Nature Body-ness

Jan 26 – Feb 26, 2017



Nana Tedja
Utin Rini





In the history of writings, a French feminist, Helene Cixou, once considered that women had no history when compared to men. Women were silenced as only men were acknowledged to have their stories. Only men were deemed worthy to write. It was a notion that was then played by her followers that the discipline of the past, which clearly in English is stated as ‘history’, refers only to the stories of the men (his)-story. There were no (her)-story.

Helene Cixou emphasized that for women to be existing in the history, there is only one thing to do: write and write women!

How about the world of painting? It is not much different from the history of writing above.
Paint! Paint women!

Though both in the history of writings and in the history of paintings women were considered subordinate, the awareness to rise above shows an optimistic reality. The women in the world of painting are still bound by the impression of being a thing of beauty and therefore they are more worthy to be an object of painting rather than be a painter-subject. It cannot be denied that in this particular world, the men have more possession of the women body as an object of beauty.

Philo Art Space is now presenting two women painters, Nana Tedja and Utin Rini, under the theme Nature Body-ness. They paint what have become their object of attention and their own desires. Painting in two different styles, Utin Rini with her expressionism and Nana Tedja with her realism, both convene in similar concern which is the women issues and their world. But a common concern does not consequentially merge their paintings into a single theme.

Nana Tedja, as we can assume from her paintings, is more open in presenting the problems of today’s women in their relations with their own humanity, which then open up a challenging question: how far are we with the struggle of women?

The narration of Nana’s paintings depicts women who are awaken from their path in culture that place them in particular space and time. It is not a coincidence that a woman would face a unique challenge when put in an intersection. The modern cultural construct places men as progressive subjects that when they are faced with an intersection, it does not give them any significance to just walk forward. A woman, facing the same intersection, is confronted with a rather serious psychological issue that she must overcome, mainly her existence which is already embedded in the domestic domain. A public domain competition, is giving women a rather problematic standpoint, as they are not truly accustomed or trained for it.

Cultural analysts are optimistically in agreement to state that there are different emotional stages in women and in men in facing the same reality of progress in time. Cultures are a construction of subjects with more masculine characters and therefore between men and reality, it is easier to find the objective space. This objective space enables men treat reality or nature as things to be described, even to be challenged, while women see reality or nature more as parts of themselves to be understood.

The division of men and women space into public and domestic dominions has given a unique pattern on their sexual relationship. Women obtain various discourses which are also more depressing, while the men are obviously dominative. But especially for Nana, such condition is no longer too problematic. Public domain of today is melting and the domestic domains are no longer under the feminine domination.
In her painting ‘Glorious’ we can clearly see Nana’s description on today’s reality specifically the existence of the world of urban people. Space and time has almost totally done away with gender division but symbols of civilization such as gold, money, justice scale, trunk, bag, and so on. All are now within a packaging of competition triggered by information technology. Both the urban men and women move in unison as if they are programmed by the same rhythm, which is productivity for capital. It is an optimistic depiction of a civilization, though we might pause to really indulge in it and dive into it to see that such condition would truly happen without any hindrance?

Nana seems to be progressive-thinking but she is also not blind with what are behind. The rapid progress in human’s life as a result of reflection, science, and contemporary technology still gives us a problem; that if the passion to go forward is pushed hard, there is a hidden danger to us. That human may lose their feeling of spiritness, their original wildness, their beauty in playing and being one with nature. Human that are uprooted from their nature would be a human that are uprooted from their on humanity. We can see this plainly in the emerging of modern human who, some, no longer give concern to their origin in nature. Modern human reject their humane social relation when they enter and are trapped in the constraint of competitive relation in exploiting nature.

Nana strictly suggests us to see back to nature in her own way. In ‘Green Guardian’ she palpably shows the togetherness of nature and women. It is a classic interpretation that categorizes nature to be a feminine aura and therefore a woman’s body as its representation. Nature produces life through her wombs, hence provides all the possibility in the world. Women become a figure who is concerned about all things living and growing, and they care for them gladly. It is no surprise that related to this concern and care, Nana presents us with the painting ‘Blessing in the Days’.

Culture and nature, no matter how they seem to be almost torn apart by capitalism exploitation, are not contrasted by Nana in their connection to the sexual relations of the human man and the human woman as a dichotomy. Though it is quite a clear problem that modern cultural subject points to the responsibility of the exploitative masculine attitude, we need to delve into the depth of the values of humanity that are apparent in men. ‘The Mask’ and ‘Fantastic Jacko’ paintings confidently greet us with the hope of the depth of masculine value that would bring us comfort though the presentation of ‘The Mask’ is hideous and frightening.

