Today and Tomorrow : Indonesian Contemporary Art

Press Release

Yallay Gallery/Jean Marc Decrop Presents
Today and Tomorrow : Indonesian Contemporary Art

Thursday May 15th, 6:00 – 9:00 pm
Exhibition runs until Saturday June 7th

This ambitious exhibition of 18 artists is revealing the specificity of contemporary art practice in Indonesia in its variety, from Post reformation (mid 1990′s) to Post market (the most recent generation).

Works exhibited are not minimal, they don’t follow the trends of international art in Los Angeles, New York or Berlin, they are deeply rooted in the Indonesian psyché, with most of the artists coming from 2 vibrant art scenes in Indonesia: Yogyakarta and Bandung. They have a distinct flavour, and whisper a different voice in this globalized art world.Yogyakarta was centuries ago the glowing spiritual center of South Asia with temples and study centers for both Buddhism (Borobudur) and Hindiusm (Prambanan), a spirituality that can be found today in the work of Albert Yonathan Setyawan, one of the 5 artists from last year Venice Biennale pavilion or in the conceptual works of Wiyoga Muhardanto, and Melati Suryodarmo.

Other works have a strong link with Nature and popular culture, with religious beliefs, divinities and voodoo, with black magic, as in the art of Entang Wiharso, Eko Nugroho, and Agus Suwage. The popular practice of shadow Wayang puppets where in each village social, political, public events of the community are discussed, and represented has been a source of inspiration for many artists in Indonesia. The buffalo skin puttpets of Eko Nugroho, presented in the 2009 Lyon Biennale are featured in the exhibition as well as metal works by Agung Kurniawan and Entang Wiharso based on this shadow theater.

The collective Taring Padi of which artist Ucup is the leader is engraving wood-blocks in an expressionist manner to defend peasants rights or any other oppressed social group. Bambang Toko from the former group Apotik Comic draws scenes with characters from popular culture on top of oil barrels lids while Maryanto scratches plastic panels in his comic-like compositions. Taking her roots from representational Balinese art, the work of Sri Astari, the Frida Khalo of Asia, is based on her very personal autobiographical history, while Christine Ay Tjoe expresses her anxieties, desires and tensions in expressive, semi-abstract oils and dry-point engravings. Arin Sunaryo uses ashes from volcano eruptions of Merapi or Mount Kelud as a medium for his abstract compositions, while Ariadhitya Pramuhendra medium is charcoal on canvas for his dark and futuristic visions. From Bandung, 2 young artists affiliated with the collective Platfom 3, Benzig and Mujahiddin create contemporary works with plexiglass or paper that are related to political and religious propaganda. The exhibition is curated by Rifky Effendy, the curator of the first Indonesia pavilion at last year Venice Biennale, but also the originator of 2 alternative platforms for young artists in Indonesia, one in Jakarta: Inkubatorasia and one in Bandung: Platform3.

The exhibition can be visited online:

Yallay Gallery Unit 3C Yallay Industrial Building 6 Yip Fat Street Wong Chuk Hang, Hong Kong Tues-Sat: 11am – 6pm Or by appointment +852 3575 9417

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