Saturday, April 22, 2017

Seratan Luru Raos



Lukisan "Bring the Spirit" karya Astuti Kusumo, 200 x 300 cm2016

"Seri Merapi IV", 50 x 60 cm, ail on canvas, 2017
 
[perca-perca pembacaan atas gagasan dan karya Astuti Kusumo] 

Oleh Kuss Indarto 

MENYIMAK pameran tunggal pertama Astuti Kusumo ini adalah menyimak, setidaknya, tiga hal penting. Pertama, perihal posisinya sebagai seniman yang menghadirkan diri mencari eksistensi dalam pusaran dinamika seni rupa Yogyakarta dari jalur otodidak. Kedua, problem perempuan yang dibawa oleh seniman ini, dari perkara personal yang melekat dalam dirinya dan perkara substansial yang menempel pada sebagian karya-karya yang dipresentasikannya kali ini. Ketiga, ihwal “perburuan rasa” yang telah dan terus dilakukannya sebagai seorang seniman—sebagaimana tema pameran ini, “Seratan Luru Raos”, catatan perihal perburuan rasa.

Mengenai hal pertama, yakni kenyataan bahwa Astuti berangkat sebagai seniman dari jalur otodidak, saya tidak akan memberi tekanan lebih jauh pada kerangka pandang oposisi biner (binary opposition) antara otodidak dan akademik. Realitas yang ada memberi gambaran bahwa keduanya hadir saling melengkapi satu sama lain. Bahwa dewasa ini, khususnya di Yogyakarta, peran dan sepak terjang para seniman dari jalur akademik sangatlah dominan, tentu tak bisa dipungkiri. Seniman akademik atau seniman yang terdidik dari lembaga pendidikan formal seni rupa ini, di Yogyakarta, cikal-bakalnya telah terbentuk lama, yakni berawal ketika Presiden pertama RI, Sukarno, mendirikan ASRI (Akademi Seni Rupa Indonesia) pada 17 Januari 1950 atau 67 tahun lalu (di kemudian hari menjadi Fakultas Seni Rupa, ISI Yogyakarta—setelah mendirikan Balai Pendidikan Universiter Guru Gambar pada 1 Agustus 1947, yang kelak menjadi Fakultas Seni Rupa dan Desain, ITB.

Kehadiran lembaga pendidikan tinggi formal seni rupa yang kemudian disusul oleh lembaga pendidikan menengah atas formal seni rupa, yakni SSRI (Sekolah Seni Rupa Indonesia) mulai tahun April 1963, secara evolutif—setelah berlangsung selama puluhan tahun—telah mengubah peta perkembangan seni rupa di Yogyakarta sendiri, bahkan di Indonesia. Jakarta bukan lagi pusat seni rupa, kecuali sebagai pasar yang cukup riuh, sementara Yogyakarta telah berdiri kokoh sebagai zona kekuatan seni rupa di Indonesia, bahkan Asia Tenggara. Di dalamnya, di Yogyakarta sendiri, konstelasinya juga berubah. Berbeda dengan kondisi pada dasawarsa 1950 dan 1960an yang dinamika perkembangan seni rupanya diwarnai oleh sanggar-sanggar seni, kini diriuh-rendahi oleh para seniman (atau calon seniman) yang terdidik secara akademik oleh lembaga pendidikan formal seni rupa. Mereka, baik yang bergerak secara individual ataupun yang tergabung secara kolektif dalam sebuah wadah komunitas seni, banyak menggerakkan berbagai aktivitas seni rupa di berbagai ruang-ruang seni yang juga banyak berdiri di kawasan ini. Mereka juga berusaha membangun jejaring kerja di level nasional, regional bahkan global. Realitas yang ada mengindikasikan dengan kuat bahwa para perupa akademik ini telah banyak memberi pengaruh besar pada dunia pewacanaan seni rupa. Realitas ini juga merembet pada aspek yang lain, yakni pasar (art market) yang menaruh kepercayaan terhadap perkembangan dan pencapaian para seniman akademik. Gejala ini tidak saja terjadi pada level global, namun juga di ranah lokal. Tidak jarang para pelaku pasar yang turun di lapangan mempertanyakan asal-usul seniman yang tengah berpameran di sebuah ruang seni: “seniman A itu lulusan kampus seni mana?”, dan semacamnya. Kadang terasa tak kurang fair, namun itulah yang sesekali terjadi.

Di celah sepak terjang para perupa akademik yang sangat dinamis di Yogyakarta inilah, tentu tidak mudah bagi para seniman non-akademik atau otodidak untuk berkiprah. Astuti Kusumo termasuk salah satu orang yang berupaya keras untuk menghadirkan diri menembus dominasi itu. Pasti tak akan mudah, dan tidak perlu mematok ekspektasi atas pencapaian yang terlalu tinggi. Jangankan Astuti yang berlatar belakang pendidikan tinggi ekonomi di salah satu universitas swasta di Yogyakarta, bahkan para calon seniman yang berasal dari kampus seni rupa lain di Yogyakarta pun—seperti dari UNY (dulu IKIP Yogyakarta), Universitas Sarjana Wiyata Taman Siswa, dan lainnya—hingga sekarang sulit menembus dominasi anak-anak ISI Yogyakarta.

Pada sisi “kekurangan” inilah yang tengah ditempuh oleh Astuti untuk ditambal dengan pembelajaran diri dari banyak segi. Menjadi pembelajar yang gigih dan tekun dengan mengabaikan usia serta berbagai keterbatasan. Salah satu yang saya ingat adalah ketika suatu hari, 19 Februari 2012, Astuti Kusumo sengaja terbang ke Jakarta hanya untuk menyaksikan pembukaan pameran tunggal seniman Yogyakarta asal Bali, Made Toris Mahendra. Pameran yang bertajuk kuratorial “Hidden Passion” itu berlangsung di Apik Gallery di bilangan Radio Dalam, Jakarta Pusat. Saya tak tahu persis apakah dia betul-betul bertolak ke Jakarta hanya untuk keperluan itu atau ada aktivitas yang lain. Namun, hal yang masih saya ingat betul, Astuti banyak bertanya menggali pengetahuan tentang berbagai hal seputar praktik dan proses penciptakan kepada Toris sebagai seniman yang tengah berpameran, dan kepada saya sebagai kurator pameran tersebut. Kalau melihat rentang waktu antara kedatangan Astuti dalam pameran tunggal Made Toris (tahun 2012) dan pameran tunggalnya yang pertama kali ini (tahun 2017)—yang berjarak 5 tahun—kita bisa membopong kesimpulan masing-masing, antara lain bahwa ada dugaan keseriusan dari Astuti sebagai sang pembelajar yang berusaha mengejar pencapaian.

Dalam jengkal waktu sepanjang itu, dia berusaha keras membangun relasi yang tepat dan efektif untuk menempatkan posisi dirinya dengan baik. Ya, ini masalah eksistensi dan positioning yang tak bisa dielakkan dalam peta seni rupa—sekecil apapun keberadaannya. Maka, pameran tunggalnya kali ini, kiranya, menjadi lompatan penting atas hasil belajar menimba pengetahuan dan ketelatenan selama bertahun-tahun dengan jalur yang dia kukuhi. Dan ini adalah pencapaian yang pantas untuk diapresiasi, meski asupan kritik masih sangat perlu untuk menata perkembangan ke depan.