On the other hand, Utin Rini points at the basic concept that we have stated in the beginning: the history. The work ‘Rewriting the Past’ challenges us to criticize trough two figures of women presented by Utin that remind us to the characters in Michaelangelo painting, ‘Creation of Adam’. The painting depicts two male figures, one an older person floating that extend his index finger to a male figure that was reclining who also extend his index finger making those two fingers almost touching each other. What Michaelangelo meant with the floating male figure was personification of God while the younger male was Adam. In short, the painting told that the history of theology especially the Christian theology was built by males. Where were the females, then?

In feminine discourse, such history is important to be questioned. Where is women constructs the question of whether women need to make their own story as ‘herstory’?

Paint, paint women!

Utin seems to not intentionally paint the history of women opposite the dominant masculinity; her way is more to understand the world of femininity itself. Nature and its entity as a woman merge in its longing to be intimate again with nature body-ness or with earth whose intimacy has been spread thin as a result of exploitative competitions. Human exploits nature. That is a fact that happens everywhere. Ironically, the exploitation that makes human worry is actually for the sake of the very human to have a place to live, food to eat, and to have the most comfortable social relation. Nature exploitation has contributed to the complete relations rift.

Utin paints the body-ness of women and the body-ness of earth as an entity which is in their serious endeavor to be rejuvenated. She decides to re-enter her understanding of her own body-ness to experience deeply the externality dimension or the social-culture of the body-ness. There is an apprehension in the painting ‘Great Renewal Rite’; on how the body of women are deemed petty or even dirty every time women are on their ‘period’ (menstrual cycle). The rite is produced each time in each generation and is immortalized without any awareness of their importance; that the life itself, bios, comes biologically from the complex process in the women body; without any acknowledgement on how reproduction takes place. The women body, often considered frail and small, harbor a great power to ensure the continuity of life.
Nature body with its femininity is a secret to the greatness of humanity that has been etched into the history of civilization. Women, to Utin Rini, seem to have a rather pitiful view of themselves as far as the secret of this wealth is not realized and cultivated by their own. There is no winning recipe to get out of this situation apart from for women to be aware and to be an active agent of preserving this secret treasure and utilize it with their own way – as depicted in the painting ‘Blue Luxury’. Only nature can give the answer to life’s problems, and it needs a form of relational awareness, a ‘synchronization’ of whether a woman could see and recognize her own face in the mirror of nature?
There is a notion that emphasizes the attitude that women must fight; at least to fight against their own self and be aware of their own potential and to be ready to reach for a win every time. The painting ‘Awareness’ tickles us with various symbols of such self-battle. This is also connected to the painting ‘Justice, Cursed and Blessed’ – a reflection of the return of women social body-ness issue.

To Nana Tedja and Utin Rini, happy exhibitioning!
Tommy F Awuy






Doel AB
Edward Bonaparte
Erizal AS
Saepul Bahri
Herianto Maidil
Paul Hendro

Philo Art Space is having its 10th anniversary. Still at a tender age, and it has not done many important things yet. But it has been a joy for us to live the years as our self-expression.

We never expected the experience to be this long. We had faced many obstacles and challenges, most importantly to keep the exhibiting creativity alive. There was no sure answer to do this, apart from the fact that we were constantly being supported by the art community itself, especially the artists.

An art gallery would not be running without the close relations it has with the artists. We keep our relations alive by warm engagement with them and by constantly having discussion with them in persons or through media. It is this warm relation that keeps our spirits up on most days.
The glitz of urban culture has become our main focus. Fashion, mall ambience, café, night clubs, traffic jam, figures moving with speed as if they are in a race with time, and many others – those are the phenomenon that attract artists to work on. They may see them with affirmative, critical, or rejecting stance.

In short, we do not limit ourselves in presenting only a certain styles or genres though we are being swept away with the strong current of contemporary arts. As the name that the gallery bears ‘philo’ means ‘love’, we strive to always be able to offer warmth and joy to all those involved in our works, especially in every opening of an exhibition.

For our 10th anniversary, we were honored by painters offering their works to exhibit. Those are Doel AB, Paul Hendro, Erizal AS, Saepul Bahri, Herianto Maidil and Edward Bonaparte. Apart from Edward, all the artists have exhibited their works in Philo Art Space once or more times, as part of solo or group exhibitions.

