Wednesday, February 29, 2012

curator's paradox

The Curator’s Paradox by Paco Barragán:

Image: Marc Bijl, Never Mind the Politics, Here are the Curators, 2005, poster.

Art in Indonesia - useful links


Ark Gallery (in Jakarta):

Asbestos Art Space (in Bandung):

Canna Gallery (in Jakarta):

Cemara6 Gallery (in Jakarta):

Cemeti Art House (in Yogyakarta):

CG Art Space (in Jakarta):

Common Room Networks Foundation (in Bandung):

CP Biennale (2003 and 2005 in Jakarta):

Edwin’s Gallery (in Jakarta):

Forum Lenteng in Jakarta:

National Gallery (in Jakarta):

Soemardja Gallery (in Bandung):

House of Natural Fibres (in Yogyakarta):

Indonesia Contemporary Art Network (in Yogyakarta):

Indonesian Art Now:

Jakarta Arts Council:

Jakarta Biennale:

Jatiwangi Art Factory:

Jurnal Footage:


Kedai Kebun Forum (in Yogyakarta):

Kendra Gallery (in Bali):

Kunci Cultural Center (in Yogyakarta):

Langgeng Art Foundation (in Yogyakarta):

Nadi Gallery (in Jakarta):

OK Video Festival (organized by ruangrupa in Jakarta):

Parallab (in Bandung):

Platform3 (in Bandung):

Ruang Depan/S.14 (in Bandung):

Ruang Mes56 (in Yogyakarta):

Ruangrupa (in Jakarta):

Salihara (in Jakarta):

Semarang Contemporary Art Gallery:

Selasar Sunaryo Art Space:

Videolab (in Bandung):

Visual Art Archive (in Yogyakarta):

Visual Arts Magazine:

Vivi Yip Art Room (in Jakarta):

Yogyakarta Art Fair:

Yogyakarta Biennale:

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Art and Reflexivity

Slavoj Zizek writes in his book The Ticklish Subject (p.237): “Is not the ultimate example of reflexivity in today’s art the crucial role of the curator? His role is not limited to mere selection – through this selection, he (re)defines what art is today. That is to say: today’s art exhibitions display objects which, at least for the traditional approach, have nothing to do with art, up to human excrement and dead animals – so why is this to be perceived as art? Because what we see is the curator’s choice. When we visit an exhibition today, we are thus not directly observing works of art – what we are observing is the curator’s notion of what art is; in short, the ultimate artist is not the producer but the curator, his activity of selection.”

Two points should be made.

First, the curator-as-creator is an overstatement. Curators play many different roles. And many would not describe what they do as creating on par with what artists do.

Second, reflexivity concerning what is and what is not art does not stop with curators, but is continued by art critics, art historians, artists and the general public. The curator’s choice does not come out of thin air; she or he is part of discursive networks on art, other members are artists, art critics, art historians, the general public and their institutions.

In conclusion, Zizek’s use of reflexivity is too limited as he portrays curators as autonomous in his story.

Monday, February 27, 2012

everything that has a point makes a circle

Sai Hua Kuan's exhibition at Yavuz Fine Art Gallery in Singapore.

look and look and look

Anne d’Harnoncourt advises us (in Hans Ulrich Obrist, A Brief History of Curating, p.179) to “look and look and look, and then to look again, because nothing replaces looking. Art is about looking – […] and as you look your are obviously thinking.”