*** 

Sebagai Perempuan 

Jalur pilihan hidup yang dikukuhi Astuti dengan bergiat di dunia seni rupa ini, sesungguhnya, bukanlah jalur yang pertama dan utama. Namun dia, dunia seni itu, bagai energi atau spirit yang terus melambai-lambai merajuk Astuti secara laten dalam bawah sadarnya. Sebenarnya, sejak kecil, minatnya terhadap dunia seni rupa telah mengemuka. Ketika Astuti mengenyam pendidikan di bangku sekolah dasar (SD), dia sudah mulai menekuninya meski dalam ranah yang berbeda. Tiap kali ada lomba menggambar atau melukis untuk anak-anak, Astuti kecil relatif cukup sering menyabet gelar juara. Sebagai missal, pada lomba menggambar Sirkit Piala Affandi yang diadakan di tiga kota yaitu Jogja, Solo dan Surabaya misalnya, Astuti meraih juara II. Berikutnya, lomba melukis pada rangkaian HUT Dewi Sartika, kembali Astuti meraih jenjang tertinggi, juara I. Tercatat  karyanya pernah mengikuti kompetitisi pameran keliling Asia. Bahkan karyanya pernah membuatnya meraih silver medal dalam rangka Children Art Competition di Shankar India.

Bertahun-tahun lalu, selepas menjadi anak SMA, dia memutuskan untuk kuliah di Fakultas Ekonomi, UPN “Veteran” Yogyakarta (hingga lulus). Selepas itu, Astuti berkarier pada sebuah lembaga perbankan sampai bertahun-tahun, hingga secara struktural posisi jabatannya relatif cukup mapan. Secara finansial pun, relatif cukup bisa “mengamankan” diri dan keluarganya.

Di tengah kemapanan yang telah lama dibangunnya sendiri itu, kemudian Astuti justru “meruntuhkan” begitu saja. Dia memutuskan untuk keluar dari pekerjaannya di sebuah lembaga perbankan, dan kemudian memulai dari nol sama sekali dengan menceburkan diri di dunia seni rupa yang dirinya nyaris tanpa banyak memiliki “bekal”, kecuali niat, mungkin seberkas bakat, dan itu tadi: energi dan spirit yang sekian lama hadir sebagai obsesi personal untuk berkehendak menjadi pelaku seni rupa. Keputusan besar dalam diri Astuti itu sudah barang pasti banyak mempunyai risiko yang tidak kecil. Ditambah lagi dengan kenyataan bahwa dirinya sudah sekian lama menjadi single parent bagi dua putrinya. Astuti adalah sosok ibu sekaligus ayah bagi anak-anaknya. Sosok yang menghadirkan diri di depan anak-anaknya dalam feminitas dan “maskulitas”-nya sekaligus pada satu waktu.

Keberanian (= kenekatan) Astuti untuk mencoba keluar dari zona nyaman itu seperti mengingatkan kembali konsep hidup orang Jawa yang tentang “Dadi Wong”—seperti yang pernah dibahas dengan detil oleh Risa Permanadeli dalam “Dadi Wong, Kerangka yang Menjabarkan Pemikiran Jawa dan Representasi Modernitas” (2015). Banyak orang memiliki pemahaman tentang “Dadi Wong” sebagai orang yang: mentas, mandiri, mapan, dan mulyo. Secara harafiah kata mentas berarti keadaan ketika seseorang keluar dari air/sungai setelah berendam di dalamnya, namun mentas dalam konteks ini bermakna sebagai sebuah kesiapan mental dan fisik juga finansial untuk melanjutkan perjalanan hidup. Kata mandiri berarti kemampuan untuk mengurus diri sendiri, tanggung jawab dengan hidupnya sendiri. Mapan artinya tidak memiliki keurangan apapun dan mampu membantu orang lain, serta kata mulyo yang artinya kaya secara sosial juga finansial, dan itu bisa terlihat dari banyaknya harta benda yang dimiliki.

Dalam pemahaman orang dan kultur Jawa konsep “Dadi Wong” tersebut kurang lebih bisa diringkas dengan menyajikan tiga atribut yang paling dominan, yakn: kegigihan, keberhasilan, dan keterbukaan rohani dengan tujuan untuk membantu orang lain. Kualitas-kualitas itu mengukur kedalaman dan kebesaran jiwa pada seseorang yang dianggap sudah “Dadi Wong”. Maka, atribut tentang kegigihan itu menemukan titik sambungnya dengan nasihat para orang (yang lebih) tua yang menyatakan: “ajar prihatin, supaya bisa “Dadi Wong” atau orang harus belajar bersusah-susah, supaya bisa menjadi orang”. Atribut tentang keberhasilan bertemu dengan ungkapan “wah uripe wis mapan, wonge wis “Dadi Wong” (kehidupannya sudah berhasil, karena dia sudah “Dadi Wong”), serta atribut keterbukaan rohani yang selaras dengan ungkapan “wong iki “Dadi Wong” yo kudu isa disambati” yang artinya “kalau sudah jadi orang maka orang tersebut harus bisa dimintai tolong”.

“Gangguan-gangguan” tentang konsep “Dadi Wong” tersebut tampaknya cukup memberi daya dorong bagi Astuti Kusumo untuk “dadi wong” dengan caranya sendiri. Bukan lagi menjadikan diri sebagai karyawan atau wanita karier yang sukses di jalur perbankan, misalnya, yang selaras dengan disiplin ilmu yang telah dikenyamnya. Namun dengan menjadi seniman. Pancapaian dan standarnya pasti berbeda, setidaknya bukan sekadar dari problem ekonomi dan finansial, namun dari soal kepuasan batin. Ini tentu sangat sulit diukur dengan angka-angka statistik.

“Gangguan” tersebut kemudian turun (derivated) sebagai gagasan-gagasan dasar yang kemudian dieksekusi sebagai karya kreatif, ya karya lukisan yang ada dalam pameran ini. Ada sekian banyak karya yang membopong tema perihal perempuan dengan upaya kemandirian dan kekuatannya untuk tidak menjadi subordinat laki-laki. Saya tidak mengatakan bahwa sebagian karya-karya Astuti dalam pameran ini memuat tema perihal feminisme. Sama sekali tidak, karena dia pun pasti juga enggan menyentuh perbincangan tentang itu.

Sebut misalnya karya bertajuk “Bring the Spirit” yang sebagian besar bernuansa biru. Di tengah dominasi biru itu Astuti sengaja menorehkan warna yang berbeda, yakni warna cerah, pada sesosok perempuan tengah menunggang kuda. Ada citra heroisme di sana: perempuan di atas kuda tengah bersiap menghela busur untuk melepaskan anak panah menuju sasaran. Bangunan narasi heroik ini terasa kuat karena di sekeliling perempuan tersebut ada sekian banyak citra manusia yang tampak gelap dan dalam berbagai posisi serta ekspresi terpinggirkan. Mereka, sosok-sosok tersebut, seperti menengadahkan kepala, menatap nanar, dan menanamkan banyak harapan pada srikandi yang tengah memanah itu. Apakah itu gambaran obsesif dari senimannya yang sekarang ini (selama bertahun-tahun) menjadi single parent, harus mandiri dari ketergantungan pihak lain, dan ada sekian banyak kepala menaruh harapan pada pencapaiannya? Bisa jadi.

*** 

Tentang Rasa, Juga Lelaku 

Pameran tunggal Astuti ini sendiri mengambil tema “Seratan Luru Raos”. Ini merupakan hasil penggalian atas kata-kata dalam bahasa Jawa, sebuah pengantar komunikasi yang sejatinya banyak penganutnya namun kini lambat laun mulai surut karena ditinggalkan. Maka, ada nilai moral dari penggalian teks berbahasa Jawa ini, yakni upaya kecil untuk kembali karib dengan kultur Jawa.

