Angki Purbandono

Out Of The Box

98.5 in x 55 in x 4 in
Light box or diasec print installation
2013

Djunaidi Kenyut with Prisoners from Klung Kung Jail

Kamu Adalah Aku (interactif) / You are Me (interactive)

4.7 in x 6.7 in (each)
Mirrors
2017-2018

Imam Sucahyo

Welcome

15 in x 11 in
Colored pen on rice wrap paper and pack of cigarettes
2017

Mangu Putra

Forgiveness #2

78.7 in x 78.7 in
Oil on canvas
2015

Mary Lou Pavlovic with women prisoners from Klung Kung and Bangli Jails

Suspended Sentiments

Dimensions variable
Flowers, leaves, nuts, berries, butterflies, bugs, Christmas Decorations, epoxy resin
2018

← back to Past Exhibitions Apexart Bali

Dipping In The Kool Aid (2018)

Artists
Ridwan Fatkhurodin a.k.a. Kriyip   |   Rodney Glick   |   Elizabeth Gower   |   Titus Garu Himawan
Djunaidi Kenyut   |   Renae Lawrence   |   Fatoni Makturodi   |   Mangu Putra   |   Malaikat
Mary Lou Pavlovic   |   Angki Purbandono   |   Imam Sucahyo   |   Herman Yosef Dhyas Aries Utomo

Residency Content: In 2018 Tony Raka Gallery is pleased to establish an international artist residency with the intention to foster international contemporary creative activity and artistic dialogue in Bali. Earlier this year, Australian artist Sally Smart stayed at the gallery precinct whilst staging the exhibition, 'The Choreography of Cutting' in our project space, while her gallery Honnold Fine Art from Jakarta/Germany temporarily set up quarters there.

The international artist residency grows from the success of Smart's tiny residency and also from the fact that Australian artists are engaging with our space; Tony Raka Gallery also has a previous association not only with leading Balinese/Indonesian artists, for example, FX Harsono, Mangu Putra and Angki Purbandono, but with Australians Mary Lou Pavlovic, who was awarded an Apexart New York Franchise exhibition, 'Dipping in the Kool Aid' held at Tony Raka Project Space in March 2018. This exhibition also featured a wall installation by Melbourne artist, Elizabeth Gower. The Indonesian artist Dadang Christanto who currently resides in Brisbane has also staged an exhibition at Tony Raka Gallery.

Future artists are welcome to submit a project proposal for the space, and to engage with the residency as they see fit: to explore Bali and its cultures, hold workshops/talks, engage with our permanent collection of Indonesian contemporary and tribal art and meet people in the local/Indonesian art scene. All efforts will be made by support staff to help artists with individual projects.

Please check for updates about our projects, in the meantime enjoy viewing some of the compelling artworks here that have been exhibited at the gallery by Balinese, Indonesian and international artists.

Dipping in the Kool Aid is old American jail slang for entering uninvited into conversation. While neither the locale nor the artists’ nationalities represented are American, the phrase adopted by our exhibition in Bali pays tribute to the Javanese tradition of Pasemon. Under the authoritarian Suharto New Order regime that spanned 1966-1998, artists and journalists used an indirect form of satire to criticize those in power. “Pasemon corrects without scratching the wound, it’s elegant because it touches the conscience.”1 Correcting without embarrassing authority—saying one thing and meaning many others—granted freedom to express diverse opinions. The exhibition Dipping in the Kool Aid occurs soon after prisoner executions re-emerged in Indonesia in 2015. Featuring works by Indonesian and Australian artists and prisoners/ex-prisoners of Indonesian jails, artworks have been selected from workshops held predominantly at Klung Kung Prison, Bali, in 2017, and other studio-based practices.

This exhibition’s central concern is to bring aspects of prison life to public view, since a function of contemporary prisons worldwide is to make prisoners social outsiders, largely invisible to most citizens. French philosopher Michel Foucault notes that the modern prison is hidden away, “its monotonous tumbling of locks and the shadow of the cell block” have replaced the flesh and blood of medieval executions.2 Cloistering prisoners strategically creates a criminal class separate from the working classes, for prisons are largely filled with the poor. Authorities profit politically by exploiting prisoners to promote government ideologies, and economically, as “fabulous sums” are associated with criminalizing activities such as sex work and drug consumption.

