Saturday, June 30, 2007

Karya yang Menarik dalam Shout Out!

INI beberapa karya yang tereksposisi dalam pameran seni visual Shout Out! Berteriaklah! di Festival Kesenian Yogyakarta, 22 Juni s/d 2 Juli 2007. Aku yang kebetulan menguratori pameran ini (bersama Arie Dyanto sebagai co-curator) sebetulnya belum begitu puas. Tapi apapun, masih banyak karya yang kuat dan menarik perhatian. Di antaranya yang terpajang di sini. Ada mural 'bayangan pohon' karya Aidi Yupri, peti mati karya Wijayanto, bak truk sampah yang dimural karya anak-anak Jogja Mural Forum (JMF), dan Doggie House karya Dona Prawita.
Tidak seperti biasa, kali ini hanya 3 seniman yang berkarya derngan medium lukisan di antara 35 seniman/kelompok seniman peserta tersebut. Ini juga kali pertama jumlah peserta pameran FKY sangat sedikit. Hanya 35. Biasanya di atas 70 peserta, atau seringnya di atas 100 seniman. Jelas, ini bagian penting dari kesadaranku untuk memberi bobot prestise FKY di mata publik seni sendiri. Biar tidak dipandang rendah terus-menerus. Moga-moga sih bisa lebih bermutu...

Friday, June 29, 2007

Conflicts being Fought, Contradictions Put at Stake

By Kuss Indarto

(Dalam versi bahasa Indonesia, teks ini akan dipresentasikan dalam Seminar Nasional "Membangun Dinamika Seni Rupa Indonesia", di Galeri Nasional, Jakarta, 12-13 Juli 2007. Dalam surat edaran yang kuterima ada 13 pemakalah yang terpilih dari 50-an yang mengajukan. Para penanggap seminar ini adalah Bambang Budjono, Suwarno Wisetrotomo, Amna Sardono W. Kusumo, dan Nindityo Adipurnomo)

It is perhaps not an exaggeration to say that Entang Wiharso’s visual art is not stable. His frame of mind and "habits" are consistently oriented to instilling a creativity which shakes the stability of his past work and leads to new, more dynamic work that is more progressive and novel. He "shakes" the stability of his work while maintaining a consistency of ideas rather than forms.

To some extent, Entang within his work appears to have developed what post-structuralists Deleuze and Guattari (1986) call "schizophrenic signs" of a nomad, i.e. constantly changing symbols or "sign-flow" that are endlessly running, moving, changing (places) and shifting (territories). He ceaselessly shifts his positions from one to another system of signs. He seems to be celebrating the process of shifting itself rather than sticking to a single sign, signification, image, identity, and conviction or even, perhaps, ideology. A determination to be may then be less important than being in an interminable process of becoming.

The paintings, sculpture, installation and performance art which he previously created – they now have the status of artifacts – provide the starting points for his newest works. This is not, however, to imply that this is a linear creative process with all the structural dividers and systems of mechanistic practices; instead, this is a cross-section of Entang’s creative pursuit during the last seven to eight years. For the past seventeen years he has been developing his career as an artist and his creative process, from his first year as a student at the Faculty of Visual Art at the Indonesian Art Institute of Yogyakarta.

His approach to avoiding an impasse when making art is an attempt at preventing "marching in place", namely the appearance of being dynamic actually remaining in a stationary situation. To fight off deadlock, Entang creates themes and frameworks of ideas that draw together his creative inclinations for certain periods, with thought-out creative intention and urgent tendencies.


The main themes he’s been working on provide a framework of thinking that tries to "tame the inner-world" of feelings, instincts, sensations and intuition. One may also see it as a venture to manage and rationalize "ideas", and this is rare among a number of "romantic" Indonesian artists who regard ideas as something given, necessarily and immediately coming down from the sky.

The first theme, The New God Series, surfaced in the period from 1998-2000. Entang’s numerous works in this period offer images of idols worshipped by a global society and affected by consumerism. The age of imagology – as postmodernists like Jean Baudrillard refer to it – is a time when image becomes an ideology, propagating numerous offers via various media. Indeed! As Entang remarks in his exhibition publication NusaAmuk (2001), "we are unable to escape from the images that have become our new gods."

Hence his painting Bart Simpson in the Surgery Room (1999), among others, emerged. Bart, the comic/cartoon/animation character, is depicted as being born by Caesarean section to a "family" with a pluralistic identity, though not to the couple, Marge and Homer Simpson, as in Matt Groening’s original version of The Simpson’s. This work quite clearly reveals Entang’s deep concern about the public’s enslavement by consumerism. It explores how society is increasingly controlled by new idols through "the power of the media" as it penetrates ever more deeply into our psyche.

His second theme is Melting Souls, comprising his works from the period 1999-2001. In his work on this theme Entang attempts to examine and explore "the corrosion of the human spirit". He questions "why people adopt ideas and beliefs that are foreign to their own experiences by examining the impact of social and political phenomena on individuals." It is apparent that he is uneasy about the melting of personality wrought by the constraints of communalism. Human personalities are often rendered "powerless" amid the ambience of collectivism which is impacted forcefully by systemized "norms". That is why his work in the Melting Souls series seems to represent the process of mental shifts and the upheavals in conscience, where individual personalities are battered by unavoidable cultural, political, social, economic, religious and other tensions.

His installation Membebek/The Followers (2000-2001) is, I believe, one of the important icons for this encompassing theme. It shows a number of bald-headed, uniformed men dressed in shirts, jackets and ties but no trousers. Their faces are empty and their smiles unnatural. They are interconnected by wires. I think here Entang is offering a satire of dehumanization concerning contemporary people. He supposes humans have turned into some kind of robotic beings continuously reproducing themselves as part of a monolithic system. Another work, a painting entitled Mencari Kepala-kepala yang Hilang/Searching Lost the Heads (2000), depicts the irony of a strong culture of rationality on the one hand and the increased power of irrationality on the other, as manifest in the fertile culture of reproduction-repetition. A similar impression prevails in Cultural Burden (1999).