Unlike the usual exhibitions, the anniversary exhibition does not present a certain theme. All works from the painters are of their own choosing to express. Hence, we do not see the necessity for us to inform on how the works are related to each other as an explanation of a predefined theme. Audiences are free to interpret the works, and we hope that you enjoy the works presented here.

Thank you. Happy exhibitioning!

Philo regards,
Tommy Awuy – Amalia Ahmad”]






Tommy F Awuy

Jerry Thung

Sonny Eska


cover disinterested





Patrick C. Wowor
Soni Irawan
Tjokorda B. Wiratmaja

In the history of “aesthetic theory”, the concept of disinterested is considered as a very important theme and as a foundation of our recognition of the creative process. This concept has undergone development, and in certain period of time, theorists and thinkers considered that this concept no longer had meaning enough to be defended. The concept that refers to the subjectivity of human would lose its meaning when we move into the institutional domain in arts.

It was a German philosopher, named Immanuel Kant, that made the concept of disinterested popular in understanding how an artworks is presented, in how an artist find that their experience with an object propels them to create an artwork. It cannot be avoided that to understand an artwork means to understand who the creator is as an anthropocentric matter that puts forward individuality dimension or the worship of the human subject.

For Immanuel Kant, the highest potential in human is in their ratio which is able to create a level of truth that is universal, objective and positivistic. But even so, the emotional aspect of human must not be dismissed. Emotion indeed affects greatly how a human identify an object by putting forward their senses. Emotion and senses are two inseparable aspects. Our emotions usually emerge as a result of our dependence to our senses when we are facing or feeling an experience. These would then create what we recognize as interest. When we store our interest as a psychological symptom in our most secret and personal mind, here emerges the self-interest.

A creator or an artist, in their interactions with the world they are in, cannot escape from the issue of interest, no matter how. Personal interest which showcases their individuality has a very prominent role. But for Immanuel Kant, an artwork must not be valued at its self-interest but more at their objective and universality dimension which is a rational genius works. How do we explain that?

Philo Art Space exhibition today presents the above important theme: DISINTERESTED, as presented by painters Patrick C. Wowor, Soni Irawan and Tjokorda Bagus Wiratmaja (Coky). Patrick Wowor is an alumnus of Fine Arts Faculty of the Jakarta Institute of Arts (IKJ), Soni Irawan and Coky are both alumni of Indonesia Institute of Fine Arts (ISI) Jogjakarta. All three artists may be considered as novices in the realm of Indonesian painting arts, and they still have a long way ahead of them. Their paintings come from their different interest of their unique experiences.

Naturally, each creative process is battle of individual self. Most of the times, only the artists understand what are happening within themselves when they are at work with their creative process. This kind of psychological issue is not impenetrable nor is it beyond claim as, at their center, artist wants to be understood; they want to communicate through their arts. Artists do not keep silent and cover their arts with their own self-interest.
What about the opinion that a work of art is simply a reflection or a critique of life’s condition of an artist’s time? That an artist cannot detach themselves from space-time bound of their own life? Would that make their art works a mere works based on their self-interest?

Those questions have moved arts theorists and philosopher to try to explain that an art work cannot be separated from the issue of self-interest and disinterest. Immanuel Kant was certain that an art work, in the very beginning of their process, already enters a tense situation between self-interest and disinterest, between the intuitive stimuli of the senses and the disinterest of the rational reason category. Self-interest is a psychological turmoil that is archaic, spontaneous, and absolute to the point of egoistic; while the reason is cold, distanced, and classificative. A creative process must always go through this tense and very well dichotomistic meeting. For Kant, disinterest is a tool for the reason to lure self-interest entering the domain of awareness by trying to reconsider things that may be elusive of unrepresented within. The artistic process, the creative of creating, strongly shows the shadow of rumination within a reasoning awareness.

Art works, in essence, are a result of communicative process that we can take in using our apparatus of reasoning. All aspects, be it perspective, skill, technique, illusion, ambition, dreams, etc. can be seen in an artworks. Thinkers of art theorists like Immanuel Kant, understanding this point, are very optimistic that an art work has a communicative aspect in it, no matter where it is put, no matter how it is being seen by any person, and therefore, universal.

The paintings of Patrick Wowor, Soni Irawan, and Coky are only a small samples of communicative paintings stated above. It is very possible that they experienced a creative process that just did not instinctively boast their self-interest, but keep it within the awareness and meditative domain. Most of prominent artists begin their creative process with the personal battle of what is to be created and whether their interest can be communicated to those who see their arts. Isn’t this the beginning of where the interest and disinterest emerge? Isn’t this an awareness of the mind?