To be with Art is all we ask... – Gilbert and George

“Oh art, what are you? You are so strong and powerful, so beautiful and moving. You make us walk around and around, pacing the city at all hours, in and out of our Art for All room. We really do love you and we really do hate you. Why do you have so many faces and voices? You make us thirst for you and then to run from you - escaping completely into a normal life - getting up, having breakfast, going to the work-shop and being sure of putting our mind and energy into the making of a door or maybe a simple table and chair. The whole life would surely be so easeful, so drunk with the normality of work and the simple pleasures of loving and hanging around for our lifetime. Oh Art, where did you come from, who mothered such a strange being. For what kind of people are you - are for the feeble of mind are you for the poor-at-heart, are you for those with no soul. Are you a branch of nature's fantastic network or are you an invention of some ambitious man? Do you come from a long line of arts? For every artist is born in the usual way and we have never seen a young artist. Is to become an artist to be reborn, or is it a condition of life? Coming slowly over a person like the daybreak. It brings the art ability to do this funny thing and shows you new possibilities for feeling and scratching at oneself and surroundings, setting standards, making you go into every scene and every contact, every touching nerve and all your senses. And Art we are driven by you at incredible speed, ignorant of the danger you are pushing and dragging us into. And yet Art, there is no going back, all roads go only on and on. We are happy for the good times that you give us and we work and wait only for those these titbits from your table. If you only knew how much these mean to us, transporting from the depths of tragedy and black despair to a beautiful life of happiness, taking us where the good times are. When this happens we are able to walk again with our heads held high. We artists need only to see a little light through the trees of the forest to be happy and working and back into gear again. And yet we dont forget you. Art, we continue to dedicate our artists art to you alone, for you and your pleasure, for Art's sake. We would honestly like to say to you, Art how happy we are to be your sculptors. We think about you all the time and feel very sentimental about you. We do realise that you are what we really crave for and many times we meet you in our dreams. We have glimpsed you through the abstract world and have tasted of your reality. One day we thought we saw you in a crowded street, you were dressed in a light brown suit, white shirt and a curious blue tie. You looked very smart but there was about your dress a curious worness and dryness. You were walking alone, light of step and in a very controlled sense. We were fascinated by the lightness of your face, your almost colourless eyes and your dusty-blonde hair. We approached you nervously and then just as we neared you you went out of sight for a second and then we could not find you again. We felt sad and unlucky and at the same time happy and hopeful to have seen your reality. We now feel very familiar with you, Art. We have learned from you many of the ways of life. In our work of drawings, sculptures, living-pieces, photo messages, written and spoken pieces we are also to be seen, frozen into a gazing for you. You will never find us working physically or with our nerves and yet we shall not cease to pose for you, Art. Many times we would like to know what you would like of us, your messages to us are not always easily understood. We realize that it cannot be too simple because of your great complexity and all-meaning. If at times we do not measure up or fulfil your wishes you mus believe that it is not because we are unserious but only because we are artists. We ask always for your help, Art for we need much strength in this modern time to be only artists of a life-time. We know that you are above the people of our artist world but we feel that we should tell you of the ordinariness and struggling that abounds and we ask you if this must be. Is it right that artists should only be able to work for you for only the days when they are new, fresh and crisp. Why can't you let them pay homage to you for all their days, growing stronger in your company and coming to know you better? Oh Art, please let us all relax with you. Recently Art, we thought to set ourselves teh task of painting a large set of narrative views descriptive of our lookin for you. We like very much to look forward to doing it and we are sure that they are really right for you.


– Gilbert and George

Sentences on Conceptual Art by Sol Lewitt

Sentences on Conceptual Art
Sol Lewitt (New York, 1969)

  1. Conceptual artists are mystics rather than rationalists. They leap to conclusions that logic cannot reach.
  2. Rational judgements repeat rational judgements.
  3. Irrational judgements lead to new experience.
  4. Formal art is essentially rational.
  5. Irrational thoughts should be followed absolutely and logically.
  6. If the artist changes his mind midway through the execution of the piece he compromises the result and repeats past results.
  7. The artist's will is secondary to the process he initiates from idea to completion. His wilfulness may only be ego.
  8. When words such as painting and sculpture are used, they connote a whole tradition and imply a consequent acceptance of this tradition, thus placing limitations on the artist who would be reluctant to make art that goes beyond the limitations.
  9. The concept and idea are different. The former implies a general direction while the latter is the component. Ideas implement the concept.
  10. Ideas can be works of art; they are in a chain of development that may eventually find some form. All ideas need not be made physical.
  11. Ideas do not necessarily proceed in logical order. They may set one off in unexpected directions, but an idea must necessarily be completed in the mind before the next one is formed.
  12. For each work of art that becomes physical there are many variations that do not.
  13. A work of art may be understood as a conductor from the artist's mind to the viewer's. But it may never reach the viewer, or it may never leave the artist's mind.
  14. The words of one artist to another may induce an idea chain, if they share the same concept.
  15. Since no form is intrinsically superior to another, the artist may use any form, from an expression of words (written or spoken) to physical reality, equally.
  16. If words are used, and they proceed from ideas about art, then they are art and not literature; numbers are not mathematics.
  17. All ideas are art if they are concerned with art and fall within the conventions of art.
  18. One usually understands the art of the past by applying the convention of the present, thus misunderstanding the art of the past.
  19. The conventions of art are altered by works of art.
  20. Successful art changes our understanding of the conventions by altering our perceptions.
  21. Perception of ideas leads to new ideas.
  22. The artist cannot imagine his art, and cannot perceive it until it is complete.
  23. The artist may misperceive (understand it differently from the artist) a work of art but still be set off in his own chain of thought by that misconstrual.
  24. Perception is subjective.
  25. The artist may not necessarily understand his own art. His perception is neither better nor worse than that of others.
  26. An artist may perceive the art of others better than his own.
  27. The concept of a work of art may involve the matter of the piece or the process in which it is made.
  28. Once the idea of the piece is established in the artist's mind and the final form is decided, the process is carried out blindly. There are many side effects that the artist cannot imagine. These may be used as ideas for new works.
  29. The process is mechanical and should not be tampered with. It should run its course.
  30. There are many elements involved in a work of art. The most important are the most obvious.
  31. If an artist uses the same form in a group of works, and changes the material, one would assume the artist's concept involved the material.
  32. Banal ideas cannot be rescued by beautiful execution.
  33. It is difficult to bungle a good idea.
  34. When an artist learns his craft too well he makes slick art.
  35. These sentences comment on art, but are not art.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

