Exhibitions in Jakarta: West Java

Indonesian art is without a doubt some of the most creative in the world as a well as being the most colourful and created with insight. The capital city of Jakarta has numerous galleries and if you are heading into this city over the next month then you are in for a treat.

Edo’s Exhibition

Hand gestures carry many meanings, be it friendly, celebratory or obscene. An upturned thumb is a sign of applause, while extending the third finger into the air is rather rude as a review by Musthofid explains.

Edo Pillu produces images of hands in his paintings, on display in the exhibition To Whom It May Concern from Dec. 14 to 28 at the Koong Gallery in Jakarta.

His message is generally one of harmony and humanity, as found in Solidarity, Prayer, OK and Conquest. To make his paintings eye-catching, Edo delineates the drawing of the hands into images of the Earth’s surface viewed by remote sensing.

With his use of multiple colors — one painting contains up to forty kinds of color gradation — the hands themselves can hardly be seen in some pictures. Instead, they look like images of the Earth’s surface with boundaries between the land and water, as in Solidarity.

In Radick, the hands become tree roots thrust deep into the earth, with brushes of line depicting sedimentation.

Edo said he had been inspired by the recent deadly earthquake in Yogyakarta and Google Earth.

“I observed the cracks. I became fearful about God and that reminded me of the Almighty,” Edo said.

“The experience inspired me to bring forth such a theme in my paintings. I present hands … they represent human submission to God. We are only God’s apparatus, not his head,” he added.

The Koong event is Edo’s third solo exhibition and his first in seven years. His previous exhibitions were held in 1999 and 2000.

The 38-year-old artist, who graduated from the Indonesian Art Institute in Yogyakarta in 1997, also said that Earth was a symbol of peace, including harmony among people of different faiths.

“All religions are interesting to learn about. They teach good things. So there should be no conflict among the followers,” he said.

Edo paints with the aid of a digital program that sketches a plastic outline on the canvas before he starts work.

“I have never found Edo’s way of painting anywhere else. It’s a new technique,” said exhibition curator Ricky Zaelani.

In some paintings, Edo incorporates hands with other images. Solemn Tranquility carries images of the hands and feet; Universe shows hands shoring up the globe; and Blessed picture hands cupping a flower.

Music also plays a role in pieces such as Concerto and Harmony, to underscore Edo’s message of peace and harmony.

“It’s people’s choice whether to pick up Edo’s message as a reminder,” Ricky said.

To Whom It May Concern
an art exhibition by Edo Pillu
Dec. 14 to 28
Koong Gallery
The Dharmawangsa Square
Jl. Dharmawangsa VI & IX Jakarta 12160
Phone: 021 72788263

The other exhibition is by Argentinean artist Diego Menendez:

Diego Menendez, an Argentinean who has lived in Paris since 1981, is returning to Indonesia to hold his fifth art exhibition.

As in his last exhibition in 2005, portraits of women make up the great bulk of the show, backed up by a few landscapes.

“One of my favorite objects is women,” Menendez said during the exhibition launch at Duta Fine Arts gallery in South Jakarta recently.

The exhibition was opened by Argentinean Ambassador to Indonesia Javier Sanz de Urquiza on Dec. 12 and will run until Jan. 12.

Having been engaged with the Indonesian art community since 1996, Mendez presents with an Indonesian flavor.

“Indonesian women are typically reserved, deep in expression,” Menendez said.

Ambassador de Urquiza, who praised Menendez’s dedication to art, said that the portraits were brought alive by the body language the painter was depicting.

“Many of the eyes are closed,” he said pointing to Les Fauves, showing a woman resting her cheek on her palm.

“That’s typical of Indonesia. An Argentinean would not do that,” de Urquiza said. “To have an Argentinean artist displaying Indonesian motif here gives me… as an ambassador… pride.”

It is Menendez’s sixth exhibition in Indonesia since he first showed in Bali in 1996. He followed up with 1997, 2002 and 2004 exhibitions in Jakarta and 2005 in Surabaya.

Around 50 paintings — all acrylic on canvas — are on display at the gallery. Hailing from Argentina and now a French citizen, and dedicating the exhibition to Indonesian art, Menendez’s paintings are titled in three languages: Spanish, French and Indonesian.

“In English it’s ‘prairie’,” Menendez said of his work La Pradera.
The Indonesian titles are dominated by Balinese works such as Bali Forest, Sanur Beach Offering, Bali Romance, Tanah Lot and Besakih.

“I painted Tanah Lot in Paris,” he said.

Before embarking on a career as a painter, Menendez enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts in Buenos Aires. He moved to Paris in 1981 and became a French citizen in 2000.

Menendez, 51-year-old father of two children, came to Bali in 1996. During his two-month stay in the island, he held an exhibition in Sanur.

His second showing came the following year in Jakarta on the invitation by Didier Hamel, a curator and director of Duta Fine Arts.

“I am inspired by what I see in people. I work with my imagination,” he said.

During his brief stay in Jakarta, Menendez visited Puncak, a hilly plateau between Jakarta and Bandung popular for its cool weather and scenic landscapes.

Local art lovers might now expect the Puncak landscapes to feature in Menendez’s next paintings when he holds an exhibition in Surabaya next February.

Diego Menendez
Dec. 12 2007 – Jan. 12 2008
Duta Fine Arts Foundation
Jl. Kemang Utara 55A
South Jakarta, Indonesia
Phone: 62-21 799 0226

Review by Musthofid