While Indonesia is a source of abundant traditional design and heritage, its contemporary art scene remains an unchartered territory for many. Dubbed “ARUS”, the fifth MANIFESTO reframes the existing paradigm of how art is understood through presenting strong specimens of art movement in Indonesia.
Curated by Asikin Hasan and Rizki A. Zaelani, whom both are key figures in the local art scene, the exhibition weaves together a rich and captivating mix of artwork, challenging the boundaries of painting, sculpture, photography, video and mural. Drawing on 35 iconic works by 35 internationally renowned artists from multi-generation, “ARUS” explores the influences and practices that have shaped and transformed Indonesian art beyond its aesthetic value. Each artwork provides insights into why and how an artist responds to the social and political circumstances of their surroundings.
Visitors are free to explore and examine connections between visual presentation with conceptual reactions to past and present zeitgeists. The painting titled Menjadi Indonesia (Becoming Indonesia) by Ronald Manullang for instance, summarises historical events that have formed Indonesia as it is today by implementing metaphors and explicit symbols, leaving enough room for interpretation. Likewise, Ivan Hariyanto’s Refleksi dan Pilar-pilar Busway (Reflection and Busway’s Columns) portrays the rapid progress of urbanisation – symbolised by reflections of light and shadows as recorded in the painting.
To create a more tactile experience, interactions have also been encouraged in Nindityo Adipurno’s Interaksi Jender (Gender Interaction) where visitors are asked to throw away daily objects that are inextricably linked to one’s gender in a room filled with four sculptures, suggesting the idea of a genderless society. At the outdoor area, Jong Merdeka’s Tantangan (Challenge) is a three-dimensional mural of a deep pit with broken wooden bridge, creating an optical illusion of the challenge one should pass through in order to reach a destination.
Taken as a whole, the wide range of artworks in the exhibition reflects the complexities of society as told through art. From the exhibition, one would leave with a nod of appreciation to these local artists for their artistry and bravery in conveying their criticisms through art.
MANIFESTO V: ARUS runs from May 4th to 30th. The exhibition opens from Monday to Sunday at 10 am to 7 pm and is closed on national holiday.