Secara etimologis, kata “luru” memuat arti memburu. Tetapi kemudian memiliki perluasan makna dan konteks sehingga kurang lebih dipahami sebagai “belajar atau memburu ilmu”. Jika dijadikan secara diglosif maka arti pada bahasa pustakanya hampir sama dengan kata “ngudi”. Namun kata “ngudi“ terasa agak kurang dinamis jika dibandingkan dengan “luru”. Sedangkan terminology atau kata “raos” dalam bahasa Jawa merupakan bentuk halus atau eufemisme dari kata “rasa” atau “roso”. Nilai rasanya bahkan lebih dalam dari sekadar kata “rasa“. Raos itu merasakan dengan atma atau jiwa, jadi tidak sekadar merasakan indera, tetapi juga secara empati(k). Umpamanya, andai seseorang mencubit bagian dari tubuh kita, seketika itu yang dirasakan adalah sakit pada kulit yang dicubit, bahkan dalam hal ini juga meliputi emosi orang mencubit, mengapa dia mencubit. Jadi “raos” itu lebih dalam di mana ada berpikir metafisik. Sementara kata “seratan” juga merupakan bentuk penghalusan dari kata “cathetan” atau catatan. Dengan demikian, tema pameran “Seratan Luru Raos“ ini diandaikan memiliki makna yang dalam sebagai catatan atau upaya pencatatan dalam proses belajar dengan, melalui, tentang dan dalam rasa seseorang.

Astuti sendiri menumpukan harapan bahwa karya-karya ini merupakan titik tertinggi dari “raos” terhadap diri sendiri, juga raos terhadap proses maupun produk sosial yang saat ini selalu bergejolak. Maka, melalui raos, seniman yang memiliki satu petera dan dua puteri ini ingin membaca lebih jauh segenap gejala dan dinamika dunia—mulai dari perkara social, budaya, kemasyarakatan dan lainnya. Tentu dari sudut pandang personal Astuti, dan dari kerangka dasar seni rupa.

Tentang “rasa” ini kiranya juga menarik diperbincangkan karena juga bisa bertautan erat dengan problem “lelaku”. Bagi masyarakat Jawa, kata “lelaku” itu menjadi kata kerja aktif ketika tertulis sebagai “nglakoni”, dan ini—bagi masayarakat modern dewasa ini—terasa menjadi sebuah praktik mistik yang dianggap menjauhi logika. Namun justru di sini letak titik menariknya. Di Jawa, orang yang sedang “nglakoni”, misalnya dengan melakukan “laku” prihatin, bermeditasi, membiasakan diri berkonsentrasi di tempat sepi sering mendapatkan pengalaman atau firasat akan kehadiran (“dzat”) yang Ilahi. Kehadiran “dzat” yang menyapa orang Jawa itu bukan muncul melalui akal budi dan pancaindera manusia, melaui rasa, sebagai indera keenam. Masyarakat Jawa tradisional memberi tempat begitu penting atas kehadiran rasa. Indera rasa ini sungguh-sungguh sangat dilibatkan dalam kepribadian Jawa, tidak kalah pentingnya dengan pikiran, sehingga ia sangat berperan untuk melihat laku  dan perilaku orang Jawa secara umum. Seseorang bisa disebut sebagai sudah dewasa ketika ia mampu mengendalikan dan menghadikan rasa dalam berkomunikasi dengan orang lain, dalam mengungkapkan dirinya dan dalam komunikasi dengan Gusti Allah, sebagai Rasa Sejati. Tak heran bila ada frasa yang cukup populer bagi orang Jawa, yakni “… yen tak rasak-rasakke..”, sebagai alternatif dari frasa “…yen tak pikir-pikir…”—yang lebih berorientasi pada aspek logika saja. Clifford Geertz dalam Abangan, Santri, Priyayi dalam Masyarakat Jawa (1981) juga memberi penegasan bahwa “makin halus rasa seseorang, makin mendalam pengertiannya, makin luhur sikap moralnya, dan indah segi luarnya”. Dugaan-dugaan atas dunia batin orang Jawa inilah yang kemudian dikorelasikan oleh realitas pada hasil proses penghalusan dunia lahir seperti tarian klasik, music gamelan, tembang macapat, batik dan lainnya. Itu semua adalah artifak penting yang lahir dari dunia batin orang Jawa dengan kepemilikan atas rasa yang telah mendewasakan mereka. Dan rasa itu merupakan hasil dari upaya “lelaku”.

*** 

Gunung di Kanvas Astuti 

Ada sepuluhan karya lukis Astuti Kusumo yang menggambarkan gunung. Bagi orang Jawa seperti Astuti, citra gunung memiliki makna yang mendalam. Kerajaan Mataram Hindhu dulu hidup di sekitar gunung Merapi, membangun peradaban dan kebudayaannya bersama gunung. Ketika terdesak, mereka lari ke arah timur, dan lalu berdiam di kawasan pegunungan Tenggerlah. Atau sebagian lagi berpindah ke pulau Bali dan menjadikan gunung Agung sebagai bagian penting dari perikehidupan spiritualnya. Demikian pula dengan kerajaan Mataram Islam, posisi gunung Merapi menduduki garis penting dalam laku spiritual para pendirinya, dan diyakini sebagai satu kesatuan alam yang tak bisa diceraikan sebagaimana posisi laut atau segara kidul di sisi selatan.

Ketika Mataram Islam telah pecah dan salah satunya menjadi Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat, kini, keberadaan gunung (Merapi) juga masih menjadi situs penting. Gunung Merapi yang merupakan gunung berapi paling aktif di dunia, dan tentu membahayakan bagi manusia ketika terjadi eksplosi, ternyata ta menyurutkan jutaan manusia di sekitarnya untk beranjak pergi. Kawasan sekitar gunung Merapi justru teramat subur dengan perkembangan peradaban dan kebudayaannya. Tidak sekadar tumbuh merayap namun senantiasa terjadi dinamika di sana. Gunung ternyata menjadi energi positif yang bisa berdiam bersama manusia, apalagi ketika manusia mampu menghormatinya. Itulah yang terjadi kenapa kemudian sesepuh penjaga Merapi, dulu, menyebut Merapi sebagai “kiai”—sebutan yang memuliakan sesosok apappun, termasuk gunung.

Dalam dunia pewayangan—salah satu pencapaian kultural masyarakat Jawa—representasi atas gunung digambarkan lewat bentuk gunungan. Secara visual, dalam gunungan terdapat banyak secara figur satwa dan flora yang semuanya mewakili banyak perikehidupan alam. Gunungan sangat penting kehadirannya karena dia selalu muncul pada awal (bedhol kayon) dan ujung dari cerita wayang (tancep kayon). Gunungan juga dihadirkan sebagai pembatas antaradegan, sekaligus untuk penggambar(an) situasi seperti datangnya hujan, badai, air, hingga mewakili daya kesaktian tokoh tertentu. Dengan demikian gunungan dalam wayang begitu vital untuk menghidupkan narasi pada wayang, kisah dalam kehidupan.

Astuti, yang mengkreasi banyak karya berwujud gunung ini pantas untuk diapresiasi lebih jauh. Dia menyatakan bahwa: “Gunung-gunung merupakan anganku, yaitu tercapainya titik yang tertinggi, juga sebagai instrumen dalam rangka mengintropeksi diri, dalam hal ini gunung ibarat hati, ketinggian gunung tak ada yang bisa menandingi. Di kala Sang Ego sedang melanda manusia, seperti kemarahan luapan emosi atau apapun bentuk perilaku negatif, akan menghancurkan manusia itu sendiri.”

Lebih jauh seniman ini membilang bahwa “Beberapa makhluk adalah jiwaku juga raos-ku sendiri yang kadang tidak stabil, kadang juga belum pernah kujumpai. Warna kesempurnaan pun sedang kucari melalui instrumen raos-ku. Aku tetap luru raos lewat kawruh dan luru kawruh tentang dunia, alam dan kehidupan  melalui raos-ku.” Bahkan problem ini dikaitkan lebih jauh dengan relasinya pada anak-anak atau dengan sosok ibu: “Dalam karyaku yang lain aku luru spirit perjuangan wanita pun ketika saat kutemui sosok wanita, yaitu ibuku, kucoba raos-ku membaca raos ibu karena aku juga seorang ibu yang harus memberi raos kepada anak-anakku.”