Patrick Wowor shows his interest in the human relations; the me and you and all the background of such relations: the social problems, the black and white of sex and religiousness. He sees things from the perspective of an urbanite that sees such things as shallow compared to the breadth and depth of the meaning of live. It is similar to the works of Soni Irawan. To him, the world is an energetic connection of human and their activities and in rooms that are made to be as comfortable as possible. Coky, not to be the least subdued, serving us with the spirit of live in the race humans are in, in their endeavor to fulfill their needs, to the urbanites fashion performance. We should be focused on and be interested in the vastness of life energy itself, but instead we imprison our won energy into the limits of our own interests or needs.

The issue of self-interest and disinterest in the creative process should be clear. But there is also a different perspective that questions and that seems to demand the issue to be dissected with the questions: are the concept of self-interest and disinterest in a creative process worth to be used as a firm foundation? Are the two concepts fulfill the requirements in showing that human possesses the ‘subject essentiality’ (pure human subject) that makes them a complete entity called human that distinctively differ them from the non-human?

Are artists pure humans? If we see the dychotomic concept between self-interest and disinterest, then the answer might be so. It means that artists are able to find a solution to their problems without intervention and without the awareness of them being the entity formed by other humans, moreover by entities and things that are non-human.
Humans are never alone and will be never be fully independent as long as they are still humans. Artists would never live for their own as in the essence they do not have the essence as a human individual (complete-entire). Artists, as with other humans, are the creation of their peers. Humans are a relational category of fellow humans and of hon-humans.

In creative art, a thinker name George Dickie, the founder of ‘institutional arts’ theory, has the belief that there is no independent arts – in the sense that all artists have their own self-interest. An art creation cannot be separated from the institutional interest of where the art community, critics, galleries, collectors, traders, the press and so on form a social institutional network that define whether a creation is worth to be considered as an art or not. The discourse of self-interest and disinterest has no significance.

Meanwhile, a France philosopher, Jacques Derrida, questioned the concept of disinterested as an unworthy category of anthropocentric but deemed it not to be disregarded or entirely dismissed in understanding the creative process. Disinterest does not need to be constantly conflicted with self-interest, but it can be seen that the ‘dis’ in the ‘disinterested’ does not refer to a certain interest nor on one interest only, and it does not fall into the reasoning category. The ‘dis’ refers to multiple interests, plural. The ‘dis’ is a language category that arbitrarily emerges as the interest is presented as a socially formed language. So, when an artist is interested in an object, their interest is not entirely their own, but it is a part of a social interest that affect them as mentioned above.

Who is this subject (I)? I am the other person, personal or non-personal. I am the traces of my parents, of my teachers, of my friends, of things that I love, of the moral tradition, of the moral religion, of the science equations, of ideology, of love, and so on. All of these affect me and intertwined in forming the “I” (subject). I am the artist while I am also the non-artist, you, all of you, and them.

Self-interest is plural category that shows how a person seems to be independent but essentially they are the creation of socio-cultural forming. Artists create because there are conditions that make them so. Their interest is a plural interest and therefore their creations naturally have the nuance of pluralistic social interests.

In understanding the works of Patrick Wowor, Soni Irawan, and Coky (and of other artists), it would be much more open to see their arts as a socio-cultural turmoil within themselves. In their arts, there are the traces of us as those who savor the arts. To savor arts is a relation of inter-traces, or as Derrida’s called it, ‘intertextual’.
A creation of art is an ‘intertextual’ creation, where the meaning of ‘disinterest’ becomes a tools for a more open analysis. Why? Because there is no creation that can come from a single room from a single being that is a totally independent artist.

Happy exhibiting, and let’s enjoy!

Tommy F Awuy

Dalam sejarah “teori estetika”, konsep disinterested dianggap sebagai tema yang sangat penting dan sebagai dasar bagi pengenalan kita akan proses kreatif. Konsep ini mengalami perkembangan dan dalam masa tertentu beberapa teoritikus atau pemikir bahkan menganggap konsep ini tak punya kekuatan makna lagi untuk dipertahankan. Konsep yang mengacu pada kesubjektivasan manusia ini misalnya tak berarti jika kita bergerak masuk ke wilayah institusional dalam seni.

