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Nadi Gallery Exhibition: Jakarta

Jakarta is a haven for lovers of the arts with numerous museums, galleries and dance performances. Across Jakarta there are some mediocre galleries and then there are the shit ones, but, there are those galleries which are in the top range and Nadi Gallery is one of these.

The Nadi Gallery is an art gallery founded by Biantoro Santoso, a young collector of Indonesian art. His devotion for art and his desire to take part in promoting contemporary art in Indonesia have led to the existence of this gallery.

And now, the Nadi Gallery is hosting the launch of a new art book, titled Indonesian Contemporary Art Now, written by Marc Bollansee and Enin Supriyanto. At the same time, the gallery is hosting an exhibition premiering new works by artists listed in the book as Carla Bianpoen reports.

Although the book and the exhibition do not provide a comprehensive view of Indonesian contemporary art, they do provide a look at some of the most highly esteemed artists in the art market today. These include artists with local recognition and those who have acquired international fame.

Particularly intriguing in the exhibition is how themes and tones have undergone unexpected changes. Budi Kustoarto, for instance, comes up with an acrylic painting featuring a male figure in an upside-down position, one hand in a strangling action on his throat, his legs hooked into a beautiful bra. Interestingly, women’s lingerie is also featured by I Wayan Sujana Suklu, while Pintor Sirait keeps to women’s shoes in etched and welded stainless steel.

Dikdik Sayadikumullah, known for his spiritually charged paintings in dark blurs, now seems to have picked up the contemporary mood in vibrant, albeit blurred colors. Arahmaiani, who usually takes a stance of protest or critique expressed in performance or installation art, presents photography in c-print comparing Shenzen (China) and Yogyakarta.

Agus Suwage, known for using his own image to express his opinions, now takes his inspiration from famous personalities like Yoko Ono and John Lennon. Heri Dono, world famous for his reinvented wayang images to comment on political issues, is now poking fun at home affairs, reshaping the islands on the Indonesian map into creatures of his imagination.

Meanwhile, the latest in Astari Rasjid’s series of bronze bags features Micky Mouse sitting on a pistol-filled bag carved with the words “Holy Shit“, while the installation of finely executed art books in aluminum by S. Teddy D is surprising because it misses his usual sharp edges. Titarubi has redone a previous installation in Reflections of Allah in the Smallest Beings.

Others are presenting works that either sustain their previous modes, already well known to the public, or have been exposed earlier but remain of note.

These include works by Agung Kurniawan, Anusapati, Aris Prabawa, Ay Tjoe Christine, Ayu Arista Murti, Dadang Christanto, Entang Wiharso, Handiwirman Saputra, I GAK Murniasih, I Made Wianta, I Nyoman Erawan, Jumaldi Alfi, Rudi Mantofani, Sekar Jatiningrum, S. Teddy D, Ugo Untoro, Yuli Prayitno, Yunizar and Yusra Martunus.

Both gallery owner Biantoro Santoso and the exhibition’s curator Enin Supriyanto have expressed hope that the exhibition, in conjunction with the launch of the book Indonesian Contemporary Art, will contribute to the promotion of Indonesian artists both locally and internationally. The current worldwide boom in Chinese art, including in Indonesia, has stirred artists and those concerned with Indonesian art out of their complaceny.

Certainly, books and exhibitions alone will not do the job.

Commitment, consistency, hard work, discipline, creative imagination and above all quality, are the most important values that both artists and galleries must abide by.

Evidently, all of these things can be found at the exhibition at Nadi Gallery.

Indonesian Contemporary Art Now: Jan. 7-23
Nadi Gallery
Jl. Kembang Indah III, Blok G3 No. 4-5, Puri Indah, Jakarta
Tel. (021) 5818129