ShContemporary 08, The Asia Pasific Contemporary Art Fair, Shanghai Exhibition Center
September, 10 – 13, 2008

Passions: Between self image and the unseen
Rifky Effendi, Curator

“Two Indonesian Artists, Agus Suwage and J. Ariadhitya Pramuhendra, in The Best of Discoveries section in ShContemporary 2008, show their individual serial works, representing the development of their development of their personal fields of art practice. … Alternatively, J. Ariadhitya Pramuhendra did his appropriation by turning the photographed images from his historic personal archives into charcoal drawing. The photos were taken from his personal documents, such as his kindergarten certificate, elementary, high school, and university certificates. The (passport) pictures were taken by photographers in mini studios that operated at that time. On the pictures, we could find thumbprint, stamps of institutions, and signatures that legalized the documents. The black and white archive pictures are then blown up into much bigger images and put onto canvases. He reconstructed the images as it was, including fractions of signs, such as the school uniform badger he used when he went to school at that time. These self-portraits are the confession of his presence in the institutions, thus it is an individual contribution in the system of modern society.

The passport photos are used as a model to look back into his personal history and then he used them as an object for self-signification and appropriation towards his own portrait. The notorious self and the unseen. From the beginning, Pramuhendra has always been interested in self-portrait as the epicenter, represents them into drawings with many poses wth a background of religious theme images, iconographic creations, or self displace, as a way to look back into the context of his life. As a result, his self-portrait has become a representation in the middle of a crossroadof many contemporary human problems, such as existence, faith and beliefs, dreams and social values, and his surrounding cultures. From the formation of these portraits we can see the development of an individual in some certain period of time in his life. But the more important thing is how he represents them in a bigger scale and the difference of media he uses, and so Pramuhendra’s works force us to observe forgotten and considered unimportant images of someone’s life. Every strokes of charcoal on the canvas is a projection of self-portrait in every period of his life; starting his childhood, teenage life, until maturity. These images mark the development of physic, psychology, and social relationship. Fooling around with the values of photography’s principles is the proof of his presence…”