Art and the Space


Story by Carla Bianpoen | Photos by Various Sources

As a league of young modern well-educated executives is taking their place in contemporary society, so is their lifestyle. Whilst following the ever-changing imaginations in art, it has increasingly become a part of life that straddles between the past, the present and the future.

In selecting an artwork, the informed will carefully consider the space in which it will be shown; as the conditions to illuminate, enhance or immerse is as important as the artwork itself. Elaborations of the artist and the type of material used also play a part in appreciation, but ultimately there is no strict formula or definition as to what artwork fits what ambiance, since it is up to the intimate sense, or rasa that sets the tone.

The following are four artists exhibiting in the contemporary Indonesian art scene who showcase alternative materials in works that present unique points of view.

"Yesterday" by Restu Taufik Akbar


The summa cum laude graduate from the Faculty of Art and Design of ITB, who works with various mediums, including video, sculpture and installation, was a Gold Award winner in the UOB painting of the Year Indonesia. Restu is a versatile artist whose work explores meditative and philosophical thoughts.

“Yesterday” takes a playful view of the issue of time: when the moment is now, will tomorrow be yesterday? To pique the onlooker’s imagination of being amid a landscape that is long past, instead of the customary canvas, Restu used a mirrored steel plate, applying polyurethane paint and nitrocellulose.

“I (don’t) SEE COLOR” by Bibiana Lee exhibited in ArtJog 2023


With themes concerned with the human condition and her own personal experiences, Bibiana Lee is the only Indonesian artist to uniquely articulate discriminatory history on porcelain. Brightly coloured ceramics titled “A Nation Divided and Pieces of May” embed issues of societal racism and social media into decorative motifs. These messages were further elaborated in embossed prints of the original ceramic pieces overlaid with text.

Bibiana’s latest work “I (don’t) SEE COLOR” exhibited in ArtJog 2023 is an installation featuring real punching bags and gloves. The surfaces of the punching bags and gloves are overlaid with a combination of coloured dots representing notions of discrimination. However for those who are colourblind the pattern will appear as monochrome. The message: ‘If we were all colourblind discriminative notions would be eliminated’. Surely wishful thinking of pure utopian imagination! The installation invites the public to punch or kick the punch bags marked with texts like ‘bully’, ‘racial’, ‘xenophobic’. In this way a serious issue is rendered in a lighter tone.

"An Nisa" by Nunung WS

NUNUNG WS (B 1948)

One of only a few Indonesian women artists exhibiting during the 1980s and 1990s, the non- objective works of Nunung WS, evoke a sense of the transcendental and deep spirituality.

No form or figure disrupts the ubiquitous colour dominance on the canvas. Art critics described her work as ‘stark’ and ‘masculine’ while fellow artist Teguh Ostenrik stated, ‘Nunung is a woman who never fails to free herself of conventional standards of life’.

At the age of 75, the artist’s recent retrospective titled “The Spirit Within” at Jakarta’s Galeri Nasional Indonesia (the National Gallery of Indonesia) revealed colour is still an intrinsic element in her oeuvre, but her large canvases show how some colours in her geometrical planes that used to be spontaneous, are now mathematically determined. Yet the sense of rasa still infuses her conceptual thought.

Speaking on the painting “An Nisa” which might suggest Nunung’s interest in the women’s cause, as the title derives from the numerous references to women throughout the fourth chapter of the Quran, Nunung reveals that she was not so much inspired by its content as by the feeling she had towards the form and rhythm of the calligraphy of the word.

“Sound of Masker” by Ninditiyo Adipurnomo


A graduate from the Rijksakademie in the Netherlands, Ninditiyo also cofounded the then Cemeti Gallery in 1988 that was a central proponent to the development of experimental and contemporary art in Yogyakarta. His work is deeply entrenched in historic cultural references such as the konde (hair piece of Javanese women) which he reanimates in a variety of ways.

His recent solo show highlighted his response to the new culture brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Masks became a dominating inspiration for example, “Sound of Masker”. Appearing as a painting, the canvas is composed of found masks that were cleaned and thoroughly washed, then painted over with acrylic paint.

"Resting by the Ocean after a Fruitful Harvest" by Richard Winkler

RICHARD WINKLER (b 1969 in Sweden)

Winkler is a Swedish artist who resides permanently in Bali, which has influenced his creative output in poetic ways. With a background in graphic design, Winkler’s flowing lines infuse surreal harmony and eroticism in his paintings and accentuate abundance in his voluptuous black marble sculptures. The use of bright colours and their combinations inspire the senses, as seen in the painting “Resting by the Ocean”.

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