Pameran tunggal yang pertama bagi Astuti ini, merupakan momentum sekaligus pencapaian yang penting, monumental, layak untuk ditegaskan dengan statemen yang menguatkan makna berkeseniannya. Astuti menyatakan bahwa “Momentum tanggal 21 April 2017 ini, aku mencoba membaca sosok wanita melalui raos, dengan spirit perjuangannya. Dan dengan lukisan ini pula ingin kubeberkan raos: raos angan, raos sedih, raos gembira/suka maupun raos kegelisahan. Semoga raos-ku bisa kubaca sendiri sebagai refleksi atas hidupku. Kucoba juga temui Gusti melalui raos.”

Selamat datang di medan seni rupa (Yogyakarta), Astuti! Siaplah masuk dalam ruang pertarungan yang penuh kompleksitas. Ada banyak pujian yang tulus, ada pula yang bisa menyungkurkanmu. Ada kritik yang menyehatkan laju kreativitasmu, ada pula yang membuatmu gagu tak mampu mengisi relung daya ciptamu. Ada peluk erat yang lalu membetahkanmu, ada pula pelukan sayang namun membuatmu bisa terjengkang. Maka, selamat pula untuk mengelola sensivitasmu! Salam! *** 

Kuss Indarto, penulis seni rupa, tinggal di Yogyakarta.

Friday, April 21, 2017

CARA

Di Indonesia, dalam kurun 3-4 tahun terakhir, mencintai atau membenci Jokowi sepertinya sudah satu paket dengan mencintai atau membenci Ahok. Artinya, mereka yang mencintai Jokowi seperti sebangun dan sejajar dengan mencintai Ahok. Sebaliknya, mereka yang membenci Jokowi sepertinya juga membenci Ahok. (Maaf kalau oposisi biner “mencintai-membenci” mungkin kurang tepat). Tentu ini bisa jadi sekadar praduga karena tanpa dukungan data statistik yang memadai. Tapi “fenomena” ini cukup terasa, setidaknya yang berkembang pelataran medsos—yang saya amati dalam 3 tahun terakhir ini. Drama pertarungan kedua belah pihak ini begitu dahsyat melebihi “el clasico” antara Real Madrid dan Barcelona, antara Spanyol dan Catalan (sebutan “rasis” para pendukung Real bahwa Barcelona bukanlah bagian dari Spanyol, tapi ya kawasan bernama Catalan).
Realitas yang terjadi memang begitu menarik. Tahun 2014, ketika Jokowi memenangi pertarungan Pilpres melawan Prabowo, kata-kata yang berkembang dan sangat populer kala itu adalah “ada kecurangan”, “move on”, dan sebagainya. Kata-kata “ada kecurangan” menjadi representasi kekecewaan para pendukung Prabowo, dan “move on” seperti menjadi counter atau medan pengingat untuk bergerak ke depan—oleh pendukung Jokowi bagi para pendukung Prabowo.

Sekarang, situasinya seolah berbalik, seperti pertandingan yang berkedudukan draw, imbang, satu lawan satu (1-1). Para pembenci Jokowi menemukan medium untuk melampiaskan “kesumat” kekalahannya tahun 2014 dengan kemenangan Anies-Sandi atas Ahok-Djarot di pilkada DKI kemarin. Sebaliknya, para pendukung Jokowi dan Ahok terasa sesak menerima kekalahan cagub DKI yang petahana tersebut. Kata-kata yang sementara ini berkembang adalah “kemenangan dengan cara brutal” sebagai perwakilan rasa kecewa para pendukung Ahok, dan kata-kata “Jakarta Baru” yang memrepresentasikan ajakan pendukung Anies agar para pendukung Ahok menerima kekalahan. Kata-kata lain pasti akan terus membuncah dalam pusaran komunikasi di medsos dan media lain, meski belum atau kurang seikonik kata “move on” di tahun 2014 lalu.

Para pendukung dan pembenci itu berada di lapis bawah persoalan karena lebih sering menjadi obyek. Gembira ketika jagonya menang, atau kecewa tatkala junjungannya kalah adalah dua sisi persoalan yang akan hadir silih berganti. Di atas itu semua adalah para “disainer” yang merancang kepentingannya sendiri. Grand design atau disain besar itu sering kali dirancang pertama-tama untuk kepentingannya sendiri, sekaligus untuk mengawetkan kekuasaannya sendiri. Mereka tetap membutuhkan para pendukung dan pembenci di lapis bawahnya, dan bisa jadi tak peduli apakah disainnya mampu mengakomodasi lapisan di bawah atau tidak. Cuek. Maka benarlah eyang Harold Lasswell, ilmuwan politik abad 20 yang membilang bahwa politik adalah siapa mendapatkan apa, dimana, dan bagaimana (caranya).

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Documenta 14

Gordon Hookey, Solidarity, 2017.

by
Ben Eastham

ATHENS CONSERVATOIRE / ATHENS SCHOOL OF FINE ART / BENAKI MUSEUM / MUSEUM OF ANTI-DICTATORSHIP / NATIONAL MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART / PARKO ELEFTHERIASAthens

April 8-July 16, 2017

The fourteenth edition of Documenta takes place, for the first time in the institution’s history, across two locations. By staging it in Germany and Greece, and expressing the hope that an exhibition bankrolled by the former might effectively critique the infrastructures of power that have immiserated the latter, curator Adam Szymczyk signalled that this would be a Documenta defined by its internal contradictions. The embrace of paradox continued in the press conference for the Athens opening, during which Szymczyk spoke about the possibility of “learning from Athens” through a process of “unlearning what we know.”

That revealing “we” encapsulates some of the concerns surrounding the decision to splay Documenta 14 across a fragmenting Europe. Not the least of these is that the southern city might be expected to play the role of exotic other to the visiting northern institution, with whose western European sensibilities the visitor is assumed to identify. These and other conflicts between the manifest aims of Documenta 14 and its underlying structures are never entirely resolved, but the same might be said of any exhibition of contemporary art on a comparable scale. Indeed, Szymczyk’s statement to the press suggested a strategy predicated on acknowledging and then exploring the productive tensions between contradictory positions. In order to know yourself, he proposes, you must first become a stranger to yourself. A further Socratic injunction, that the greatest part of wisdom consists in the admission of ignorance, might reassure visitors to this sprawling citywide presentation of some 160 artists, many of whose names will be foreign to even the most diligent art world insider. Estrangement is both the enduring effect and founding principle of an exhibition divided against itself.

An intelligently curated section at the Pireos annexe of the Benaki Museum introduces the movement between different states—of consciousness, being, knowledge, citizenship, identity—as one method through which to undermine established logics. This Documenta is played by an ensemble cast, but among the works which might serve to illuminate broader themes is Véréna Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor’s mesmerizing film somniloquies (2017), narrated by a prolific sleep-talker. Set to ghostlike moving images of sleeping bodies suspended in space, these direct dispatches from the unconscious—occasionally explicit, always surreal, frequently discomfiting—suggest that it might be possible to “learn” about one’s self by first moving outside it.

At the same venue, Roee Rosen’s installation Live and Die as Eva Braun (1995–97), a plot for an immersive virtual reality experience printed onto ten black banners and accompanied by framed illustrations, also articulates what is typically left unspoken. By encouraging the viewer to identify with Hitler’s pitiable mistress, the work challenges conventions of remembrance and identity while forcing home the point that the lines separating credulous stupidity from the commission of evil are more easily crossed than it is comfortable to acknowledge. Färden (The Journey/Mátki) (1986), an embroidered linen by Britta Marakatt-Labba, the most accomplished of a contingent of Sami artists represented in the show, depicts the lowering of a casket by a congregation of mourners, above whom soar the souls of the recently departed. That the living and dead might be might be more intimately connected than is dreamt of by science is reiterated by the dismembered bones depicted in the same artist’s Skallarna (The Skulls/Oaiveskálžžut) (2017). The embroidery on linen presents a delicately morbid, uncannily homely protest against western anthropologists’ disinterment of skeletons on the grounds that this disturbs the souls to whom they continue to belong.