Entang’s third theme is Community Storage that emerges in his work made during the period 2000-2001. This theme finds its source in the daily lives of people that he encountered in Yogyakarta and in Rhode Island during his time there: so many people "consume" used goods and objects that they make up a sort of community of used-goods consumers. Of course, Entang doesn’t necessarily offer this observation explicitly. Instead, he fashions it into a thematic framework that goes beyond the mere physical reality. To him, used goods are the repositories of various memories. Their presence can be a medium for featuring the past once again. This is the key phrase. He wants to show how collective memory, in the Indonesian socio-political context, continues to be a therapy for the past, a therapy required in order to construct the future.

There is the work, Self Portrait with 1000 Yellow Sperm (2001), which clearly reflects his alertness to the "yellow culture" in the country. Today, yellow no longer appears as the color of the flag or doctrine (of a once dominating political party) but has systematically turned into a genetic threat. In the Indonesian political context – particularly in the years preceding the fall of Soeharto’s tyrannical New Order regime – yellow had the single signification of the Golkar party. In addition to Self Portrait with 1000 Yellow Sperm, there is Forgotten Yellow Sperm (2000), which euphemistically resists the "yellow culture". The title that seemingly suggests forgetfulness is actually intended to recall vividly what has to be resisted. In this visualization, yellow marks someone’s forehead. Yes, the forehead behind which abides the brain, the "nest" of nerves where memories are uncovered. The "doctrine" of Czech novelist Milan Kundera that "the struggle against power is one against forgetting" is a most suitable maxim to associate with Entang’s intention.

The fourth theme is Hurting Landscape. The concepts associated with this theme began surfacing in work beginning in 2002 onward, probably up to this time. In this period Entang philosophically questions the reciprocal relationships between interiority and exteriority: can the exterior be the representation of the interior, or, on the contrary, is the assumption of the interior as being completely a duplication of the exterior true? This can be formulated alternatively, i.e., is there any close and integral relationship between an individual and the community? This question bothers his mind as he has seen a lot of irony and incongruity in the interiority-exteriority relationship. For example, while in the United States, a country that has become the icon of liberty, Entang experienced a case of censorship by a private foundation where his artistic creativity was repressed. In addition, President George W. Bush’s loud declarations against terrorism are followed by policing actions terrorizing many people in many countries of the world. This is an irony. Such is one among the painful wounds that Entang often depicts in his work.

The painting Portrait in the Gold Rain (2003) must not be forgotten among his other works of this period. This particular work was responsible for a case of censorship that resulted in the cancellation of his exhibition in the U.S. at the Rhode Island Foundation Gallery in Providence in January 2003. The gallery management initially claimed the work was illegal, a pretext Entang found inexplicable. This work features a human figure squatting and yelling over an ambiguous round white shape covered in red. Perhaps the management found it vulgar and open to sexual interpretations. For Entang, the creative artist, the point was, and is, the hegemony of "the authority of meanings" practiced by the gallery management on the basis of social instead of aesthetic/artistic standards. This situation was highly ironical as it occurred in America, the "fatherland" of democracy and among the major proponents of the world’s art.


In his current solo exhibition, Entang introduces another major theme or, perhaps more accurately, the present work uses new ideas and perspectives in an attempt to explore his existing themes. Entang has not, as yet, given any "testimony" that can be used to define the thematic framework for this latest body of work. I think this is only a question of formality; it is not the heart of the matter. Judging from the variety of images in his works so far, one may, however, expect from him a whole range of innovation.

The current images are the embodiment of his concern about socio-cultural problems, ranging from personal through communal and even universal realms. The personal begins with his experiences in a bi-cultural marriage to an American of Italian/German/Irish descent with whom he has two children. This "international" marriage has given Entang the opportunity to live in and travel to the U.S. regularly; which has certainly resulted in socio-cultural "clashes". Adapting himself to a new environment with its very different customs – which wasn’t that difficult for him – has given him a window through which to view and learn the meaning of differences. As a result of his travels which are often taken with his wife and children - including his residency and exhibitions in Europe - he has had experiences that have settled deep in his mind and continue to affect his understanding of culture, identity, hybridism and globalization.

In my opinion, it is at this point that Entang has the capacity to create certain constructs of identity through symbols and images that categorically go beyond his original, or previous, identity. When his cultural homeland, which has been with him subconsciously, meets with a different culture in a new context, the resulting interaction and mediation generates a specific and distinct "identity". This is the foundation for the unstable situation explored in his work. Entang’s work is always changing, motivated by some internal intention and induced by external conditions. It is precisely this instability that produces the works dynamic character.
If this discussion is brought into the context of culture in its wider sense, it is relevant to consider post-colonialist Homi Bhabha’s (1994) remark that the instability of cultural expressions force us to consider culture and identity not as a fixed and rigid entity but, rather, as consistently trying to change toward newness. Discussions on this issue get more complex when we consider how globalization shapes cultures and identities and causes the incessant proliferation of various derivatives. As a result of globalization it seems that most humans have a vast space in which to construct identity and to exchange images and symbols. With the increasing ease of moving from one place to another coupled with the progressive development in communication technologies, the mixing and encounters of cultures are also more likely to happen. Therefore, the notion of the instability of culture and identity in globalizing currents leads to the perception that culture and identity always indicate encounter and mixture in which established borderlines are blurred and made unstable by hybridization.