Adalah filsuf Jerman bernama Immanuel Kant yang mempopulerkan konsep disinterested untuk memahami bagaimana sebuah karya seni itu hadir. Bagaimana seorang seniman mengolah sebuah pengalaman dengan objek tertentu yang didapatinya hingga tercipta sebuah karya seni. Tak bisa terhindarkan di sini bahwa mengenal sebuah karya seni berarti mengenal siapa penciptanya sebagai persoalan antroposentris, yakni mengutamakan dimensi individualitas atau pengagungan subjek manusia.

Bagi Immanuel Kant, potensi tertinggi manusia adalah pada rasio yang mampu menghasilkan tingkat kebenaran yang universal, objektif dan positivistik. Kendatipun demikian, aspek emosi manusia tak bisa diabaikan begitu saja. Emosi tentu saja memiliki tingkat pengaruh yang besar sekali dalam mengenali sebuah objek darimana indra tampil terdepan. Emosi dan indra merupakan dua aspek yang tak terpisahkan. Emosi kita biasanya muncul dari ketergantungan indra saat menghadapi atau merasakan sesuatu. Gejala ini yang kemudian menghasilkan apa yang kita sebut sebagai minat atau interest. Ketika minat ini kita simpan sebagai gejala psikologis ke dalam benak yang sangat pribadi maka di sinilah muncul apa yang disebut sebagai self-interest.

Seorang kreator atau seniman dalam berinteraksi dengan dunianya tak akan luput dari soal interes di mana dan bagaimanapun caranya. Minat pribadi, yang menunjukkan keindividualitasnya senantiasa berperan sangat menonjol di sini. Namun bagi Immanuel Kant, sebuah karya seni bukanlah nampak pada self-interest, namun lebih pada dimensi objektif dan keuniversalannya yang nota-bene merupakan karya jenius yang rasional. Bagaimana hal ini harus dijelaskan?

Pada pameran lukisan Philo Art Space kali ini mengusung tema penting di atas, DISINTERESTED, diikuti oleh seniman lukis Patrick Wowor, Soni Irawan dan Tjokorda Bagus Wiratmaja (Coky). Patrick Wowor alumnus Fakultas Seni Rupa Institut Kesenian Jakarta (IKJ), Soni Irawan dan Coky sama-sama alumnus dari Institut Seni Rupa Indonesia (ISI) Jogjakarta. Ketiga seniman ini bisa dibilang mulai menancapkan jejaknya dalam kancah sejarah seni lukis Indonesia dan tentu saja masih sangat panjang jalan yang harus mereka tempuh. Mereka melukis jelas berangkat dari minat masing-masing atas pengalaman yang digelutinya.

Selayaknya proses berkarya merupakan pergolakan batin individual. Tersering hanya seniman itu sendirilah yang sangat tahu apa sebenarnya yang terjadi dalam dirinya selama bekerja. Persoalan psikologis ini sesungguhnya bukannya tak bisa digugat atau tembusi karena di satu hal yang lain, sang seniman ingin dipahami, sang seniman ingin berkomunikasi lewat karyanya. Sang seniman tak semata berdiam diri dan menutupi karyanya dengan self-interestnya.

Bagaimana dengan pengandaian bahwa sebuah karya seni pada hematnya merupakan refleksi maupun kritik atas kondisi hidup jamannya? Bahwa sang seniman tidak pernah terlepas dari ruang dan waktu di mana dia hidup? Lalu apakah karya seninya semata merupakan karya berdasarkan self-interestnya?

Dari pertanyaan-pertanyaan di atas itulah para teoritikus seni dan filsuf mencoba menjelaskan bahwa sebuah karya seni tak jauh-jauh dari persoalan self-interest dan disinterest. Immanuel Kant yakin bahwa sebuah karya seni pada awal prosesnya sudah langsung masuk dalam situasi tegang antara self-interest dengan disinterest, antara rangsangan indrawiah yang intuitif dengan kategori akal yang bersifat disinterest. Self-interest merupakan gejolak psikologis yang arkaik, spontan, dan semena-mena bahkan mungkin begitu egoistik. Sedangkan akal bersifat dingin, berjarak, dan klasifikatif. Proses kreativitas senantiasa melewati pertemuan yang menegangkan dan sangat mungkin dikotomistik ini. Bagi Kant, disinterest merupakan alat akal untuk mengajak self-interest memasuki wilayah kesadaran dengan mencoba merenungkan kembali hal-hal yang kemungkinannya ilusif dan tak terkomunikasikan di dalamnya. Proses berkesenian, berkarya, senantiasa kuat menunjukkan nuansa membatin dalam kesadaran akal.

