Yogyakarta based artist Sara Nuytemans focuses on that need with Observatory of the Self, an art work commissioned from the Guangju Biennale in 2012. It is now shown in Indonesia for the first time in the newly opened branch of Biasa Art Space in Jakarta (April 13-May 15).

Sara Nuytemans is an artist who keenly observes human behavior in modern life and in relation to the environment. She says that today people tend to be engrossed in outer appearance and material achievements. Sara sees such tendencies excessively hanging onto individualism and selfishness, resulting in less time assigned to listen to one'€™s inner self.

To look inside the self and be appeased with whatever you are, will impact positively on one'€™s relation to the environment. Observatory of the Self has been conceived as a medium for people to do exactly this.

Appearing like a space ship just landed on the floor of Biasa Art Space, Observatory of the Self has been ingeniously constructed as a '€œplanetarium'€. But instead of the motions of the heavens, the sky and the stars, fragments of one'€™s own body are reflected on the thousands of mirrored pieces that take up the entire interior. In the middle of the '€œplanetarium'€ is a bench for the visitor to sit and watch the rotating mirrored entity.

Sitting on that tiny bench in the middle of the huge constellation, one can imagine oneself amid an all-encompassing universe and be imbued with an overwhelming sense of being close to nothing in the face of such greatness.

 '€œWhenever I look at the sky, I realize how tiny I am. A gaze into the sky instantly gives me a broader perspective,'€ she says, adding that when she feels frustrated, it helps her to think of the unlimited space of the universe.

The right-angled mirrors in the interior are echoed by clusters of small circular mirrors placed on one wall of the gallery. Stepping in front of every cluster it reveals kaleidoscopic fractures of the body.

There is also a bed where visitors can lie down and watch a cluster of similar mirrors attached to the lamp shade above the bed. There is also a video installation that records visitor'€™s faces and replays them in
a similar fractured style.

Sara Nuytemans, divides her time between Yogyakarta and The Hague, has a Masters degree in digital arts from Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona, and a Masters in industrial design Engineering from TU Delft, The Netherlands.

Some of her major works include ArtLab 06 at the Venice Biennale of Architecture (2006), Special Mission to Mongolia (2005), and her collaboration with Arya Pandjalu on the video project BirdPrayers and Treebute to Yogja (2010) that won her the Szpilman Award 2010, an international art prize for ephemeral works.

Observatory of the Self

Solo Exhibition by Sara Nuytemans
April 13, May 15
Biasa ArtSpace Jakarta
Jalan Kemang Raya 20

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