In commemorating 20 years since the Reformation, Manifesto 6.0, a biennial exhibition at National Gallery provided empirical evidence of Indonesian artists’ transformation over the past two decades. The spirit of democracy influenced a lot of the artistry, representing—in a way—the golden era of contemporary art in Indonesia.
Themed “Multipolar: Seni Rupa 20 tahun Setelah Reformasi” (The 20 years of Fine Art in the Post Reformation Era”, the exhibition involved 61 artists who showcased their work in the form of painting, art performance, installation, sculpture as well as mixed and new media.
Dai Kurniawan, Fajar Kunting, Galuh Anindita Wardana, Justin Jafin Wibisono, Maharani Mancanagara, Patriot Mukmin, Radhinal Indra and Rudy Atjeh are among the artists whose work was on display at the exhibition held in May.
The artists—from Jakarta, Bandung, Surabaya, Bali and Yogyakarta—created a range of work, each connecting different time lines and building a cohesive link between the past and present.
Curated by artists who were born in the 1980s, the collaborative exhibition framed the age of democracy on how information technology influenced the art industry in the country, reflecting the difference between the artists’ idea in pre-1998 (guided democracy) and post 1965 events.
Selected by four renowned curators - A Sudjud Dartanto, Bayu Genia Krishbie, Citra Smara Dewi & Teguh Margono - the massive exhibition used three buildings at the National Gallery which classified into four focus areas: reality and environmentalism, pop art, spiritualism, and new media.
It is a retrospective presentation and at the same time we could see the multi polar approach on how the artists perpetuate tradition or take the social-cultural change as the inspiration of their artistry.
- A Sudjud Dartanto, the Curator
Yogyakarta-based artist, Fajar Kunting’s art performance “Perkalian” wowed art enthusiasts who saw his documented art performance in Kali Code river, Yogyakarta. He manifested the constructive realm of hoax in social media by acting as a gold miner digging out gold using a frying pan in the polluted river, while constructing a pseudo reality on internet.
Zico Albaiquni and D Ahmad portrayed iconic former politicians such as Ali Sadikin and Soeharto with fictional images to show the recent situation of how people in power tend to idealise particular issues today.
One of the curators, A Sudjud Dartanto explained that art in the post-reformation era depicts various aesthetic experiences, many of which are influenced by globalisation. The practice of art is manifested in a longer spectrum of ideas, from socio-political criticism to the search for identity.
It is a retrospective presentation and at the same time we could see the multi polar approach on how the artists perpetuate tradition or take the social-cultural change as the inspiration of their artistry," Dartanto said.
As it’s seen at the exhibitions, few artworks highlighted the 1998 tragedy as the rhetorical statement of “Menolak Lupa” but not dominantly in the form of art-criticism. The artists focus more on the creativity behind the idea of the contemporary, which is mostly inspired by contemporary issues.