The unknown inside of prison instills the fear of jail for those outside of it. Foucault also argues that prison is the ultimate form of surveillance; the threat of incarceration enables authorities to maintain power and control over citizens, who become accustomed to the relentlessly monitored, disciplinary institutions of daily life. Dipping in the Kool Aid disrupts prisoner reclusion, inviting audiences to connect with inmates and their creative works, and experience an interaction beyond the social stigmas that define prison life. Notably, Paduan Suara Rukun, the accomplished Klung Kung Prison singing group, has been granted special permission to sing in a performance at the exhibition’s public program. Connection benefits audiences as much as inmates.

The works comprising Dipping in the Kool Aid were selected for their aesthetic qualities and social relevance. French curator Nicolas Bourriaud’s theories of relational aesthetics malign traditional aesthetics in favor of the proposed inclusivity of all through audience participation and engagement.3 This has lead some, including British art historian Claire Doherty, to ask whether those who demonstrate the best politics/ethics also lay claim to being the best artists.4 In organizing this project, it was important that skills of both artists and prisoners were recognized.

Additionally, it was critical for artists to negotiate aesthetic concerns of these participatory projects, to ensure that the final works functioned as art—seen here as a complex relation between the social and the autonomous—and not valued only for their ethical ideals. Doherty notes that audience participation is also co-opted by multinational corporations and that imbrications of the social and autonomous art can create political friction--antagonism, a necessary component of democracy.5 A concern we encountered in the prison workshops was how to include prisoners who demonstrated varying artistic aptitudes. Doherty identifies that artists are often criticised for exploiting the communities they engage with during the collaboration process, failing to fully represent their subjects—she adds, “as if such a thing were possible.”6 We wanted inmates to be active, not reduced to artists’ assistants helping create authored works, but we found the artists’ experience was equally important in guiding the work and creating a positive effect.


Djunaidi Kenyut’s Kamu Adalah Aku, (interactif) / You are Me (interactive), illustrates the impossibility of fully accounting for the prisoners attending his workshop. Inviting inmates to etch their self portraits onto individual hand-held mirrors, Kenyut makes a humane gesture, encouraging prisoners to value themselves. With the mirrors presented in grid formation, inmates become active agents, the image marks are theirs. The ghostly portraits are cut with viewers’ more concrete reflections. The mirrors act as screens reflecting viewers “inside” society. Outlines of prisoners’ heads also suggest that the prisoner’s body (which is socially invisible), is easily manipulated to carry any type of meaning. This reinforces Foucault’s theories that prisoners can be exploited to disseminate propaganda. Exhibition viewers are invited to etch their portraits onto blank mirrors to further empathize with prisoners.

365 Rotations, an installation by Elizabeth Gower, comprises multiple circular paper collages made from discarded packaging and advertising material, which form a constellation. Prisoners contribute their own collages, using packaging from the prison warung (cafeteria). Their inclusion brings new readings to the work—of the 365 days of each year spent in prison. Each rotation can also symbolize the life of a loved one, fixed in memory like stars in the sky, and the price tags incorporated suggest that society sometimes values things more than life itself. Gower’s poetic work, imbued with new resonance through prisoner participation, again raises the issue of the relation between economics, power, and prisoners.

Imam Sucahyo presents drawings and paintings reflecting people in his world: drug addicts, sex workers, and the poor. For his workshops he pen-friended inmates at Klung Kung Prison. Together, they produced collaborative drawings and a series of wayang wayangan, Indonesian shadow puppets, titled Wayang Tanpa Dalang (Puppets without Manipulator). Sucahyo’s ornately patterned works reflect the classes he portrays—his images relate to vivid patterns found in weavings, printed fabrics, intricate jewelry and handicrafts produced in Indonesia, mostly with cheap labor. His slightly degraded aesthetic disrupts the surfaces of those sumptuous quasi-traditional patterns, politicizing the works by making them reflexive.


