Arts |

New Decade for Art Jakarta: In Conversation with Tom Tandio and Enin Supriyanto

Arts | 10 September 2019

In between meetings at ARTOTEL Thamrin, Fair Director Tom Tandio and Artistic Director Enin Supriyanto shared exciting stories about the fresh look of Art Jakarta, the new team, moving the fair to a bigger space and their mission to make art fair closer with Jakarta communities.

Artistic Director Enin Supriyanto (left), Fair Director Tom Tandio (right). Location, BART - Bar at The Rooftop, ARTOTEL Thamrin - Jakarta.
Artistic Director Enin Supriyanto (left), Fair Director Tom Tandio (right). Location: BART - Bar at The Rooftop, ARTOTEL Thamrin - Jakarta. Photo by Raditya Fadilla/NOWJAKRTA

Art Jakarta has a new logo, a new appearance and an interesting new narrative. What makes this different compared to prior fairs?

Tom: After 10 years of success, I believe it’s the right time to give Art Jakarta a revamp fitting to carry the spirit of Jakarta and Indonesia’s artistic identity overall. We are entrusted by the CEO of MRA Group, Maulana Indraguna Sutowo, to come up with a different concept for the 11th edition with a clear message, distinct positioning, more inclusive and fun energy.

Enin: If we look at the conventional art fair, they don’t really focus on what we are doing right now. We decided to tell the story of what makes art Jakarta different and find a way to identify to our audience on another level. Coincidently, art is found in Jakarta itself “Jak(art)a”. As we put the context together, we started the rebrand to make it less serious, more urban, open and relevant to what is going on in the city. We want this art fair to be more approachable for everybody.

What are the highlights of Art Jakarta in this new decade?

Tom: We have exhibition programmes featuring 70 leading art international and local galleries, as well as art spots featuring installations works by Eko Nugroho, Teamlab and Isha Hening. We continue to organise talkshows and education programmes as well as keeping legacy programmes with an auction led by Phillips auction for charity. We want to look accessible to everyone and expand in size to firmly establish Jakarta as one of Asia’s centres for contemporary art.

Enin: Supported by BEKRAF, we established Art Scene as a platform to connect with young artist. This component is important as our contribution to support emerging market. Photographer Indra Leonardi took pictures of 28 artists, interviewed them and summarised everything in his new book, which will be put up for auction as well. For art fair, it’s not their business. For us, it’s important. The common understanding is that art is exclusive. It should be for everybody, and we are trying to make it more accessible to allow more people the opportunity to appreciate art. With 41 international galleries, 29 Indonesian galleries, more than 20 art communities, and a long list of collectors, my hope is that they connect with each other.

How the team build sensibility to make art fair is inclusive and have an engagement for the community because sometimes the art fair is designed only for the collector?

Tom: In the beginning, there are only three of us then the team has developed with a list of experts and professionals who helped connect us to other communities that joined Art Jakarta this year. We decided to collaborate with other art institutions, organisation, community, partners such as Biennale, Museum MACAN, Arkipel etc to help support the event and make art reach out to the public.

Enin: Art fair sometimes is a mystery, it catches our eyes for a moment and then went away. We try to figure out the impact of this art fair to the community. We not only facilitate the market but also start a conversation with the artists and figures around industry circle. We build a relationship with artists and the city by featuring them on social media and make it more personal. In the end, collector could also observe Indonesian talents though us.

This year, Art Jakarta moved to a bigger space offering more programmes. How did these communities find their place at Art Jakarta?

Tom: We have the opportunity to do a lot of things that we couldn’t do before. We invited 30 names as board of patron and 30 names of young collectors who support us. There is a VIP lounge to cater to collectors and respected guests. We have a big market in modern art but the pieces are limited. Homegrown contemporary market need to be pushed through to allow stakeholders to interact with each other. Besides displaying the works from senior to established artists, we provide a cornerstone of artists’ collectives to support emerging names as well as young collectors with the works sold at a maximum price IDR 15 million. We are expanding the market to the digital platform by partnering with Ocula, and this enabled collectors across the world to see artworks exhibited at Art Jakarta.

What are the current challenges?

Tom: The challenge is to gain visitor and transaction. The magnitude and impact of this new Art Jakarta is determined by the number of people visiting and buying the ticket. If the number of visitors exceed 40,000 people, then we will have successfully extended the brand. We couldn’t determine the exact whole transaction but if the galleries and visitors and other parties returns next year, we can then assume that Art Jakarta has successfully established the market.

How the Art Jakarta could boost the local art market and make Jakarta as the central destination for an art fair in Southeast Asia?

Tom: We need a more established art ecosystem with a joint force between art fairs and art exhibitions such as Jakarta Biennale. Both the art fair and biennale must be strongest first if we want us to be one of the art destinations in Southeast Asia. Based on my experience running IndoArtNow, ART STAGE Singapore with four years of experience, Indonesia is still not on the map in global art destination but we have the potential to develop the market as the outlook of the Indonesian economy projects the rapid growth by 2050.  If the economy grows, the more people will appreciate and purchase art. If other government institutions help us promoting the event, it will be helpful to promote Art Jakarta to global art communities because, for example, Singapore Tourism Board also takes a role in the success of ART STAGE.

Enin: We have seen the change behaviour when people want to spend their money to go to art events. The whole market is shifting and people start thinking that the art is important to their life. We have seen art is also as important for other establishments such as corporations, property, malls, and restaurants. With the rising appreciation of homegrown art in the local community along with the support of BEKRAF (government), the market will expand because more stakeholders help art reach out to broader audiences.

What is the future of Art Jakarta and your hopes and expectations for Jakarta’s art scene?

Tom: I wish that Art Jakarta will be the art event of the year where people across the region come to the city to celebrate Indonesian art. It will be great if tourists can enjoy art fairs and exhibitions, go to the museum, and explore art communities at the same time. I am sure we will be more progressive in the next five years.

Enin: I hope Jakarta can be known for its vibrant art scene. We have started this year with a number of exhibitions at the National Gallery, Museum MACAN and other open spaces in Jakarta. I hope there will be much more to come. Yes, we are an art fair but we want to show our effort to nurture the industry. We have enough resources to be considered an international art fair, supported by many active artists and collector. At the end of the day, the ecosystem must be established well by partnerships with city governments in order to establish Art Week in Jakarta next year.