In the arts, collaboration is not an unusual concept, but nationally renowned artist Hanafi and poet Goenawan Mohamad took it a step further in this partnership to bring together “57 x 76”, a unique collaborative art exhibition held at the National Gallery of Indonesia that showcases the oeuvres of two minds merging on a canvas.
Unlike the common idea of an artistic collaboration, “57 x 76” exhibits what happens when fine arts artists of different stylistic expressions decide to trust each other to create art pieces together. The process of producing these oeuvres is as simple as letting one artist begin with the first strokes on the canvas then have it sent over to the second artist to finish. Yet, what takes is the amount of confidence each artist has in the other to create artworks with both personalities showing through.
Derived from the artists’ respective ages, “57 x 76” carries over 200 paintings and installations created over the course of six months. Canvases of figures doused in muted colours make the intriguing case. And throughout the exhibition, the curious mood stands on a constant with a few more brow-raising moments like a wheelchairs installation placed by a painting of the late physicist, Stephen Hawking.
To the trained-eye, it may be obvious which element belongs to which artist. Hanafi, whose abstract style manifests itself in non-figurative strokes within a space is at a juxtaposition with Goenawan’s affinity for lines and sketches of biomorphic objects.
But the point isn’t to distinguish the horizontal from the vertical. As both Hanafi and Goenawan believe that challenging and discussing art theories is so passé, both talents executed this exhibition on the premise that the merging of two techniques and styles does not mean obliterating the works of either artist. What it does, instead, it allows the observer to experience the openness of the art piece itself, much like reading a book from its middle section and leaving the beginning and the ending in the hands of the reader. And in its own way, a painting carrying two signatures is already a conversation happening in itself with the message roaming free within each unique interpretation.
Hanafi x Goenawan Mohamad “57 x 76” is running at the National Gallery of Indonesia from 21st June until 2nd July 2018, every day from 10am until 7pm.