Arts |

ARTJOG 2018: Enlightenment Though Art

Arts | 2 July 2018

The biggest International contemporary art event in Yogyakarta, ARTJOG 2018 featured a fresh look with “Enlightenment: Towards Various Futures”,  explores the dichotomy between reality and the challenge of global digital culture.

Mulyana’s installation ‘Sea Remembers’ created an undersea atmosphere with its colourful coral reefs and fish.
Photo courtesy of ARTJOG 2018/NOW!JAKARTA

RTJOG was officially opened by Head of Creative Economy Agency (Bekraf) Triawan Munaf at Jogjakarta National Museum in early May.  Now in its eleventh year, the month-long event presented more visual art unlike in previous years, and saw more than 2,000 visitors on opening day.

54 artists showcased their work including paintings, sculpture, photography, cinematography, new media art, art installations, mixed media, and performance. Curators invited submissions from Indonesia and overseas and saw work from  Malaysia, the Philippines, Australia, China, Germany and the United States.

Three floors of the Jogja National Museum treated visitors to a visual nirvana of sorts. Some visitors marvelled at some of the revelations they experienced at the event.

Eko Nugroho – Carnival Trap (left) and  Mella Jaarsma - "Bind and Blind" (right)

The exhibition series consisted of display art, curatorial tours, meeting the artist, special daily performances which were organised to help them understand the message of ‘Enlightenment’, which was adapted by social and everyday life.    

On entering the venue, visitors were impressed by the knitting work of this year’s commissioned artist, Mulyana. Established in the dome room, Mulyana’s installation ‘Sea Remembers’ created an undersea atmosphere with its colourful coral reefs and fish. As creative process, Mulyana invited local women from Sleman, a city district in Yogyakarta Special Region to build his handmade art installation.

According to him, the underwater world is mysterious and some people are afraid of what lies beneath.The peculiarities and wonders that the underwater world provides inspire him to emphasise the dual perception towards the mysteries of the ocean with colourful visual displays.  

The  installations by Bandu Darmawan – Pernyataan Tidak Tertulis (Unwritten Statement).

Dutch-born artist Mella Jaarsma’s work is a collection of photographs of navels. The work, entitled ‘Binds and Blinds’, was made by collecting 600 selfie photos of people’s navel, taken from all over Indonesia. Jaarsma is concerned about intolerance and the power people hold over others and the imposition of their moral values. It manifests, she says, in the symbol of bind and blind, which describes the chaos of morality today.

Indonesian artist Ichwan Noor featured a Chinese God of War installation, through the portrayal of Guan Yu as the presentation of a metaphor of Chinese influence in a global constellation. Guan Yu is worshiped for his loyalty and honesty, and symbolises the nature of a knight who always keeps his promise and is faithful to his oath. He deconstructed the idea of physical war as perceived with invisible war using the power of technology, economy, culture, industrialisation.

ARTJOG 2018’s curator Bambang Witjaksono described the exhibition this year as looking at the link between art experimentation, art history, and art reception.“Enlightenment: Towards Various Futures” is an attempt to explores the dichotomy in today’s world between reality and the challenges of global digital culture.

The team were inspired by the dark side of the world dominated by issues like ethnocentrism, ultra-nationalism, fundamentalism, all forms of violence and ignorance of the principles of humanity.

“Enlightenment for us can be interpreted more broadly, the real enlightenment of all efforts to expel darkness, bringing anyone who is trapped in darkness into the light.”

-Bambang Witjaksono, the curator

He noted that ARTJOG also invited artists to explore ethical and aesthetic interactivity and reflect through the revolution of renewable art. “We try to bring something different from the previous year, both in terms of the packaging and the visual perspective, as people could see from the variety of art. This year, especially, we want to highlight the power of the art that has the possibility of bringing enlightenment and hope,” Witjaksono added.

The exhibition combines intriguing art installations as well as art performance. 

More Time to Appreciate
Yogyakarta has always been home to fine art and artists. ARTJOG has been evolving every year similar to an art event on a global scale. This year, ARTJOG also appealed to digitally-savvy individuals.

Art is gaining momentum among millenials who attend art events more frequently in recent years. In support of this interest,  ARTJOG hosted “Dive into the art” an event where people spent time to take in each piece of art individually. Each visitor stood in line for a brief period if they wished to photograph any of the art work.  

To explore this dynamic festival, the 2019 edition is set to be held from next July.