In Marakatt-Labba’s work, as elsewhere in the exhibition, critique is directed against zealots of any stripe who claim to have identified a system of knowledge that is true to the exclusion of all others, whether scientistic materialism, patriarchal government, or neoliberal economics. The determination to represent as many structures of thought as possible lends this exhibition a dizzying variety of styles and attitudes. My personal highlights were as varied as Mounira Al Solh’s decorated shelter at the Museum of Islamic Art, which houses the embroidered testimonies of Middle Eastern migrants (Sperveri, 2017), Pope.L’s citywide Whispering Campaign (2016-17), and Benjamin Patterson’s open air sound installation When Elephants Fight, It Is the Frogs that Suffer (2016), set beside a running stream at the Byzantine Gardens and comprising a croaking frog chorus intermittently interrupted by such appropriately Heraclitean pronouncements as “All is Flux.” In different circumstances such a rounding-up of approaches and epistemologies might feel like a purely intellectual exercise; in the context of the accelerating collapse of the institutions and principles that have shaped western society since the Enlightenment, however, the search for new ways of structuring the future feels like a matter of more than academic interest.

The persistent and pointed juxtaposition of historical with contemporary work makes clear that the re-imagination of our future entails the open-minded reappraisal of our past. While Szymczyk’s principle of “unlearning” might at first glance seem worryingly close to the postmodern relativism recently hijacked by the far right, works such as Yervant Gianikian and Angela Ricci Lucchi’s film Return to Khodorciur–Armenian Diary (1986)—which records Gianikian’s father reading from the harrowing journal he kept during the Armenian genocide of 1915—illustrate the false equivalence between post-truth and non-canonical accounts of history. As in Tshibumba Kanda Matulu’s cycle of paintings recounting the fraught past of the Democratic Republic of Congo (“101 Works,” 1973-74), the visitor is urged to be receptive to different accounts of the world. The practice of history is presented as an ongoing activity, requiring the visitor to step outside authorized accounts of the past and exercise judgment.

The medium most closely associated with moving outside oneself—ekstasis—is music, which might explain why this edition of Documenta is at its strongest when exploring the revelatory and ecstatic potential of sound. At Odeion, the Athens Conservatoire, Ben Russell’s 35mm film Black and White Trypps Number Three (2007) documents how noise music can induce altered states. This portrait of a crowd of bodies transformed into a single rapturous mass suggests that sound can stimulate the kind of communal experience that is increasingly denied to western societies disfigured by capitalist individualism. That sound can dissolve the boundaries between self and other was demonstrated during the opening days by Alvin Lucier’s live performance of I am sitting in a room (1969/2017) at the same venue.

Sitting on a wooden chair, the octogenarian Lucier described the sound piece in a few, halting sentences. These amplified words were picked up by microphones placed in the packed auditorium and played repeatedly back through the speakers, each time picking up a layer of distortion until, in the artist’s own words, “the resonant frequencies of the room reinforce themselves so that any semblance of my speech, with perhaps the exception of rhythm, is destroyed.” As his words dissolved gradually into shimmering metallic sheets of sound, pulsing through an audience whose physical occupation of the space played a part in determining their frequency, I was moved.

At the Athens School of Fine Art, one of the young activists portrayed in Bouchra Khalili’s defiant digital video documentary The Tempest Society (2017) describes the emerging coalition between oppressed communities around the world as a “new music” to which they have “already begun to listen,” suggesting that polyphony is not only a useful curatorial tool but a principle of resistance. Installed just a few meters away, however, Artur Żmijewski’s unnerving Glimpse (2016-17) interrogates the ethics of art’s engagement with social issues. The black-and-white, meaningfully silent 16mm film depicts a series of “gifts” presented by the artist to refugees in the cramped, numbered shacks that made up the migrant camp at Calais. The viewer is left to consider, as the artist proceeds roughly to pose his subjects and then to cover with white zinc paint the face of a black man to whom he has given a new item of clothing, what precisely he—and his audience—receives in exchange.

The instrumentalization of silent witnesses to history finds another, more literal, expression at the National Museum of Contemporary Art. A gallery is devoted to the avant-garde experiments of Russian composer Arseny Avraamov (1886-1944), whose invention of graphical sound made it possible to transcribe objects as musical notation and thereby to “play them” using a sound system. He chose for his first subjects classical vases, an attempt to recover a forgotten past through sound that resonates in this context. For his performance on the opening day of his Border Cantos (2012–ongoing), Guillermo Galindo made a tin can symphony out of makeshift instruments constructed from detritus collected from migrants in Kassel and Athens. Nevin Aladağ’s gently surrealist Music Room (Athens) (2017) also coaxes sound from dumb objects, in her case by stringing a high backed, narrow chair or stretching a drum skin over the seat of a stool.
In common with many of the works across 40 venues in Athens, Aladağ’s evocative installation is only fully activated by its performance. This is analogous of the relationship between Documenta’s physical exhibitions and the broader conceptual framework of which they are only one part, and without reference to which they can feel obscure. These curricular activities include the publication of four issues of Documenta’s “takeover” of the Greek magazine South as a State of Mind under the editorship of Quinn Latimer(1), an experiment in radical pedagogy entitled “aneducation,” and an extensive public program curated by Paul B. Preciado and hosted by the Museum of Anti-Dictatorship in Parko Eleftherias. These were the spaces in which Documenta 14’s principles were refined and articulated. That the findings of these assemblies—on such diverse themes as masks, language, gift economies, gender fluidity, antiquity, and hunger—are not more easily available to the visitor is to be regretted.

Inevitably for an exhibition which attempts to orchestrate so many marginalized and dissident voices, Documenta 14 oscillates between the musical and psychological applications of the word “fugue”: a delicate polyphonic arrangement and state of momentary confusion. Yet in a broader sociopolitical context characterized by aggressive essentialism and wilful oversimplifications, this faith in the visitor’s willingness to embrace complexity constitutes a political position. Indeed, by recognizing and undermining binaries—between implication and critique, north and south, male and female, citizenship and statelessness, sound and silence, freedom and constraint, individual and collective—the exhibition reclaims instability, uncertainty, and ambiguity as productive states and progressive principles. To move forward, it proposes, it is necessary to live in-between.

(1) On which, full disclosure, I worked as associate editor.


Ben Eastham is assistant editor at art-agenda and co-founder of The White Review. He is the co-author with Katya Tylevich of My Life as a Work of Art (Laurence King, 2016).

Spaces—The Historical Gallery


Maurizio Cattelan, Novecento, 1997. Taxidermized horse, leather slings, rope 78 3/4 x 27 9/16 x 106 5/16 inches. Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Gift of the Supporting Friends of the Castello di Rivoli, 1997. Image courtesy of Castello di Rivoli, Rivoli-Torino.
 

Leigh Markopoulos’s Spaces feature, dedicated to “The Historical Gallery,” appears here in its original draft. The editorial process was interrupted by Leigh’s sudden death, which left her words, alongside all her future projects, forever suspended. Those who had the privilege of knowing Leigh will recognize the tone of her voice along these lines; those who weren’t personally acquainted with her will have the opportunity to encounter her sharp mind directly.

It still seems impossible to write about Leigh using the past tense. This text, alongside her previous contributions to art-agenda and other publications, will ensure that her ideas remain alive. Through it she exists in a continuous present, having an impact on all those who shared her passion for art.