Karya seni merupakan hasil komunikatif yang pada akhirnya bisa kita nikmati dengan seperangkat kesadaran akal kita. Semua unsur di dalamnya, apakah itu sudut pandang, skill, teknik, ilusi-ilusi, ambisi, impian, dan lain-lain sebagainya bisa terbaca dalam sebuah karya seni. Pemikir atau teoritikus seni seperti Immanuel Kant dari sini sangat optimis bahwa karya seni memiliki aspek komunikatif di manapun itu berada, dilihat atau dinikmati oleh siapa pun, universal.

Karya seni lukis dari Patrick Wowor, Soni Irawan, dan Coky, hanyalah sebagian kecil dari contoh karya seni lukis yang komunikatif seperti di atas. Sangatlah mungkin mereka mengalami proses berkarya yang tidak mengumbar begitu saja self-interestnya namun menjaganya dalam wilayah kesadaran dan meditatif. Sebagian besar seniman mengawali proses berkarya dengan pergolakan batin apakah yang harus saya buat dan minat saya bisa dikomunikasikan dengan masyarakat penikmat seni? Bukankah hal ini sudah merupakan titik awal darimana minat dan disinterest itu muncul? Bukankah hal ini merupakan kesadaran akal?

Patrick Wowor menampakkan minatnya pada relasi kemanusiaan, aku dan kamu dengan hal-hal yang melatarbelakanginya seperti problem sosial yang hitam-putih antara seks dengan relijiusitas. Dia memandangnya dari kacamata seorang urban yang pada hematnya merupakan hal yang sepele diukur dengan dalam dan luasnya makna kehidupan. Demikian pula jika kita melihat karya Soni Irawan. Baginya, dunia merupakan sebuah pertalian energik manusia dengan segala kegiatannya dan di dalam ruang-ruang yang dibuatnya senyaman mungkin. Coky tak kalah menyoloknya menyodorkan semangat hidup yang berpacu dengan segala kebutuhan manusia hingga pada performan fesyen manusia urban. Kita seharusnya berfokus dan meminati enerji kehidupan itu seluas mungkin namun kenyataannya manusia suka juga memenjarakan enerjinya ke dalam minat atau keinginan dan kepentingannya sendiri.

Seharusnya soal self-interest dan disinterest dalam proses kreativitas (berkesenian) ini jelas. Namun ada lagi sudut pandang yang berbeda yang bersifat mempertanyakan dan terkesan menggugat untuk membongkar persoalan dengan pertanyaan, apakah konsep self-interest dan disinterest dalam berkarya itu layak menjadi pegangan yang meyakinkan? Apakah dengan kedua konsep itu memenuhi syarat untuk menunjukkan bahwa manusia memiliki “hakekat subjek” (pure human being) yang menjadikannya makhluk yang utuh bernama manusia lalu dengan demikian jelas membedakannya dengan yang non-manusia?

Apakah seniman adalah manusia utuh? Jika kita melihat konsep dikotomik antara self-interest dengan disinterest di atas maka jawabannya sangat mungkin demikian. Artinya seniman mampu menyelesaikan problem dirinya tanpa intervensi dan tanpa kesadaran bahwa dia adalah sosok yang dibentuk oleh manusia lain apalagi oleh mahluk dan benda-benda yang non-manusia.

Manusia tak pernah sendiri dan tak akan mandiri sepenuhnya selama dia disebut manusia. Seniman tak pernah dan tak mungkin hidup bagi dirinya karena pada hakekatnya ia tak punya hakekat sebagai manusia individu (untuh-lengkap). Seniman juga sebagaimana manusia yang lain merupakan bentukan sesama. Manusia merupakan kategori relasional antar manusia dan dengan yang non-manusia.

Dalam berkesenian, seorang pemikir bernama George Dickie, penemu teori “seni institusional”, berkeyakinan bahwa tak ada seni mandiri dengan napas bahwa seniman memiliki self-interestnya. Sebuah karya seni tak lepas dari minat institusional di mana masyarakat peminat seni, kritikus, galeri, kolektor, pedagang, pers, dan sebagainya merupakan sebuah jaringan institusional (sosial) yang menentukan apakah sebuah karya layak atau tidak disebut sebagai karya seni. Wacana self-interest dan disinterest itu tak bermakna alias omong kosong saja.

