Fetish Art Project: Seminyak, Bali

The Fetish Object Art Project #1 exhibit opened July 27 at the Biasa Art Space to a large crowd of people who came for more than just cocktails.

This impressive group exhibit, featuring more than 30 local artists, presents a wide variety of artwork, from Agus Suwage’s fetish with cigarette butts encased within an acrylic guitar in Heaven and Lungs, to an installation by Astari Rasjid entitled Mirror… Mirror on the wall, who’s the beauty of them?? Barbie, you bitch!

This evocative installation features a collection of various silver-plated bronze objects set in front of a vanity table. On the wall above it is a heart-shaped mirror, and atop the table are a handbag filled with metal flowers and etched with the word “ENVY” in large letters as well as two small teddy bears that sit in the center. To the right of the bears is another handbag with “LOVE” engraved on it. On the stool is a woman’s breastplate with a cartridge belt strung across it.

The viewer gets an inside look into the minds of these artists and others, who are reaching beyond the ordinary and into the extraordinary realms of the imagination.

Of course, the resulting work are all open to the viewer’s interpretation, but some of these pieces carry a clear message, and Fetish succeeds in exposing the illusory nature of the world in which we live and how we have become obsessed with things that have no meaning.

In contrast, the artists reveal how objects we may consider common can be transformed into something beautiful and unique when reconstructed or displayed in a new context.

My Bike Friend by Yuli Prayitno, created out of an actual, life-size bicycle with a silicon-rubber hand for a seat, along with the collection of 10 objects entitled Keep on Moving by Cahyo Basuki Yop, both deal with ways in which we transport objects or ourselves, and how our lives are always in motion.

While some of the works focus more on the artist’s personal dreams, desires or sufferings, others such as Tote Bag explores the politics of violence in societies around the world.

In this poignant piece, artist Wiyoga illustrates how violence permeates all cultures. The viewer could surmise that we carry it with us wherever we go, but is it a physical manifestation or a state of mind?

An installation titled Herstory by Titarubi features a gold-plated brass sculpture of a hand gleaming under a bright light as it rests on top of fiberglass, and a small mirror beneath reveals the palm’s reflection.

Budi Kustarto’s installation of disembodied green legs is displayed on the gallery’s second floor. The legs are all in motion, as if they are rushing to get somewhere. The energy in this piece is almost palpable, as the viewer imagines where these legs are going, and why.

Fetish also presents photographs, video art and a variety of other media that reveal the unconscious workings of the mind — our dark thoughts, secret fantasies and fears that we keep hidden from others in our waking lives.

The exhibit thus posits the question as to our own personal fetishes and what they reveal about who we really are.

These talented artists have come together to exhibit contemporary art that attempts to break free from the rigid and standard definitions of “fine art”.

Viewers are asked to delve deeply into our psyche to determine what possesses true value in today’s society, and what objects are mere commodities that we can live without.

Fetish Object Art Project #1
July 27 through Aug. 31
BIASA Art Space
Jl. Raya Seminyak No. 34
Seminyak, Kuta, Bali
Phone: (0361) 8475766 / 7442902

Michele Cempaka