Leigh was a beloved educator, an intelligent writer, a curator’s curator. In memorial to her, this feature is preceded by tributes from some of her closest colleagues, co-workers, and friends.

Leigh was a passionate scholar, writer, teacher, and curator who was dearly loved by her students and colleagues. She first came to California College of the Arts in 2002 to serve as deputy director of the CCA Wattis Institute, a job she quickly mastered and performed with diligence, grace, and enthusiasm. But it was when she returned to the college as chair of the Curatorial Practice Program in 2008 that we truly saw her brilliance. She thrived in her role at the helm of the program, creating a rigorous, expansive, and influential learning experience for her students. Leigh will be remembered for her incisive writing, her keen wit, and her notable curatorial projects. Her loss is felt deeply across the college, but her legacy will be carried on through the work of the many young curators whose careers she helped launch.
Stephen Beal is President of California College of the Arts.

Leigh and I were friends for fifteen years and worked together like hand in glove for eight. Our collaborative work was the primary material of that friendship. Addressing ourselves together to our students we constantly learned new things and rediscovered our relations to art and the world. We used our initials like a kid’s code language. How many thousands of emails did I address to “Dear LM”? There are two things I want to say here, prelude to an infinite number. First, Leigh was a private person, someone who chose with care how and to whom she revealed her life. The accident was more profoundly terrible for the fact that it sprawled her body and spilled her things willy-nilly out into the world. So we all end, in one way or other, but I have a new sense of the ghastly sorrow of it. Second: More than most, Leigh was someone who built networks and supported others. She was the connective tissue without which a body (call it “the art world”) cannot move. Obituaries have trouble tallying up that vital practice, but we cannot live or produce without people doing the work she did. Too, her death caught her rethinking this disposition—caught her, that is, herself deciding to research and to write. That is what the sabbatical she will now never take was meant to realize. The essay you will read here is the first—and now the final —artifact of this new project and sense of herself. I mourn not only the Leigh we had, but the one she was still inventing.
Julian Myers-Szupinska is Senior Editor of The Exhibitionist and Associate Professor of Curatorial Practice, California College of the Arts.

Leigh was an absolutely wonderful and brilliant colleague, collaborator, editor, educator, writer, and friend. She played a key role in developing an ambitious program at the CCA Wattis Institute when we worked there together and she went on to develop a strong voice as a writer as well as a curator, organizing two shows (among others) that I think really broke new ground: “Complicity: Contemporary Photography and the Matter of Sculpture,” presented at Rena Bransten Gallery and the show she curated at Oakland’s Creative Growth, “Love is a Stranger,” which explored erotic impulses in “outsider” art. And she brought to bear all of her skills, as well as her far-flung network of loyal colleagues, in her role as director of the Curating Program at the California College of the Arts, where for much of the past eight years she helped charge and enliven the minds of her students.
Ralph Rugoff is Director of the Hayward Gallery, London.

Leigh Markopoulos believed deeply in the work of educating young curators-to-be. In her eight years as Chair of the Curatorial Practice MA Program at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco, she worked very hard to build a leading curriculum in the field. In a discipline where much is intentionally invisible, Leigh provided a space where students might come to see what was yet to be done, giving them the tools needed to undertake this never-ending work of care for the art of our time. She led by example and was driven by a standard that exists just beyond perfection.
Kitty Scott is Carol and Morton Rapp Curator for Modern and Contemporary Art at the Art Gallery of Ontario and Co-Curator of the 2018 Liverpool Biennial.

The gap between what one can remember of a person in words like these and everything that person actually said, or did, or meant to others, everything they were—that gap feels especially large in the case of Leigh’s loss. It’s not that one can’t find words to describe her; in the past weeks many of her students, colleagues, and friends have eloquently spoken to how singular she was as a person and to all the differences she made through her powerful dedication to her work, whether as a teacher, a curator, or a writer. I would echo these testimonials, and also add that I’m grateful to her for having shown me so much, by example, about how to make aesthetic judgments and why that matters.
Yet as hard as I’ve tried to close the gap between what I can say here and what I want these words to mean, this seems impossible to do. That could be because the shock of her sudden, inexplicable death remains overpowering—it pains me to think of all the conversations I’d assumed we were going to have at some point—but I would prefer to think that it somehow connects with all the ways she was unlike anyone else I’ve known, most of all through the dignity and poise of her bearing. I hope she had a sense of how deep an impression she made on those who were lucky enough to enjoy her company; I wish she could know how faithfully these traces will serve her memory by preserving it in others.
Andrew Stefan Weiner is Assistant Professor of Art Theory and Criticism in the Department of Art and Art Professions at NYU–Steinhardt.


The Historical Gallery

Leigh Markopoulos

The categorization “historical” is a fairly general one—of or belonging to the past—and it can encompass a number of spaces we may ostensibly consider “modern”: London’s Hayward Gallery, for example, São Paulo’s MAM, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, Berlin’s Neue Nationalgalerie, or every Chelsea warehouse conversion. These spaces have been built, or refurbished, for the purposes of showing art; they share the architectural lingua franca of white cubism. This article, by contrast, focuses on contemporary venues for showing art that expressly preserve their histories. This history can be specific—the progress of the House of Savoy—or more general—the Cold War era. And these pasts can resonate more profoundly through their interaction with contemporary art. In a mutually beneficial arrangement, new media and new forms serve to highlight the old, while the imbrication of artworks in history, paradoxically, underscores the artist’s capacity to step outside history.

The following four institutions are united by offering more than merely picturesque settings for the display of contemporary art, and additionally are concentrated in Europe, a broader survey being beyond the scope of this text. But first, let’s spend a moment on Harald Szeemann’s 1969 exhibition “When Attitudes Become Form”—memorably restaged by Fondazione Prada in a Venetian palazzo in 2013—because this curatorial experiment encapsulates a number of the possibilities of temporal layering.(1)

Of course, Venice offers examples aplenty of historical architecture, and much of it has since 1895 served as a backdrop to the city’s biannual celebration of international art. The Arsenale, for example, a massive armory and shipyard complex, parts of which date back to the twelfth century, generally hosts the main curatorial statement of the biennale. But jamming a hundred or so works, together with the footprint of the exhibition’s original venue, into the Ca’Corner della Regina was an unprecedented exercise in spatio-temporal juggling. The Kunsthalle Bern’s expansive twentieth-century architecture, represented by temporary sheetrock walls and faithfully replicated fixtures, while not wholly obscuring the palazzo’s Baroque interiors, did echo the brutal acts against that institution—lead spatter, excised plaster—perpetrated by the “Attitudes” artists. Seen against decorative stucco flourishes and pastel colored walls, mutinous gestures by artists such as Richard Serra and Lawrence Weiner were simultaneously neutralized (through underscoring their status as art history) and heightened (how much more radical the experience of this double institutional—and temporal—contravention). The remake thus convincingly laid claim to contemporary relevance, without concealing its status as an artifact, an artful amalgam of time and geography.

Turin’s Castello di Rivoli has since 1984 offered an equally charged environment for considering art. Belonging from the eleventh century to the Dukes of Savoy, and regularly modified in the intervening years, the castello today boasts a thousand years of architectural history. Thickly fortified walls and narrow windows were in times of peace augmented by larger expanses of glass, parquet flooring, frescoed ceilings, and ornate marquetry. In addition to galleries for temporary exhibitions, many of which have been modernized, a section of the castello contains a permanent collection of site-specific installations. These include a still-fragrant wall of laurel leaves by Giuseppe Penone (Respirare lombra, 1999) and a suspended black rubber blot by Gilberto Zorio (Machia III, 1968) which partially obscures a Rococo ceiling. The irony is intentional. That major examples of Arte Povera—a movement rooted in the grassroots political unrest that gripped Italy from 1968 to 1970—should adorn this bastion of Piedmontese aristocracy symbolizes at once a truce and a victory. Viewed as metaphors, these juxtapositions represent entire traditions of patronage, class struggle, the disputed value of labor, as well as changes in the status of art and its media.