Sementara filsuf Prancis, Jacques Derrida, mempersoalkan konsep disinterested itu sebagai kategori antroposentris yang tak layak namun tak harus dihancurkan atau dimatikan dalam memahami proses berkesenian. Disinterest tak harus dipertentangkan dengan self-interest namun artinya makna kata “dis” di sini tidaklah mengacu pada interest tertentu atau pada satu interest dan dia bukan pula merupakan kategori akal. Kata “dis” mengacu pada beberapa atau banyak interest, plural. Kata “dis” merupakan kategori bahasa yang muncul secara ‘mana suka’ (arbitrar) sebagaimana kata interest itu hadir sebagai bahasa menurut bentukan sosial. Jadi, ketika seorang seniman meminati sebuah objek, minatnya itu sendiri bukanlah minat pribadinya namun minat itu tak lain merupakan jejak dari berbagai minat sosial yang mempengaruhinya sebagaimana sudah disinggung di atas.

Siapa subjek (aku)? Aku adalah orang-orang lain, personal maupun non-personal. Aku adalah jejak orang tuaku, jejak guruku, jejak temanku, jejak dari benda-benda yang kusukai, jejak moral tradisi, jejak moral agama, jejak rumus-rumus ilmu pengetahuan, jejak ideologi, jejak percintaan, dan sebagainya. Semua itu mempengaruhiku dan merajut membentuk “aku” (subjek). Aku seniman sekaligus aku yang bukan seniman, anda, anda, kalian dan mereka.
Minat pribadi (self interest) merupakan kategori plural yang menunjukkan bahwa seseorang bagaimanapun kelihatannya mandiri namun pada hematnya dia merupakan bentukan sosio-kultural. Seniman berkarya karena ada kondisi yang membangunnya demikian. Interestnya merupakan interest yang plural maka karyanya pun selayaknya bernuansa minat sosial pluralistik.

Membaca karya Patrick Wowor, Soni Irawan, dan Coky (juga karya-karya seniman lainnya) seni lukis mereka sekiranya lebih terbuka apabila dipahami sebagai gejolak sosio-kultural dalam diri mereka masing-masing. Dalam karya mereka pun ada jejak-jejak kita sebagai penikmat. Menikmati sebuah karya seni merupakan relasi antar-jejak atau seperti apa yang disebut Derrida sebagai “intertekstual”.
Sebuah karya seni merupakan karya “intertekstual” darimana arti “disinterest” itu menjadi sebuah alat analisa yang lebih terbuka. Kenapa? Karena tidak ada sebuah karya yang berasal dari sebuah ruang tunggal dari sosok yang disebut sebagai seniman mandiri total.

Selamat berpameran dan menikmati


Tommy F Awuy



watching: A Photography Exhibition



Samy Zimah
Sutrisno Jambul


Objects are scattered, cluttered, lying around, in various forms and presentations, right before our eyes. All are seemingly awaiting reaction. Beckoning. Flirting. There is a sight distance. It is indeed the uniqueness of human, to create distance. Creating certain relations. Here emerge space and time, objectively or psychologically. Human approaches, enters, and plays within them. Such reaction becomes an emotional relation, aesthetic even.

The relations amongst human, object, space and time then become a world with special meaning.

Photography is the interpretation of the world above. The result of observation that sometimes requires ample time for reflect, but sometimes in a spontaneous, surprising instance. Photography is directly related to the issue and mastering of technology that also represents the existence of eyes beyond the sight distance. As part of the senses, they eyes have visibility limit – especially in recording objects, while the very awareness of this limit propels human to try to overcome it. This effort would then create a photo technology where the eyes are able to overcome their visibility limit specifically in recording or preserving that ability.

Philo Art Space, about to celebrate its 10th anniversary, is holding a photography exhibition by two photographers: Samy Zimah and Sutrisno Jambul. The interest shown for these two photographers are relatively new. Both aim at and create unique objects; create their own language. They enter into and reveal the relation amongst human, objects, space and time. They awaken the challenge on how to preserve the passion to perception.

Samy Zimah and Sutrisno Jambul both capture the focus on the objects that are their daily interest. Objects that are in general not attractive to the public. They are not starting their works from what are represented by the urban cacophony. They break the mainstream by overlooking the glitzy and massive urban objects. But that does not mean that they dismiss the temptation to question what lies beyond the reality of such objects. (more…)


Intentionality: A Group Exhibition



Creativity is a part of existential struggle that cannot be separated from the human daily experiences. Creativity, to be exact, is a result from an internalization of a very personal experience. Experience brings to human the awareness of a being that is impacted directly by the limits of life, especially in space and time. Experience awakens them as a being ensnared by time’s reckoning which pushes them to look back, at present, and the future and traps them as a ‘historized’ being. Creativity is directly connected to how human wrote their history and left their trails, which we then call human civilization. History is none other than trails of creativity.