At this point it is appropriate to discuss the trend of "creolization" – as it occurs in some Latin American countries – in which elements of other cultures are absorbed but their implementation disregards their original conditions. The concept of "creolization" offers an alternative way of thinking about the importation of foreign culture as compared with the sociologist Tomlinson’s (1991) concept of cultural imperialism. Tomlinson says that Western culture has succeeded in dominating the East by creating an "artificial awareness" through mass culture, consumer goods and so on. Yet in reality there are indications that the consumers (of culture) are not in a state of "reaction-vacuum"; rather, they actively create new meanings for objects and symbols that they consume.

Regarding this, Homi Bhabha (1994) recommends the use of mimicry as a strategy for confronting the practices of cultural domination. Bhabha describes mimicry as imitating and borrowing various elements of a (predominating) culture while at the same time refusing dependency on the domineering culture. In practice, mimicry is conducted by imitating while adopting an attitude of ambivalence in doing the imitation. It follows that mimicry always implies "incorrect" and "misplaced" signification; imitating is also, at the same time, subverting. As it is, mimicry provides a cultural strategy that enables the transformation of an external culture to enrich a local one.

Therefore, in connection with the discourse of globalization – as the social observer Pieterse (1995) has mapped it – culture and identity have now become translocal in nature. It no longer suffices to narrowly define culture in terms of "place" – where it can easily turn into an image of a cage – but, rather, it shall be closer to ideal if we conceptualize it in terms of travel. When this is the case, culture and humans as agents of culture are always on the move from one point to another. Seen from this perspective, current culture and identity are an on-going process, moving on and living out their dynamism. Pieterse further remarks that one can distinguish two views of culture: the first regards culture as something limited, bonded to location and inward-oriented; and the second one regards it as a translocal learning process that is outward-oriented. This is in line with the sociologist Clifford (1992) who believes that the acceleration of globalization also speeds up intercultural contacts so that culture is positioned as "the sites of crisscrossing travelers". On this level, current global culture also has the potential to sow the seeds of uncertainty, indecisiveness and chaos and replace those of establishment, stability and systematization. Ien Ang, the Indonesian-born Dutch sociologist, (1996) notes that globalization and the current global culture are incomprehensible as an orderly series of linear determinations but, instead, can be understood as a series of overlapping, complex, complicated and even chaotic conditions that merge to make one single knot. Ang remarks that over-determinism which is unpredictable and complicated does "not lead to the creation of an orderly global village, but to various points of conflicts, antagonism and contradictions." Ang’s thesis challenges the more common idea of globalization as the homogenizing process of culture.


I think Ien Ang’s thesis (and of course a whole series of theoretical accounts on culture) can be used further in dealing with and interpreting Entang Wiharso’s visual works currently exhibited. This is because, in turn, his creative process that has led to the production of these works represents his attempt to interpret the socio-cultural phenomena that encircle him and his environments as stated previously in this writing. Conflicts, contradictions, antagonism, etc, which he often encounters in his personal experiences and in the social reality surrounding him, seem to provide him with an ocean of inspiration in the creative process. For instance, Entang, as a cosmopolitan person, will every now and then travel to America or Europe, meet people and go through socio-cultural clashes – both latent and manifest – involving habits, customs, bureaucratic webs, administrative matters and racist politics of the body.

To Entang, all the phenomena that he explores in his work – which are related to issues of culture, identity, hybridism and the like – can be seen as eruptions of integral problems in social spaces. The problems are not isolated, but actually belong to one and the same body, yet they are tied to each other by contradiction, hugging each other closely in some ironical manner. It is this idea - trying to trace and explore the explosions or eruptions of reciprocal conflicts in one single space and time - that leads to the curatorial concept of Inter-Eruption. The curatorial approach is characterized by an attempt to chart a personal complexion that can mirror a social countenance. Or reversely, it is characterized by an attempt to trace social or cultural complexions manifesting themselves as personal faces in the mirror. And as I see it, in this exhibition Entang uncovers many artifacts of his private experiences. These are revealed as the traces of erupting contradictions on his personal "visage"– the private face of someone trying to develop a new identity based upon ironical clashes within. There is a conflict situation by intention. There is a contradictory condition intentionally staked in a mediating space.

The ideas implemented in most of Entang’s work seem to persuade and at the same time terrorize the viewer. He seems to be saying, "Take these works as mirroring various signs." They could be signs of the time; they could be cultural or social signs, or, the signs of intense contradictions; they could be the signs that mixed progeny are blooming, and so on. All of them are exposed in full: in paintings clasping the cold walls and in various installations that are eye-catching, space-catching.

Sweet Terrorism (2004) is an installation featuring two human figures as if in the middle of performing wirid (the repetitive recitation of a formulaic prayer). Both are seated solemnly, face to face. A praying contest. They are connected to each other by a long string of prayer beads hanging loose between them. These figures seem to find their spiritual space high upon pillars. Indeed, Entang has crafted two tall pillars upon which they sit, resembling minarets, sending the two human figures soaring high above the ground. It is precisely here that Entang plays with contradictions.

Do they really acquire their spiritual space? Or, is it subversion that renders the two figures as persons solemnly maintaining the exclusivity of religious values? Indeed, do religious rituals merely imply the practices of celebration that simply eliminate the substantial values of religion itself? Is religion no longer present in inclusive spaces among us? Do religious practices easily merge with the implementation of political doctrines of religion? Through this work Entang seems to remind us how religion may easily be torn and slit to narrow its scope and alter its identification or meaning. For example, Islam is "East" and this identity is held up against Christianity that is identical with "West". And so on and so forth.