the artist and the museum

Johannes Cladders states (in Hans Ulrich Obrist, A Brief History of Curating, p.57) “that it is the artist who creates a work, but a society that turns it into a work of art […]. In most cases, museums have failed to see the consequences of this notion. I have always considered myself to be a ‘co-producer of art […,] in the sense of participating as a museum – as a mediating institution – in the process that transforms a work into a work of art.”

Friday, February 24, 2012

the art of an art collection

Pontus Hultén states (in Hans Ulrich Obrist, A Brief History of Curating, pp.46-7) that art institutes need to have a collection, “otherwise the institution has no real foundation.” And, he continues, “the encounter between the collection and the temporary exhibition is an enriching experience […, which] produces an experience that is more than the sum of its parts. There’s a curious sort of current that starts to flow – that’s the real reason for a collection. A collection isn’t a shelter into which to retreat, it’s a resource of energy for the curator as much as the visitor.”

to look and look and look

“We don't have anything to say except with our pictures.”

– Gilbert Proesch (Gilbert&George)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

saying nothing

Ludwig Wittgenstein: “In art it is hard to say anything as good as: saying nothing.” (In Culture and Value, trans. P. Winch (Chicago: The Chicago University Press, 1984), p.23.)

Wittgenstein can obviously not mean that a blank page is poem or that a blank canvas is a painting – let alone captivating works of art – but what he could mean is that artists should stop producing cynical art just to feed the hungry beasts (their ego, their wallet, etc.) – the spot paintings by Damien Hirst come to mind (shown simultaneously at the eleven braches of Gagosian Gallery). The art market gone wild wasn’t an issue in Wittgenstein’s time. A better explanation, therefore, is that he urges artists to show and not to tell. But, to be honest, what Wittgenstein really means is a mystery to me.

Image: Damien Hirst, ‘Vipera Lebetina’, 2012, silkscreen print with glaze (70x63.5cm).

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Alternatives to explanation

1. Don’t write at all. Don’t say a word. Be communicative by remaining silent.

2. Describe things, but as soon as you think about illuminating the whys and wherefores, stop. Go back over your writing. If you find that you slipped up, remove the offending passages.

3. Walk, walk, walk. Sooner or later something will distract you.

4. Make your writing so intensely personal that no one would even think that you were trying to explain something.

5. Confront your need to explain. Know where the thing is that you want to explain and then avoid it at all costs. Write around it, but never touch it. It will glow the way that phosphorescent fish in the water do.

6. There’s always more than one route to the same place; another way to say this is that multiple routes go to the same place. Find one of the other routes to the thing and describe it. Your reader will wind up in the same place, as if by magic.

7. Tell a story, but don’t say why.

James Pritchett (John Cage scholar at Princeton)


I have nothing to say

and I am saying it

and that is poetry

as I needed it

– John Cage (composer&poet)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

exhibition at Platform3, Bandung

'Like' is Yusuf Ismail's solo exhibition at Platform3 (25 February - 25 March, 2012).

Address: Jalan Cigadung Raya Tengah no.40, Bandung.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

'Tote' by Richter and how to speak about art?

Don DeLillo writes in his short story 'Looking at Meinhof' about the series ‘October 18, 1977’ by Gerhard Richter:

"Tell me what you see. Honestly. I want to know."


"I realise now that the first day I was only barely looking. I thought I was looking, but I was only getting a bare inkling of what's in these paintings. I'm only just starting to look."

They stood looking, together, at the coffins and trees and crowd. […]

"And what do you feel when you look?" he said.

"I don't know. It's complicated."

"Because I don't feel anything."

"I think I feel helpless. These paintings make me feel how helpless a person can be."

"Is that why you're here three straight days? To feel helpless?" he said.

"I'm here because I love the paintings. More and more. At first I was confused, and still am, a little. But I know I love the paintings now."

Image: 'Tote (Dead)' by Gerhard Richter (1988).

