Exi(s)t 'Maps Reimagined' Exhibition on Jakarta Globe

Artists Exi(s)t With Hope of Gaining More Exposure

The Indonesian art scene is thriving, but renowned Indonesian artist FX Harsono has observed that development with worry, especially when it comes to fresh artistic talent in the capital. “There is a lot of potential in this city,” he said, “but unlike in Bandung or Yogyakarta, many young artists in Jakarta have trouble finding their way into galleries to present their work. “Many of these talents have other daily jobs, mostly in the creative industries, because they lack an outlet for their art,” he added. “It’s not easy to get your work into commercial galleries because most of [the galleries] want to make a profit as well, which can be difficult if they feature the works of ‘no-name’ artists.” To nurture up-and-coming artists from Jakarta and help them develop their reputations, FX Harsono initiated the project Exi(s)t, an effort to create a platform for them to garner attention and exposure in the local art scene.

In collaboration with Dia.lo.gue Artspace in Kemang, South Jakarta, the project’s inaugural exhibition, “Maps, Re-Imagined,” opened on Saturday afternoon.

A breeze of novelty is apparent upon entering the exhibition space, which currently features the works of 12 Jakarta artists who reimagined places in the city that they visit every day.They each created art to answer a single question: How does our imagination affect how we position ourselves on the map of everyday life? Approaching that question from varying perspectives, they each arrived at different answers. Their works consider a range of topics such as ethnic background — beautifully done in Stephany Yaya Sungkharisma’s print series, “Unfamiliar Roots (Walking Banana)” — as well as marriage, family life, urban density and the politics of the creative industry. The exhibition pieces are all new, exuding a sense of curiosity that is usually only possible in pieces from artists who have been relatively untouched by the industry’s influence.

The most intriguing piece belongs to Angela Judiyanto, who contributed the installation art piece “A Little Encounter.” Neatly arranged on a long wooden shelf, the eye-catching installation consists of many small glass jars with golden lids, which she has given a new look by painting. Visually stunning, the jars have been transformed in painstaking detail into pieces of art, as Angela adorned them with words and images of faces, people, buildings, touching hands or just abstract images. Artist Adnyani Dewi has taken up the ever popular subject of Jakarta’s horrible traffic congestion in her work, though she gives it an unusual twist. In her photographs, she lets her imagination run wild to explore why we so often sit in a car or on the back of a motorcycle without moving forward. In her mind, it might as well be a dancing bear and a panda that cause the traffic jams. With this playful approach, she tries to encourage Jakartans to sit through the unavoidable gridlock without getting too frustrated or depressed. Agra Satria, better known by his moniker Ghost, is another artist who has been invited to join the exhibition. He has a reputation for his daring jewelry designs, which he creates together with his wife, but he reveals his other artistic side at Dia.lo.gue, displaying photographs and paintings that come together in collages, combining the mysterious with the glamorous and the peculiar with the stunning.

FX Harsono said the exhibition is only the beginning of a long-term project, as he is planning to hold further editions of “Exi(s)t” on a yearly basis.

“I will be constantly looking for fresh talents,” he said. “And hopefully, in five to 10 years, the artists who participated in this project will have been able to make a name for themselves in the art scene.”

Exi(s)t: Maps, Re-Imagined Until June 10 Dia.lo.gue Artspace Jl. Kemang Selatan No. 99 A South Jakarta Tel. 021 719 9671- - 'Maps Reimagined' still ongoing until June 10.

 Katrin Figge