At the annual exhibition of Indonesian Contemporary Art & Design (ICAD), there’s a desire to make art and design fun again. Back for its 13th year at Grandkemang Jakarta, the exhibition featured works by 54 artists as they take on the theme ‘Feel-Good Lab’, a term that ICAD coined themselves, to celebrate emotion in the process as one experiments, plays and tinkers with their creation.
“As professionals of art and design, we think of our practice as work. But oftentimes, we overlook this feel-good feeling, and we’d like to invite artists and designers to be more conscious of this sensation when they are creating,” ICAD’s lead curator Amanda Ariawan remarked. “The lab itself denotes a space where people can experiment, make mistakes, and focus on the process rather than the end result where things are born and transformed.”
With a strong emphasis on emotion, interactivity became a major thread sewn through every piece. Find the meaning behind Aldri Indrayana’s hug-friendly mannequins ‘Release Your Emotions’, and watch in awe as the thermochromic materials change colour at points of contact. Or perhaps, simmer your creative juices at Otak Atik Kotak’s ‘Tac-A-Tic’ experimental lab and play around with recycled materials to create curiously shaped objects without the pressure of conceiving a final product.
Another curatorial thread fundamental to the tenets of ICAD is the acknowledgement of social and environmental issues. In ‘Pindahin!’ (2023), a ‘promotion booth’ advertising the government’s decision to move the capital city from Jakarta to Nusantara, Ivonne Kani observes its impact on the locals through satirical humour, while inviting visitors to activate the installation by picking up and moving the lego-like structures of the city model to ‘build’ the city, effectively displacing the residents and houses in the process.
Across the artworks, there’s a sense that, even in the midst of uncertain times, ICAD encourages visitors and artists to come with an attitude to play and discover the different ways “feel good” looks like. With a sense of childlike wonder reignited, young couples to solo exhibition-goers are seen fully immersing themselves in the creations beyond the role of a spectator, as they find relatability within the themes, as well as the emotions that anchor the work.
ICAD 13: Feel-Good Lab is running until 23 November 2023. Click here for more information on the exhibition.