Indonesian and Bulgarian Contemporary Art
9 July 2019 – 1 September 2019
Bulgaria and Indonesia are located on different continents in different parts of the world. The title of this exhibition is “Synthesis” and the goal – through several examples, to summarize the contemporary art of both countries and thus discover common ground in arts.
Just as Indonesia and Bulgaria are wonderful conglomerates of fascinating diverse cultures that each boasts a character of its own, so are tоo their artists who are subconsciously influenced by their nations’ traditional heritage as well as by the dynamics of modern society with its overwhelming issues and advancing technology. This exhibition presents works of Indonesian and Bulgarian artists who were thematically inspired by environmental disasters, social issues and a view into the future, who used painting, sculpture, paper, etching, video and installation art to lay bare the concerns of their era.
Surely the work of women artists have evolved dramatically, as seen in the works that were part of a recent exhibition „Into the Future“ at the National Gallery in Jakarta:, where the female spirit manifests itself as never before, prominently signifying artists of the present time and the coming era. Dita Gambiro in „Distorted Reality“ wonders about the authenticity of the personal I. Dresses made of transparent organdy as metaphors of the self are set in suspended circular formation, layered and casting shadows one on the other. Theresia Agustina Sitompul’swork that was inspired by the overwhelming devastating mood of natural disasters, world violence and social bickering, „Menabur Benih“ (Sowing Seeds) consist of linocuts on hydrophilic gauze cotton denoting the imminent need of healing the wounds.
Overwhelmed by grief at the tsunami that hit south Sulawesi Etza Meisyara’s plunged her photo etchings into the waters of the ocean to oxydize and evokea melancholique turquoise hue in „Ode to the Homeland“. Elia Nurvista’s video installation „Früchtlinge“ reflects on the ambiguity she found in Berlin, when on the one hand migrants and the refugees tend to be loathed, but on the other hand tropical an exotic fruits are considered cool. Twisting the word „Fluchtling“ (refugee) she calls her installation „Früchtlinge“ (referring to fruit).
Certainly the future, as Natasya Tontey’s video installation „From Pest to Power“, imagines it, is worth ponderting when she takes away the center from the human being. In a science quasi-fictional quest she explores the idea of eco-centric futurism in which the cockroach as the only single species able to survive the many extinction events and epochal transformation might be the key to a sustainable future. In this she leans on the Manifesto of Xenofeminism that the future includes non-humans.
Citra Sasmita covers the entire figures of women denoting women’s non- existence and Sri Astari Rasjid, a senior artist whose oeuvre has been dealing with her Javanese culture and the issue of women therein, points at patriarchy that used to relegate women to invisibility, as seen in her painting „Yang Terhormat Ibu” (Dear Mother), showing just a pluck of hair above faceless contours. This painting also shows the respect for Mother Nature in response to all the destructions of our Planet Earth. The influence of Javanese culture could also be seen when Astari paints herself seating next to the Indonesia’s renowned 19th century painter Raden Saleh in „Raden Ayu Raden Mas“ in the style of Javanese aristocratic tradition. Astari holds a pistol in her hand, thus she denotes a new era has begun.
Bulgarian installation work is presented by Daniela Todorova, a firmly established author in the field of paper art. With her own distinctive style and exquisite works, Daniela presents her work „Magic Forest“ which is a site specific installation and showing her human position to protect and save nature and to be responsible to the planet.
The three short black and white films by Bulgarian artists Katelina Kancheva and Krum Yankov titled „The Time of Clouds and Rain“, „Vacuum“ and „SIRIN“, transmit existential questions and problems like worrying moods, fear of time and the questions of life and love.
Expressive paintings of Bulgarian contemporary art are represented by Victoria Petrova – „Maze“ (2015) and „Without Escape“ (2018). Form, color and idea are combined together into a visual construction, expression of an inspiration found in the machines. Victoria transforms a constructive vision into an artwork.
Carla Bianpoen, Citra Smara Dewi
Curators of the exhibition