Just over 100 miles to the north, over the Swiss border and 7,500 feet up, the Hotel Furkablick once served as an upscale stopover for travelers en route through the Furka Pass. Built in the mid-nineteenth century, it was briefly abandoned at the end of the 1970s, and reinvented as an art and leisure residency in 1983 by Basel-based art dealer Marc Hostettler. As Furk’Art, the hotel was visited by the likes of Daniel Buren, who endowed it with alternately green/red and white painted shutters (1987–1989), and Ulay and Marina Abramovic, who performed a chapter of Nightsea Crossing in its dining room (1984). The residency’s activities were intensive and its rich 20-year legacy is today seasonally available for viewing by appointment.

No photography is allowed in the interior—a policy that reinforces the immediacy of the experience, which is considerably dictated by the pleasurably unnerving atmosphere created by the hotel’s hunting-lodge-like furnishings and décor: dark, carpeted hallways that cry out for a Shining-style tracking shot; and dizzying views across the Alps. Past and present are sutured into a tableau vivant that forces art out of aesthetics and into social history. Elegant conceptual expressions—like a Stanley Brouwn document of his 1988 performance, Steps in the Direction of Furkapasshöhe—nestle among twee landscape prints, escritoires, and clusters of taxidermied marmots. In the bedrooms, minimalist works including a large painting by Olivier Mosset, its white ground offset by a grid of pink crosses, hug the fading wallpaper. These interiors are not (re)constructed, they are preserved. And, made in response to this site, the works reflect, rather than supersede, a moment in time that coexists with the larger arc of the hotel’s history. But unlike hotel fairs, which domesticate art for consumers, this microcosm intensifies, and questions, the perceived division between art and life.

Most collectors live with their art, of course, and a number of them also share their collections in semi-public spaces, some of them historical, such as Anita and Poju Zabludowicz’s gallery in a nineteenth-century Methodist chapel in London. But what if that history is compromised? What if the space under consideration is a Nazi-era bunker built in Berlin, in 1943, by forced labor and funded by the Reichsbahn? What do we then make of Christian and Karen Boros’s choice of this venue for their collection and their decision to live in a penthouse perched on top of such a structure? Should we understand it as a liberated gesture towards healing the traumas of the past, Documenta-style? It’s a question worth bearing in mind when visiting the brooding, monolithic structure. The bunker’s ten-foot-thick concrete walls—which have survived war and occupation (Russian forces used it as a prisoner of war camp after World War II) near intact—shelter 120 chambers, 80 of which are today installed with art. The collection is rehung every four years, and my lasting impression of a 2010 visit is of unrelenting gray expanses offset by slick, colorful surfaces—foil paintings by Anselm Reyle, light installations by Olafur Eliasson, Plexiglas constructions by Tobias Rehberger. History here was not so much overlooked, as overcompensated for. Aesthetics foregrounded; reflection deflected.

A different approach to the recent past is offered by the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow. The Soviet modernist restaurant building that it occupies was adapted by architect Rem Koolhaas with attention to preserving as many as possible of the original fixtures and finishes, as well as what he terms “the ‘Soviet generosity’ of volume,” but what less generous souls might call totalitarian grandiosity.(2) Housed in this Cold War-redolent Gorky Park building, in a country that has to continually account for both its historical acts and its present intentions, the Garage’s mission comes under close scrutiny. As do the motivations of its founders, and funders, oligarchs Dasha Zhukova and Roman Abramovich. The museum’s program redirects the spotlight onto the ways in which both local and international artists can engage with the institution’s context, and does not shy away from difficult content. Rashid Johnson’s 2016 exhibition “Within Our Gates,” for example, drew inspiration from the city’s nineteenth-century Orangerie, but also examined Russia’s links with the American Civil Rights movement and its role in the struggles for independence in African republics like the Congo.

In Berlin in the late 1990s, while the site and form of the city’s Holocaust Memorial were being debated, some proposals focused on the preservation of war-damaged areas of the city—terraces of houses in the Jewish Quarter with bombed out gaps, for example—as the only possible testaments to loss and absence. But historical spaces only read as such if the present is allowed to grow up around them, and our understanding of the contemporary is of necessity informed by both. It might therefore be argued that the combination of recent art with historical architecture offers a true microcosm of the contemporary. A microcosm reflected in the work of many of today’s artists.

(1) “When Attitudes Become Form: Bern 1969/Venice 2013,” June 1–November 3, 2013. Curated by Germano Celant in dialogue with Thomas Demand and Rem Koolhaas.
(2) Quoted in Rashid Johnson: Within Our Gates, exhibition catalogue (Moscow: Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, 2016), 25.



There are two ways in which Leigh’s family has asked that gifts in memory be made:
In lieu of flowers, donations in memory may be sent to California College of the Arts to support the Steven Leiber and Leigh Markopoulos Scholarship for Curatorial Practice students, or to Creative Growth Art Center to support its studio art program for people with disabilities.

Donations to CCA may be made by contacting Jennifer Jansen at +1 510 594 3763 or jjansen@cca.edu or online at cca.edu/give.

Donations to Creative Growth may be made by contacting Laura Marshall at +1 510 836.2340 x-17 or tom@creativegrowth.org or through the donations link at www.creativegrowth.org 


Source: http://www.art-agenda.com/reviews/spaces%e2%80%94the-historical-gallery/

Monday, April 10, 2017

Here’s the Artist List for Documenta 14

Photography by Lala Meredith-Vula

After years of secrecy, Documenta 14 has quietly released its artist list on its website. This year’s quinquennial, which is headed by Adam Szymczyk, takes place in Athens and Kassel, Germany. Its Greek half opens to the public on Saturday, and a preview was held this morning.

Documenta’s organizers had been notably tight-lipped about the artist list and details around this year’s edition, citing the fact that they didn’t want to play into the art-world PR cycle. Some projects were known already—Maria Eichhorn’s Rose Valland Institute, for example—but for the most part, Documenta 14’s details had been kept under wraps.
At this morning’s preview the artists were unveiled—quite literally. A stage curtain was lifted to reveal all the curators and artists (minus the deceased ones, of which there are quite a few), who were seated in rows, like students at a graduation ceremony. A choir performing a Jani Christou was the soundtrack for the event.

Below is the artist list for the Athens half, which takes place at some 47 venues and opens this Saturday. A complete list of venues, events, and performances is available on Documenta’s website.