Such pieces that deal profoundly with the issues of identity and contradiction abound in the corpus of Entang’s work. For example, in some of his installations that involve sculptural human figures, the figures are intentionally made to appear dangling, floating. With this technique, the artist seems to be trying to help viewers sense how the problem of floating, of being "in-between" identity, is increasingly encountered in various communities today as well as (to complicate the matter) in various issues, disciplines and multi-level realms. But from the opposite point of evaluation, it is precisely in such a "floating condition" that genuine identity (cultural, communal and personal) is often found. It is through "unclear" hybridism that identity gets clarification.

His installation Fruit from Exotic Country (2004-2005) is an arresting example. It features twenty resin sculptures of human figures with the height of some 165 centimeters each. Upon closer observation, three "facial types" are found here: seven of the figures have faces looking straight ahead, seven others with uplifted faces and another seven looking downward. The position of their hands is identical, forming a right angle with the right and left palms holding a half of a small coconut each. Another similarity is that all the human figures are suspended above a floor of rice husk.

With this work Entang seemingly wants to provoke viewers to take a stand with regard to something dominant. The human figures suggest a tropical country, where palms grow, confronting an external cultural hegemony. Therefore, the different facial types may suggest a certain "creative" mode in facing an external power. The faces are calm, with no signs of shock and anger. The figures with faces turned down may represent polite resistance rather than submission. Those faces looking straightforward or uplifted all seem to express the drive to resist something domineering. The coconut, the split tropical fruit in both hands of each of the figures, seems to impart a message going back to the old "wisdom" of the coconut: being able to live in different places and being useful to people thanks to the trunk, leaf bone, leaves, fruit, fruit shell and other parts of the plant. Is this Entang’s deliberate application of the "wisdom of the coconut", namely, to be able to live in various places, thus referring to his personal stance in facing the issue of mixture and hybridism? Or, is it an observation about "the tropical people’s" collective attitude in dealing with the issue of mixture in a peaceful way free from conflicts?

Visually, Fruit from Exotic Country may also be regarded as confirming the artist’s inclination toward the use of repetition. In some of Entang’s work, repetition seems to reinforce the crux of his ideas concerning certain issues. In cases where the material of a work manages to dominate the space where it is set, the artist’s ideas prevail by means of his terror through repetition. This can be seen, for example, in his work entitled Forbidden Exotic Country (2005) that features some ten suspended sculptures of human figures filling up an entire space. The bodies of these resin figures are separated by some distance from their heads made from wax. It is relatively easy for viewers to interpret this work as, for instance, the image represents the distance between logic and emotion among people uprooted from their identities. Such people are dangling, floating, and then logic, too, becomes dangling, separated from emotion.

The same goes for the extreme repetition in the installation Dotting (2004-2005). This work presents eighty sculptures of heads sitting on the sand, arranged in a very meticulous and mechanistic way. Each of the heads is in a tin plate. By sprinkling these gold heads with silver dots the artist seems to depict the reality of today’s human beings as nothing more than dots. Human values in social practices are reduced in much the same way as humans virtually become mere numbers within industry. Human beings are perhaps just lumps of matter marked by barcodes. Human souls are numbers. Seen from the perspective of capitalists or political authorities, those human heads are meals served in plates: ready for the devouring, swallowing and to "fertilize" capitals, to amass power.

Created in a similar tone and mode is the work entitled Forest of Eyes (2002). This work is also particularly arresting because it is set in so limited a space that it terrorizes the viewers’ sight and emotion. Entang scatters some five hundred artificial, round eyes measuring some three-quarters of an adult’s fist. The placing of these eyes upon a field of grass is deliberately irregular to break their formal monotony. Here the repetition features the images of eyes filling up the space rather than in the positioning of the objects. There is a small pond encircled by a fence; there is also a mound with a palm tree on top.

This work might presumably be a derivation of the French postmodernist Michel Foucault’s theory of power, referring to the practice of panoptic power operating in a wider space without the direct physical presence of the power holder but with those subjected to the power sensing it. This work seems to find its context in the discussion of cultural power influencing identity. These hundreds of eyes are like a gigantic (multinational) corporation’s apparatus controlling networks of capital and cultural power through media, such as television. The eyes, yes, the mass media, become an instrument to distribute power. Or, quite the contrary, those eyes represent anxiety concerning such practices of a panoptic power.

Besides works capitalizing on repetition, there is a distinct work entitled Behind Space (2004-2005). This work features a little house with the walls all painted pink inside and out. Over the entire floor are scattered fresh, intensely fragrant roses. Inside a television is always on. Two sculptures of human figures – also pink – are suspended horizontally, stretching out on their backs; one on top of the other while their heads are heavily bandaged with wreaths of roses. In the bulge of their bellies a depression in carved out and filled with the wax of a lighted candle. Ah, as if there is enjoyment in wounds, or an episode of masochism in a euphoric jungle. A situation of extreme shuttling to and fro; two worlds that are perhaps diametrically opposed. The pink color and the roses suggesting love or passion seem to be mixed with those bodies that are so masochistic in appearance. Observe the nipples and knees that become the very suspending points. The bellies getting scratched for the sake of the candle light. Is hybridism and sacrifice a pair of integrated issues?

Generally speaking, a great majority of Entang’s works move in a single thematic rhythm, of course with various elaborations from one work to another, be they installations or paintings. For example, there are the serial paintings of bald-headed figures turning their backs on the audience. They are anonymous figures; one carrying Bart Simpson the hero, some others carrying a gun or big fish. And again there is a painting entitled Mermaid (2005) that is a gigantic canvas presenting lively visual features. There is also Family Tree (2004) that features the artist’s self-portrait with his wife and children amid other pictures of their extended family. There are many others. A good part of them deals with the artist, Entang Wiharso himself, amid the issues of identity and hybridism and all their related implications. His work also represents the personalization of a collective issue now being stridently discussed.