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Discussion: Censorship in the visual arts in Indonesia

Public Discussion

Censorship in the visual arts in Indonesia after 1998:

paradoxes of a practice in a changing media landscape

Friday, 17th February 2012, 07.00 pm


Antariksa - cultural researcher, KUNCI Cultural Studies Center,

iCAN (Indonesian Contemporary Art Network)

Agung Kurniawan - artist, Artistic Director of Kedai Kebun Forum

Raihul Fadjri - journalist, TEMPO

Introduction and moderation: Katerina Valdivia Bruch - independent curator, Berlin

As we know, internet and social media have been used in the last years for political movements, such as the revolutionary wave of civil demonstrations in the Arab World, known as the Arab Spring or the mass demonstrations of Occupy Wall Street that started in New York last year. In fact, freedom of expression should be a common consensus in arts and media practices.

After Suharto's demise, the government weakened its banning mechanisms on arts practices. Since then, there has been a shift from a state-ruled control to a blurred practice organised by some radical groups, but also by individuals giving definitions on morality and public behaviour.Additionally, after passing the anti pornography bill in 2008, the arts scene has been affected by conservative movements that are against the pluralism and diversity of cultural expressions in the world's biggest archipelago. In this environment, media plays a major role in the audience reception of censorship matters.

The discussion will address some censorship cases in Indonesian visual arts in the Reformasi Era and reflect on current censorship (and self-censorship) practices in a changing media landscape full of contradictions.

Four different perspectives on the same topic will open a discussion with the audience. The public is invited to join the talk and participate in the discussion.

The discussion is organised by Katerina Valdivia Bruch as part of her residency at Langgeng Art Foundation.

Curatorial Residency supported by the Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations (IfA).

Langgeng Art Foundation

Jalan Suryodiningratan 37

Yogyakarta 55141



Pinkswing Park © Agus Suwage, Davy Linggar, 2005

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Oma Anna - design and crafts

Oma Anna excels in high-quality designs executed with care and a keen eye for details. All Oma Anna products are hand-made using only the finest materials and printmaking techniques. All the products are for sale in the shop in Bandung, online and at Dia.Lo.Gue. Art Space (Kemang, Jakarta) and Selasar Sunaryo Art Space. Oma Anna was established by Mei Suling in Bandung in 2009. Recently, it relocated to Jalan Cibeunying Kolot III no.41 (also known as the orange house), which is nearby artist initiative spaces Ruang Depan/S.14 and Platform3. Come and check out the latest designs at Oma Anna’s new location. See here for a map.

Friday, February 3, 2012

exhibition at Semarang Contemporary Art Gallery

‘Natural’ and ‘Forced’ Assimilation

Pluralism means not assimilating the population or citizens into a single new unified identity after the old one has been forgotten. (G.M.)

I have always been fascinated with culture within the greater framework of the history of human civilization. While art is only a small, but integral, part of this comprehensive discourse, I always want to position art as a way of understanding, exploring, contemplating, and embracing the vehicle of cultural history: civilization. History has become essential as a coordinate in mapping the future of my art! Political and economic history, and the social changes that accompany them are dominant factors that constantly inspire cultural development. At the same time, art becomes the commentary and never-ending testimony of culture.

(Nindityo Adipurnomo)


Semarang Gallery warmly invite you to


toekar tambah

Sunday, February 19, 2012 at 4 pm

Officiated by: Rina Ciputra Sastrawinata and Harjanto Halim

Hosted by: Jongkie Tio, Benita E. Arijani and Inge Widjajanti

Semarang Gallery

Jl. Taman Srigunting No. 5-6 Semarang 50174

T. +62 24 355 2099 F. +62 24 355 2199

opening hours: Monday - Sunday, 8.30 am - 4.30 pm

Launching of the catalogue toekar tambah with authors

Inge Widjajanti, Ay Mey Lie, Peter Lie, and Asmudjo Jono Irianto

The exhibition runs until March 10, 2012

Saturday, March 3, 2012 at 4 pm at Semarang Gallery

DISCUSSION: The meaning and relevance of

Peranakan culture in Indonesia nowadays

Speakers: Inge Widjajanti, Ay Mey Lie, and

Asmudjo Jono Irianto

Discussants: Chris Dharmawan, Donny Danardono,

Djawahir Muhamad, Harjanto Halim, Widya Wijayanti,

R. Soenarto and Triyanto Triwikromo

Moderator: Tubagus Svarajati

Saturday, March 3, 2012 at 8 pm at Jalan Gang Warung

PERFORMANCE: toekar tambah by Mella Jaarsma

Everybody is welcome to go to Jalan Gang Warung,

Pasar Semawis, after the discussion

Wednesday, February 1, 2012