The exhibition also includes studio work of Prison Art Programs (PAPS) members. Directed by Indonesian photographer Angki Purbandono, they formed in 2013 while incarcerated in Narcotics Prison Class 2A for marijuana offenses. Comprised of visual art students, a dog walker, and the frontman for Serigala Malam (a hard core band), the group considers it a violation of human rights to be imprisoned for smoking marijuana. Together they present memories of prison: testimony to the psychologically dark, violent spaces they inhabited and the resilience discovered in creating art. Fatoni Makturodi’s hanging sculpture features tiny papier mâché heads. Originally rolled continuously in prison to relieve stress, boredom, and terror, many other prisoners soon followed suit. In Malaikat’s King Kong’s Land, resin gorilla heads are perched on prison bedsprings that vibrate and shake as viewers touch them, suggesting terror or madness. A small paper and clay sculpture by Herman Yoseph Dhyas Aries Utomo (a.k.a. Komeng) represents a tough guy with a suitcase of money, depicting the machismo of prison economics. Titus Garu Himawan, who passed away suddenly in December 2017, is remembered here in a special tribute. His wispy, casual painting depicts an egg—the genus of life. To pass the time, Ridwan Fatkurodhin (a.k.a. Kriyip) created tiny silver birds with cigarette packaging. A symbol of freedom, the birds are poetically offered to visitors for free. Refusing to accept his incarceration, Angki Purbandono declared his prison term an artist residency. Out of the Box consists of photographs taken inside the jail by prison officer Yhoga Aditya Ruswanto under Purbandono’s instruction. Creativity triumphs over the confines of prison. The photographs are printed on rich, luscious paper, reflecting the wealth, freedom, and possibilities associated with creating visual art.

Renae Lawrence, of Australia’s Bali Nine (seven of whom remain alive and incarcerated in Indonesia for drug trafficking offenses), has contributed a painting from her studies in jail on abstraction and color mixing, based on images of flags.

My own workshop was undertaken with women prisoners in Klung Kung Prison. Preserving flora and fauna and items of personal importance, such as family photographs, in tiny resin units, we created a large wall-work. Our aim was to preserve life, the driving motivator for this entire project.

Mangu Putra’s painting, Forgiveness 2, depicts a state official—a soldier—on the edge of a scene of destruction, bowing and begging forgiveness of his mother, who has just taken his gun. In an image originally made popular by President Sukarno, who was photographed bowing to his mother, the state symbolically begs the pardon of not only a mother, but of a citizen, instead of a more conventional power dynamic in which citizens bow before the state.

In Pixel Buddha, Rodney Glick, an Australian artist working in Bali, humorously militarizes a carved wooden Buddha, covering the statue in painted army camouflage, reflecting institutional surveillance governing spirituality and the incongruity of violence and religion.

Our polite insinuations in these poetic, complex, autonomous, and social worlds reflect a desire to preserve life, for an apology regarding state violence, and also the incongruity of religious violence in a world in which art claims its authority over the imprisoning state. All the values expressed in this exhibition stand in stark contrast to the treatment of prisoners in Indonesia in recent years. The formally discreet, aesthetic structure of the Pasemon has created a space for us in which our political positions are clarified without scratching the wound.

Mary Lou Pavlovic © 2018
apexart Open Call Exhibition

Venue: TONYRAKA ART GALLERY
Address : JI. Raya Mas No. 86 Mas Ubud Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia

Daily 10 am - 5 pm
Exhibition hold 4-31 March 2018

 

FOOTNOTES

  1. Hariyanto, “Pasemon,” Media Indonesia, trans. from Indonesian, Apr. 13, 2015, Accessed Dec. 28, 2017, http://mediaindonesia.com/news/read/17062/pasemon/2015-04-13. Michael Bodden, Resistance on the National Stage: Theatre and Politics in Late New Order Indonesia (Ohio: Ohio University Press, 2010), 335.
  2. Roger-Pol Droitt, “Michel Foucault on the Role of Prisons,” The New York Times, trans. Leonard Mayhew (New York, NY) Aug. 5, 1975, Accessed Jan. 8, 2018, http://www.nytimes.com/books/00/12/17/specials/foucault-prisons.html.
  3. Nicolas Bourriaud, Relational Aesthetics (Dijon: Les Presses Du Réels, 1998).
  4. See Claire Doherty, “The Social Turn: Collaboration and its Discontents,” Artforum, February 2006: 178-183.
  5. See Claire Doherty, “Antagonism and Relational Aesthetics,” October 110 (Fall 2004): 51-79, 66-67.
  6. Op. Cit. 180.
  7. “Sukarno with his mother, Bung Karno Penjambung Lida Rakjat 241,” Wikimedia Commons, Jul. 21, 2015, Accessed Jan. 8, 2018
    https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sukarno_with_his_mother,_Bung_Karno_Penjambung_Lidah_Rakjat_241.jpg.

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apexart’s programs are supported in part by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The Buhl Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, The Greenwich Collection Ltd., William Talbott Hillman Foundation, Affirmation Arts Fund, the Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation, the Fifth Floor Foundation, and with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Prison Art Programs
Programs Manager: Mario Rivando
Documentation: Wiwind Nugraha
Thanks to Pak Yhoga Aditya Ruswanto

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