Back in 2020, the annual Art Jakarta fair was replaced with a virtual showcase, where visitors were welcomed to discover works from artists through immersive online viewing rooms. Earlier this year, there was Art Jakarta Gardens, an intimate pop-up exhibition at Hutan Kota Plataran that was centred on installations and sculptures, dotted across the open-air backdrop. Last weekend, the fair made an official return to JCC Senayan and stirred an exciting buzz within the Southeast Asian creative community.
The fair’s main section, Art Jakarta Gallery, consisted of booths from 62 galleries, 39 from Indonesia—including familiar names like ROH, Gajah Gallery, ISA Art Gallery, Ruci Art Space—and 23 from overseas, each representing artists across multiple mediums from painting and textiles to sculpture. The section obliged visitors to get acquainted with established artists and their pieces in person, while also encouraging the discovery of emerging galleries and artists through their lineup.
In addition, the fair extended its sections to feature Bali Art Scene, dedicated to spotlighting Balinese contemporary artists and showing support after the hard-hitting pandemic. Also new was AJ1, a section that shed exposure on international galleries such as Warin Lab Contemporary from Bangkok and Singapore-based Hatch Art Project. And like previous years, the fair wouldn’t be complete without Art Jakarta Talks, a series of hosted discussions which facilitated an exchange of dialogues on topics like “Is NFT dead? We are here to stay!” and “A Social Network as the New Art Marketplace”.
With so many pieces competing for attention, it was easy to simply skim through the works and walk away overstimulated. But with visitors enthusiastically inspecting each piece and taking the opportunity to chat with gallery representatives—and for those who were lucky, with the artists themselves—the experience revealed a dynamic landscape that reflects the exchange of creative minds and curiosity of the fair-goers.
Notable works included the delicately-knitted ocean landscapes of Jogja-based Mangmoel, the sculptural textile of Ari Bayuaji, adorned with and woven using plastic and materials found on the shorelines of Bali, Jumaadi’s painted and carved buffalo hide resembling a wayang and Heri Dono’s 1999 installation, ‘Political Clown’, a social commentary on the Reformation era.
Close to the entrance, a booth by financial and investment mobile app Bibit, presented installation pieces by Bali-based Italian artist, Marco Cassani. The ‘Fountain’ series featured towering columns of coins that were tossed into Balinese fountains as part of a strong wish-making custom on the island, which the artist collected and assembled with the permission of temple priests.
In exploring the theme of value and currency, Marco considers the transformed role of coins as it blurs from monetary exchange to something intangible, including beliefs and an expression of wishes and dreams. Also on display was the robot figure, Bobit, which was created together with the Museum of Toys to visualise the Robo Advisor of the brand to life.
Elsewhere, the NFT section takes visitors through a dark room, where alternating artists such as Isha Hening and illustrator Martcellia Liunic could be seen working away on an NFT drop as part of an initiative, Work in Progress. Done in collaboration with art collective Monday Art Club and Gaspack, the project was launched to underline the exchange of ideas and experimentation that takes place within the digital realm.
After three years, Art Jakarta seemed to satisfy the growing appetite for art interactions and returned the sense of normalcy to large-scale creative events. If this were a signal for what’s to come for the local creative industry coming out of the pandemic, Art Jakarta affirmed that it’s an exciting one.
This article was done in collaboration with the financial and investment mobile app Bibit. For more information about Art Jakarta, visit www.artjakarta.com