Identity is indeed an ever-evolving process, with no end, perhaps, and beyond the need of any closing remark.

Ang, Ien, Living Room Wars (London and New York: Routledge, 1996)

Bhabha, Homi, The Location of Culture (London and New York: Routledge, 1994)

Clifford, James, Travelling Cultures in L. Grossberg, C. Nelson and Treichler (eds) Cultural Studies (London and New York: Routledge, 1992)

Deleuze, Gilles and Guattari, Felix, Nomadology: The War Machine (New York: Semiotext (e)), 1986

Kudera, Milan, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting (London(?) : Penguin Books, 1978

Pieterse, J, Globalization as Hybridization in M. Featherstone, S. Lasah and R. Robertson (eds) Global Modernities (London and Newbury Park, CA: Sage, 1995)

Supangkat, Jim and Wisetrotomo, Suwarno in Entang Wiharso, NusaAmuk (Yogyakarta: Antena Projects, 2001)

Tomlinson, James, Cultural Imperialism, London: Pinter Press, 1991)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Editorial Cartoon FKY 1995

Ah, tiba-tiba kuingat dan kutemukan salah satu editorial cartoon yang aku buat 12 tahun lalu, persisnya tanggal 7 Juni 1995. Ya, itu tanggal pemuatan di harian Bernas tempat aku bekerja jadi tukang gambar waktu itu. (Sekarang dah gak jelas tuh manajemen koran itu. Bedebah!)

Gambar ini dengan tegas mengetengahkan aikon FKY (Festival Kesenian Yogyakarta), burung derkuku kali ya, yang jadi pengusung gerobak reyot bernama rutinitas. Hal penting yang kupikirkan 12 tahun lalu itu, atau ketika FKY berusia 7 tahun adalah ancaman rutinitas yang mekanistik terhadap perhelatan "besar" itu. Dan kita tahu, sesuatu yang telah mekanistik biasanya membunuh kreativitas. Itu yang kuamati pada FKY waktu itu. Tanpa banyak pembaruan, ide-ide baru, dan lainnya.

Nah, celakanya, 4 tahun terakhir aku dapat "musibah" menjadi koordinator dan/atau kurator Divisi Seni Rupa FKY. Alamak! Jadi ya, sebisa mungkin momok rutinitas yang mekanistik seperti kusindir sendiri 12 tahun lalu itu sedikit-sedikit kubenahi. Kutimba banyak hal baru dari banyak gosip-gosip miring tentang FKY, kugali eksplorasi makna festival dari peristiwa serupa lainnya, ya lewat buku, lewat ngobrol, dan lainnya.

Pameran Shout Out yang kugagas dan akhirnya bisa digelar 22 Juni hingga 2 Juli ini setidaknya menjadi bagian penting dari kegalauanku untuk melarikan FKY dari mesin rutinitas. Sementara ini banyak komentar positif, mendukung, surprised, dari banyak teman. Aku belum puas betul sih, tapi setidaknya provokasiku pada banyak seniman muda untuk tidak hanya memamerkan lukisan di FKY cukup berhasil. Dalam Shout Out ini, hanya ada 3 seniman yang memamerkan lukisan. 32 seniman/kelompok seniman lain pada bikin video art, komik, moving image, seni instalasi, object art, dan banyak karya lain yang kukira cukup menarik. Antilukisan? Gak juga. Cuma aku tak ingin mitos bahwa keberhasilan sebuah pameran adalah seberapa banyak karya terjual, dan biasanya itu berarti lukisan pada laris manis. Ah, itu bikin seniman muda cuma bisa melukis, laku, payu laris, dan selesai. Tak pengin eksperimen.

Lalu kemana keliaran-keliaran seniman itu? Shout Out, bisa jadi, plesetan dan Sold Out! Ah, tak harus sold out, donk Broer!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Ke Arah Mana Kita Nge-Shout Out!