Abounaddara
Akinbode Akinbiyi
Nevin Aladağ
Daniel García Andújar
Danai Anesiadou
Andreas Angelidakis
Aristide Antonas
Rasheed Araeen
Ariuntugs Tserenpil
Michel Auder
Alexandra Bachzetsis
Nairy Baghramian
Sammy Baloji
Arben Basha
Rebecca Belmore
Sokol Beqiri
Roger Bernat
Bili Bidjocka
Ross Birrell
Llambi Blido
Nomin Bold
Pavel Brăila
Geta Brătescu
Miriam Cahn
María Magdalena Campos-Pons and Neil Leonard
Vija Celmins
Banu Cennetoğlu
Panos Charalambous
Nikhil Chopra
Ciudad Abierta
Anna Daučíková
Moyra Davey
Yael Davids
Agnes Denes
Manthia Diawara
Beau Dick (1955–2017)
Maria Eichhorn
Hans Eijkelboom
Bonita Ely
Theo Eshetu
Aboubakar Fofana
Peter Friedl
Guillermo Galindo
Regina José Galindo
Israel Galván, Niño de Elche, and Pedro G. Romero
Pélagie Gbaguidi
Apostolos Georgiou
Yervant Gianikian and Angela Ricci Lucchi
Gauri Gill
Marina Gioti
Beatriz González
Douglas Gordon
Hans Haacke
Constantinos Hadzinikolaou
Irena Haiduk
Ganesh Haloi
Anna Halprin
Dale Harding
David Harding
Maria Hassabi
Edi Hila
Susan Hiller
Hiwa K
Olaf Holzapfel
Gordon Hookey
iQhiya
Sanja Iveković
Amar Kanwar
Romuald Karmakar
Andreas Ragnar Kassapis
Kettly Noël
Bouchra Khalili
Khvay Samnang
Daniel Knorr
Katalin Ladik
David Lamelas
Rick Lowe
Alvin Lucier
Ibrahim Mahama
Narimane Mari
Marie Cool Fabio Balducci
Mata Aho Collective
Mattin
Jonas Mekas
Angela Melitopoulos
Phia Ménard
Lala Meredith-Vula
Gernot Minke
Marta Minujín
Naeem Mohaiemen
Hasan Nallbani
Joar Nango
Rosalind Nashashibi and Nashashibi/Skaer
Negros Tou Moria (Kevin Zans Ansong)
Otobong Nkanga
Emeka Ogboh
Olu Oguibe
Rainer Oldendorf
Pauline Oliveros (1932–2016)
Zafos Xagoraris
Joaquín Orellana Mejía
Christos Papoulias
Véréna Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor
Benjamin Patterson (1934–2016)
Dan Peterman
Angelo Plessas
Nathan Pohio
Pope.L
Postcommodity
Prinz Gholam
R. H. Quaytman
Abel Rodríguez
Tracey Rose
Roee Rosen
Lala Rukh
Arin Rungjang
Ben Russell
Georgia Sagri
Máret Ánne Sara
Ashley Hans Scheirl
David Schutter
Algirdas Šeškus
Nilima Sheikh
Ahlam Shibli
Zef Shoshi
Mounira Al Solh
Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens
Eva Stefani
K. G. Subramanyan (1924–2016)
Vivian Suter
El Hadji Sy
Sámi Artist Group (Britta Marakatt-Labba, Keviselie/Hans Ragnar Mathisen, Synnøve Persen)
Terre Thaemlitz
Piotr Uklański
Antonio Vega Macotela
Cecilia Vicuña
Annie Vigier & Franck Apertet (les gens d’Uterpan)
Wang Bing
Lois Weinberger
Stanley Whitney
Elisabeth Wild
Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt
Ulrich Wüst
Sergio Zevallos
Mary Zygouri
Artur Żmijewski


Stephen Antonakos (1926–2013)
Arseny Avraamov (1886–1944)
Étienne Baudet (ca. 1638–1711)
Franz Boas (1858–1942)
Lucius Burckhardt (1925–2003)
Abdurrahim Buza (1905–1986)
Vlassis Caniaris (1928–2011)
Sotir Capo (1934–2012)
Cornelius Cardew (1936–1981)
Ulises Carrión (1941–1989)
Agim Çavdarbasha (1944–1999)
Jani Christou (1926–1970)
Chryssa (1933–2013)
Andre du Colombier (1952–2003)
Bia Davou (1932–1996)
Ioannis Despotopoulos (1903–1992)
Thomas Dick (1877–1927)
Maria Ender (1897–1942)
Forough Farrokhzad (1935–1967)
Tomislav Gotovac (1937–2010)
Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika (1906–1994)
Oskar Hansen (1922–2005)
Sedje Hemon (1923–2011)
Tshibumba Kanda Matulu (1947–1981 disappeared)
Kel Kodheli (1918–2006)
Spiro Kristo (1936–2011)
KSYME-CMRC (founded 1979)
Maria Lai (1919–2013)
George Lappas (1950–2016)
Ernest Mancoba (1904–2002)
Oscar Masotta (1930–1979)
Pandi Mele (1939–2015)
Benode Behari Mukherjee (1904–1980)
Krzysztof Niemczyk (1938–1994)
Ivan Peries (1921–1988)
David Perlov (1930–2003)
André Pierre (1915–2005)
Dimitris Pikionis (1887–1968)
Anne Charlotte Robertson (1949–2012)
Erna Rosenstein (1913–2004)
Scratch Orchestra (1969–1974)
Allan Sekula (1951–2013)
Foto Stamo (1916–1989)
Gani Strazimiri (1915–1993)
Władysław Strzemiński (1893–1952)
Alina Szapocznikow (1926–1973)
Yannis Tsarouchis (1910–1989)
Lionel Wendt (1900–1944)
Basil Wright (1907–1987)
Andrzej Wróblewski (1927–1957)
Iannis Xenakis (1922–2001)
Androniqi Zengo Antoniu (1913–2000)
Pierre Zucca (1943–1995)


Copyright 2017, Art Media ARTNEWS, llc. 110 Greene Street, 2nd Fl., New York, N.Y. 10012. All rights reserved.

Source: http://www.artnews.com/2017/04/06/heres-the-artist-list-for-documenta-14/ 

Friday, April 07, 2017

Museum RA Kartini


26 Maret lalu, saya dan keluarga berkunjung ke pendapa kabupaten Rembang, Jawa Tengah yang sekarang menjadi Museum RA Kartini. Sisa keanggunan bangunan tersebut masih terasa kuat. Tapi saya merasakan kalau perawatan gedung dan sekitarnya belum optimal meski pasti sudah serius pembenahannya.

Di ruang kediaman di belakang pendapa itulah ruang utama Museum RA Kartini. Pengunjung dikenakan retribusi Rp 2.000,- (dua ribu rupiah). Sama dengan biaya parkir mobil di kota-kota di Indonesia. Bagi saya ini terlalu murah, dan secara pelahan tidak membangun "budaya bermuseum" bagi masyarakat. Menurut saya retribusi setidaknya antara Rp 7.500 s/d Rp 10.000 TAPI pengunjung diberi booklet perihal isi museum. Booklet bisa antara 8-20 halaman berisi kilasan narasi dan sejarah ihwal RA Kartini dan museum itu sendiri. Disain booklet yang bagus, dan dicetak full colour akan lebih baik.

Begitu masuk museum, atmosfir seram cukup menyergap dalam perasaan saya. Bukan karena bangunan yang tua, namun karena lampu penerang yang terlalu minimal, bahkan ada satu dua lampu mati. Pada ruang tertentu malah lampu tidak dinyalakan oleh petugas, padahal saya masuk ke museum masih jam buka museum. Saya harus menyalakan sendiri lampunya.

Kesan seram saya kira perlu dikurangi dengan penataan cahaya yang lebih memadai. Kualitas lampu perlu dipertimbangkan untuk menggunakan yang lebih baik. Pengunjung datang ke museum tentu tidak berkeinginan untuk melakukan uji nyali dan siapa tahu berbonus melihat penampakan hantu. Bukan. Tapi datang ke museum ya mencoba merawat ingatan, energi dan spirit masa lalu untuk pijakan pengetahuan masa kini dan ke depan.

Belum lagi dengan pendisplaian berbagai artifak yang ada. Ada panel-panel berisi foto-foto yang muatan sejarah tentang RA Kartini dan keluarga. Ini perlu dipikirkan ulang tentang, misalnya, menekankan sosok ke-Kartini-annya yang lebih eksploratif. Sudah bagus, namun perlu juga digali kenapa Kartini studi ke Belanda, lalu apa jasa Haji Agus Salim terhadap keberangkatan Kartini ke Negeri Kincir Angin tersebut, dan lainnya. Masih banyak bisa digali.

Ya, museum ini adalah cerminan dari semua museum di Indonesia (yang dikelola oleh negara): serba minimal.