Oleh Kuss Indarto
(Teks ini telah dimuat dalam buklet pameran "Shout Out" FKY 2007, sebelum dibikin katalog post-event)
Yah, FKY lagi, FKY lagi!
Apa boleh buat, perhelatan pameran bertajuk kuratorial Shout Out! (Berteriaklah!) ini tergelar kembali. Sejumlah 36 nama seniman dan kelompok seniman (16 nama di dalamnya adalah undangan), siap “bertarung” beradu perhatian di depan publik seni rupa di Yogyakarta. Jelas bukan perkara mudah untuk menentukan dan memilih nama-nama yang akhirnya jadi peserta pameran ini. Sejarah kreatif mereka yang menjadi dasar pertimbangan, dan tentu saja progres kreatif terakhirlah yang kemudian mengerucutkan nama-nama yang ada dalam pameran ini. Sudah barang pasti, relativitas dan dugaan adanya unsur subyektivitas akan mewarnai reaksi publik terhadap hasil pemilihan dan seleksi ini. Ah, ini masalah wajar yang nyaris menjadi “hikayat” tersendiri dan senantiasa menyertai perhelatan yang menerapkan sistem seleksi. Di manapun di dunia!
Tapi bukan apa-apa kalau untuk sementara problem itu dilupakan, ketimbang kita menghamburkan waktu untuk mencereweti hal yang (bisa jadi) kurang produktif. So, sebenarnya ngapain lagi dengan FKY? Ke manakah arah pameran seni rupa FKY ini akan didorong?
Kalau dicermati, bisa jadi tema kuratorial FKY kali ini tak begitu spesifik. Yah, kata Shout Out masih berasa “netral” ketimbang kata Barcode atau Kotakatikotakita seperti yang ditawarkan sebagai tema kuratorial FKY tahun 2004 dan 2005. Namun sebenarnya dalam tema Shout Out dengan tegas dihasratkan sebagai forum bagi seniman muda di bawah 35 tahun untuk mengetengahkan berbagai eksperimentasi kreatif, terutama pada pencarian kemungkinan ragam medium ekspresi kreatif. Medium yang dipakai pun diangankan dipakai dengan landasan cara berpikir dan cara pandang berbeda ketimbang cara berpikir “linier” yang konservatif. Inilah forum yang dimungkinkan untuk meneriakkan (tema) apapun dengan cara (atau medium) apapun! Tidak mudah memang untuk mengaplikasikan gagasan seperti ini. Namun, dengan melihat banyak karya yang tereksposisi pada pameran ini, hasrat kami sebagai kurator untuk menampilkan karya yang penuh eksperimentasi sedikit banyak telah terpenuhi. Meski, terus terang, masih jauh dari 100 persen. Hehe, apa boleh buat! Semua metode, cara, modus atau apapun pasti punya risiko masing-masing.
Setidaknya, dengan pameran ini, kami mencoba memberi celah kemungkinan bahwa pameran seni rupa tidak selalu berarti pameran lukisan semata. Lalu, indikasi keberhasilan sebuah pameran seni rupa tidak mesti terindikasi dari seberapa banyak karya-karya dalam pameran tersebut berpindah tangan ke tangan kolektor dengan angka-angka (price) rupiah yang membubung. Modalitas kreatif yang dimiliki oleh seniman tak bisa dikerucutkan secara eksak (harus) bertukar nilai dengan modalitas kapital semata. Itulah “mitos-mitos” baru (atau sudah klasik ya?) yang coba digugat lewat perhelatan kali ini. Artinya, pameran ini tidak serta-merta mengetengahkan karya seni dengan paramater keindahan yang dipahami secara “konservatif” dan “konvensional”. “Keindahan” dalam seni pun tidak dimutlakkan sebagai sesuatu yang melekat dalam sebuah karya seni. Kita bisa meneropong lebih luas jangkauan karya seni ini sebagai sebuah karya (atau artefak) kebudayaan yang tidak sekadar dipertanyakan sebagai karya yang “indah atau tidak indah”, melainkan juga sebagai karya yang mau “berbicara dan berpihak kemana”. Lebih jauh, karya seni pun bisa diposisikan sebagai salah satu etalase dan “alat baca” bagi pergerakan, pergeseran, kecenderungan sebuah kebudayaan tertentu.
Sesungguhnya, tema Shout Out juga ditawarkan sebagai salah satu alat untuk memetakan garis kecenderungan kreatif seniman/anak muda dewasa ini, sekaligus membandingkannya dengan kecenderungan estetik yang dibawa oleh seniman/anak muda 30 tahun lalu ketika muncul Gerakan Seni Rupa Baru (GSRB) 1977. GSRB, yang waktu itu gaungnya menasional, juga muncul dan dipelopori oleh seniman/anak muda Yogyakarta yang berproses di Akademi Seni Rupa Indonesia (ASRI) yang sekarang menjadi Fakultas Seni Rupa ISI Yogyakarta. Mereka antara lain Bonyong Munni Ardi, F.X. Harsono, Hardi, dan lainnya, yang bergabung dengan seniman muda dari Fakultas Seni Rupa ITB, seperti Jim Supangkat, dan sebagainya.
Tentu tak menarik kalau penyandingan karya-karya anak muda dewasa ini dan eksponen GSRB sebatas dipahami sebagai upaya “mempertandingkan” capaian estetik mereka. Sungguh! Karena justru dengan menyimak karya mereka secara keseluruhan dan sembari membuka ingatan atas konteks waktu mereka dan karya mereka lahir, kita bisa melihat semangat jaman yang memberi warna anak karakter karya, kecenderungan kreatif, trend proses kreatif tertentu, dan lainnya.
Oleh karena itu pameran Shout Out memang hendak ditendensikan untuk membuka semua kemungkinan dan capaian estetik yang saat ini tengah digeluti dan menjadi trend positif bagi seniman dan anak muda jaman ini. Bentuk ungkap estetik semacam street art, toys art, fashion, object art, video art, moving image, komik, seni instalasi, dan lainnya, akhirnya, sangat dimungkinkan untuk masuk sebagai material pameran. Meski demikian, karya seni konvensional seperti lukisan juga masih dimungkinkan mendapat tempat, tentu diharapkan dengan pendekatan konsep dan penyajian yang lebih “baru” bahkan “radikal”. Dengan maksud itu pula, maka pameran ini akan memberi batasan usia (calon) peserta maksimal 35 tahun. Ini sesuai dengan misi pameran FKY tiga tahun terakhir (Barcode, 2004; Kotakatikotakita: Yang Muda Melihat Kota, 2005; dan Homy Family, 2006 tapi batal karena gempa bumi) yang lebih mengedepankan perhelatan ini sebagai sebuah laboratorium proses bagi laku kreatif seniman muda usia.
Perhelatan ini, dengan segenap kelebihan dan kekurangannya, tentu hendak didedikasikan bagi perkembangan seni rupa di Yogyakarta, bahkan mungkin di Indonesia. Pameran Festival Kesenian Yogyakarta ini tak akan bergegabah sebagai “alat ukur” bagi perkembangan seni rupa di Yogyakarta dewasa ini, namun sebagai forum kecil yang dimungkinkan sebagai “alat baca” (mungil) untuk membaca gelagat dan geliat yang tengah dialami oleh pelaku seni rupa di kawasan ini. Siapapun bisa dengan tegas tidak bersetuju dengan pola, metode kuratorial berikut nama dan hasil karya rupa yang terpampang di ruang pajang Taman Budaya Yogyakarta kali ini. Atau mungkin sebaliknya.
Pro-kontra inilah, bagi kami, secara sadar justru memberi imbas paling penting bagi dinamika di jagad seni rupa Yogyakarta. Karena laju kreatif seniman yang terus bergerak pasti akan memberi kontribusi penting bagi pola kuratorial yang juga dimungkinkan penuh eksperimentasi. Di sinilah sintesis sebuah kebudayaan diniscayakan akan terus mencari kebaruan. Walah, walah! Wuih!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

jangan takut
masuk peti mati!

Yup! Peti mati betulan akan siap jadi ruang untuk Anda berpose dan berfoto bersama teman dan keluarga, tanpa air mata! Mau coba? Datang aja di pembukaan pameran seni rupa Shout Out! Berteriaklah!, Jumat 22 Juni 2007 jam 19.00 WIB di Taman Budaya Yogyakarta, Jalan Sriwedani 1 Yogyakarta. Ada Woodland Band, Sangkakala Band, juga titisan sang fuhrer Adolf Hitler yang siap meneror saraf ketakutan Anda.

Eits, ada juga truk sampah yang manis, bungalow merah yang cihuy, dan lainnya! Datanglah, datanglah! Pameran berlangsung hingga 2 Juli 2007 kok!
Ingin ngintip? Buka aja attachment ya!

Icha (081578713748)
Kuss (o81 228 35525)
Ari (081804077211)

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Ubasute No Hanashi

(Ini kisah "mutiara" yang kujumput dari blog seorang teman, dina. Foto kuambil juga dari teman fotografer Kompas, Arbain Rambey)

Dahulu kala di Jepang terdapat sebuah kebiasaan yang dilakukan oleh para petani miskin yang disebut 'Ubasute', yaitu membuang orang tua mereka yang telah lanjut usia di daerah pegunungan. Hal ini dilakukan karena mereka terlalu miskin untuk menghidupi orang tua mereka. Cerita ini adalah cerita kuno dan di masa ini tentu saja tidak dilakukan hal seperti itu.

Ceritanya: Pada hari itu, seorang ibu tua dengan digendong oleh puteranya berangkat menuju gunung untuk 'disisihkan'. Namun selama perjalanan ia mematahkan ranting-ranting dan menjatuhkannya. Ketika ditanya oleh puteranya, ia menjawab, "Agar kau tidak tersesat pada waktu kembali ke desa."

Mendengar hal itu, puteranya terharu dan menangis lalu menggendong ibunya dan kembali ke rumah mereka.

FKY Krusial

(Ini foto karya Alexis, Coffee Morning, yang lolos untuk dipamerkan di Shout Out)
Minggu-minggu ini jadi pekan paling krusial bagiku dalam menyiapkan pameran seni rupa Shout Out Festival Kesenian Yogyakarta 2007. Rencananya sih pameran dibuka Jumat malam, 22 Juni 2007 di Taman Budaya Yogyakarta. 36 karya telah disiapkan oleh 36 seniman dan kelompok seniman. (Ditambah lagi beberapa karya dari seniman Gerakan Seni Rupa Baru yang menggelar artefak karya yang pernah dibuat tahun 1975-an lalu).

Secara umum sebenarnya aku belum puas dengan hasil seleksi kali ini karena banyak karya yang belum optimal konsep dan penggarapannya. Makanya aku cukup waswas, sehingga harus banyak kontak dengan teman2 seniman agar eksekusi karyanya nanti saat pameran jauh lebih maksimal. Mulai dari displai, material, hingga mempertanyakan ulang judul karya yang menurutku kurang sreg. Moga-moga sih tak dipahami sebagai intervensi yang eksploitatif karena menurutku masih cukup proporsional, dan belum ada suara-suara sumbang dari mereka.

Suara minor memang ada, tapi dari mereka yang tidak lolos. Dan ini lumrah. Aku sering mengalami situasi seperti ini, setidaknya ketika menguratori pameran seni rupa FKY di tahun 2004 dan 2005 lalu (juga 2006 tapi gagal karena gempa). Seperti misalnya sms yang kuterima tanggal 30 Mei 2007 jam 10.20 WIB, dari nomor 081845xxxx. Isinya: "M Kus mgp krya2 SY td msk kriteria SHOUT OUT! Pdhl kary2sy brcrita ttng KEMARAHAN,KTDK ADILAN .KTDKPUASAN DG SGL HAL YG TJD SAAT INI D IND JG LBH2 KERASNY KHDPN NASIB DR SENDRI YG TRAGIS.(APA DSR PENILAIAN ANDA ?) APA DATA SY SUDH ANDA LIAT BNR?). nama pengirim. (Ini kukutip utuh dengan segenap kekeliruan spasi dan tanda baca lainnya, kecuali nama pengirim tak kucantumkan).

Suara seperti ini tak terelakkan. Apalagi situasi kompetitif di Divisi Seni Rupa sengaja aku ciptakan, sehingga upaya untuk saling beradu (dalam ranah positif), mencipta yang terbaik, cukup terasa. Targetku sih gampang dan ringan aja, gimana agar FKY bisa menjadi salah satu alat baca (bukan alat ukur) untuk melihat progres kreatif seniman/anak muda saat ini. Dari sini bisa dimungkinkan untuk melacak penampang kecenderungan sosial, antropologis, sejarah fashion, dan sebagainya. Ya, siapa tahu.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Entang di Kompas (edisi Semarang)

Di bawah ini adalah kutipan berita review pameran tunggal Entang di harian Kompas edisi Jawa Tengah), Senin, 28 Mei 2007.

Entang Pertanyakan Nilai Kemanusiaan Mempertanyakan Kehancuran Etika

Manusia berkepala botak yang membuka mulutnya lebar-lebar terlukis dalam sebuah cermin berlatar belakang ornamen bunga. Sebagian mulut dan pipi manusia itu tak lagi terlukis rapi. Lukisan itu berjudul "Are you looking back or front?" Lukisan itu merupakan salah satu karya Entang Wiharso yang dipamerkan di Rumah Seni Yaitu, Semarang, 25 Mei-16 Juni.

Tidak jauh dari lukisan itu terpampang lukisan dalam kanvas berukuran 290 x 600 sentimeter. Lagi-lagi manusia berkepala botak menjadi tokohnya. Mereka tergambarkan duduk di kursi panjang disandingkan dengan beragam latar, seperti manusia tanpa kepala, manusia membasuh kepala, manusia penuh angkara membawa kepala manusia lain. Dalam lukisan berjudul "In Toxic" itu juga terdapat lukisan poster yang bertuliskan "etika itu apa?"

Dari dua lukisan yang dipamerkan di Rumah Seni Yaitu Semarang yang bertema "In Toxic" itu saja sudah terkandung gereget pelukis kelahiran Tegal, Entang Wiharso, yang mempertanyakan tentang meredupnya nilai-nilai kemanusiaan. Lukisan kaca berjudul "Are you looking back or front?" itu mau menyapa pemerhatinya untuk kembali bercermin tentang keberadaannya sebagai manusia, terus melihat ke depan atau mau menengok ke belakang atau berefleksi.
Menengok atau berefleksi tentang apa? Pertanyaan itu terjawab dari setiap lukisan dan instalasi karya Entang. Dalam lukisan "In Toxic", Entang mengajak setiap pemerhati lukisan mempertanyakan kembali arti etika.

"Karya saya merupakan metafora dari bencana alam sekaligus isu dari sebuah sistem politik, keagamaan, dan budaya. Segala keprihatinan dan sistem itu menjadi toxic system (sistem racun) yang mendorong manusia kepada ketidakadilan, kekerasan, penindasan, diskriminasi, dan kemiskinan," kata Entang Wiharso, Sabtu (26/5).

Menurut Entang, sistem racun itu sedikit demi sedikit menggerus etika. Etika tak lagi berfungsi optimal dan berada dalam proses pelapukan. Padahal etika merupakan sebuah kepekaan relasi atau hubungan manusia dengan manusia dan manusia dengan alam.

Seni menjadi cermin bagi manusia untuk kembali mempertanyakan dan membenahi kemanusiaannya yang mulai lapuk. Seni juga mengembalikan manusia kepada pertanyaan yang paling mendasar, apakah kita telah kehilangan rasa perasaan?

Kurator Kuss Indarto mengatakan, pameran lukisan Entang ini merupakan sebuah peristiwa. Peristiwa itu memuat interaksi dan dialog antara pelukis dengan lingkungan sekitar. "Lewat karya- karyanya, Entang berusaha menggulirkan problem identitas manusia dewasa ini yang multidimensi. Sayang, saat ini pesan itu masih sulit ditangkap," kata dia. (AB4)

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Taman di Monas

Wuih, ini lanskap yang kutangkap sebulan lalu dari ketinggian "atap" Monas (Monumen Nasional). Ya, sekitar 135 meter dari tanah. Titik penting yang kutangkap adalah jalinan taman yang kini dibangun di empat sisi pelataran dalam Monas. Conblock tak lagi polos, tapi ada sentuhan artistik dengan diisi taman. Belum tuntas sih ketika kupotret, tapi cukup memberi nilai beda ketimbang sebelumnya. Ada detil ornamen pada tekstur tanah di tiap lahan taman yang belum tergarap. Konsepnya sih mencoba mengeksplorasi elemen tradisi dan lokalitas yang diaplikasikan dalam taman dan tanaman.

Kebetulan yang menggarap proyek taman itu adalah temanku, Mas Handoyo (lembaganya Rumah Seni namanya), yang dibiayai penuh oleh Gudang Garam. Menariknya, GG tak akan branding secuilpun di lokasi itu. Yah, proyek (ekonomi-)politik kukira, untuk menangguk keuntungan yang lebih besar selepas proyek itu selesai. Harga proyek itu menggiurkan juga, apalagi kalau dibanding dengan kaplingnya yang tak terlalu besar. Mas Handoyo sempat keceplosan (tapi aku juga belum yakin itu benar atau enggak) kalau harga proyek itu 20 miliar. Waow! Bahkan dia sempat banyak cerita tentang angka-angka dengan cukup detil ketika aku ngobrol dengannya di barak sekaligus kantor sementaranya yang panas di lokasi proyek itu. Kesimpulan sementaraku, dalam setahun penggarapan proyel itu, dia bisa menangguk keuntungan bersih antara 2-3 miliar.

Hmm, angka besar yang tak perlu bikin iri. Bukan apa-apa, karena kukira dia pekerja keras yang ulet, gigih meski, ckckck, dia hanya lulusan SMA. Inilah nilai lebih dia yang punya kemampuan lobbying bagus, akses yang luas, dan tentu intuisi sebagai enterpreneur yang brilian. Makanya panteslah dia dapat ganjaran angka-angka besar seperti itu

Yah, kita lihat aja proyeknya sekarang untuk menggenapi bahwa Monas yang dibangun oleh Soedarsono dan Frederich Silaban dengan konsultan Ir. Rooseno mulai Agustus 1959 dan diresmikan 17 Agustus 1961 oleh Soekarno. Moga2 bagus, dan selesai tepat waktu, karena di Monaslah lokasi upacara 17-an tingkat kenegaraan akan berlangsung di tahun 2007 ini.

Proficiat, proficiat, Mas Handoyo!