Creativity and personal experience may be explained through the ‘intentionality principal’. No one is spared from their external world, their surroundings; things and human itself. This certainty makes human and their world a relational building that we call ‘the living world’. And such certainty is the result of human being a possessor of a set of potentials that enables them to create. Such potentials are called ‘intentionality’ (the awareness of the mind towards something).

‘Intentionality’ is a mind awareness that is different from the intellect mind that tends to be abstractive, mathematics, or one which is within or bound by the world of form. Intentionality is the ability of the mind to project outside oneself, the mind that touches and ‘plays’ with concrete objects. With intentionality, human is showing their sympathy and their empathy for the external world. They try to know and to understand their external world from which they acquire their experiences and their impressions of the world. People being able to make creations are because of their expressive responses to their impressions of the external world. Intentionality is the awareness of the concerted works of the mind, senses, and potential.

The Painting Exhibition at Philo Art Space at present are showcasing the works by three painters: Dedy Sufriadi, Agus ‘Baqul’ Purnomo, and Ibrahim under the same theme of INTENTIONALITY. They show how their creativity are the results of the processes of specific impressions that they have from their personal relations with their own external world. Each of them has different intentionality as of course, they have their own different internalization. Empathy, simpathy and the impression one takes when their attention is focused on something (intention) cannot be similarly measured even however similar they are in their creation or technical manipulation

Dedy Sufriadi is focused on plying objects or whatever. Every object is an aesthetic object. It is as if every object surrenders themself to be manipulated. Dedy’s experiences with the objects and in showing their unique intentionality do not make them manifested fully so that they are distanced from their own as experiencing subjects but make those objects as parts of their subjectivity just because the objects are not transparent.
Dedy constitutionalised objects by not placing them in the ever-calculated boundary order so that they show a regulated composition as an aesthetic achievement. His aspiration is none other than having those objects to be related closely to his technical manner, be it by dots, lines, colors, or words, that they represent a pretty complex relation modus phenomenon.

On the other side, Agus Baqul explored lines which are showing inter-related expressions, which are rain, gold, and numbers. Lines in the forms of numbers are the unique choice of Agus’ aesthetic-technique though they do not always materialised. Agus is a painter that seem to be immensely enjoying the composition for the fact that there are potentials to overcome their boundaries. Mathematically, numbers are not more than the base of sistemic composition formation but for Agus, they are also imaginary lines that can be contextualized according to his will of the heart.

We live in the phenomenon of the ever-intertwined various aspects which we are forced to accept for a long time with confiction that all aspects of live must be definite, including the relation of people and their nature. Rain, gold, and even numbers are parts of nature and in essence, humans are also part of nature. In this sense, Agus would like to show that the intentional relation is in essence is a modus of life’s richness.
The intentionality of Ibrahim is very challenging, infiltrating and becoming an internalization of being with nature. There is almost no visible line between the me-nature. Subjects are no more than lanscape where consciousness are manifested in the borderlines of the still and escotheric space-time. We are brought to the situation of relation between interiority and exteriority that shed their selfness and material gown.
Ibrahim’s paintings starkly represent the world of impression. Human in its selfness is melting and objects are no longer within touch like wall that creates the distance between me-object into a spiritually collective conscious mind. This does not signal the end of the journey but instead the more it shifts as is shown by the fibrant display of lines and colors.

The three painters have a similar aesthetic line etching technique in abstracting the impressions of their experiences. It has been three years since the first idea of combining them into one exhibition took form. Now here they are. They come from different cultural backgrounds: Dedy Sufriadi comes from Palembang, Agus Baqul from Java, while Ibrahim is from Padang. They happened to meet in the same art institution in Jogjakarta (Institut Seni Indonesia). Their own struggle with their distinct theme resulted in the similar nearness with intentionality of their own experience with their external world. Their intentionality are their own spiritual richness that they chose to share through their paintings in order to have the chance to be acquintanced with their viewer.

Tommy F Awuy


Dedy Sufriadi
Agus ‘Baqul’ Purnomo


#Hashtag: A Group Exhibition

Hashtagging #Hashtag

Bagaimana kita mengenal tanda dalam kehidupan sehari-hari dan atas tujuan serta intensi apa kita membutuhkan penandaan? Hashtag merupakan variabel baru dalam bahasa, sebagai sebuah turunan atau pengembangan cara berkomunikasi. Sebuah penandaan untuk berkomunikasi yang memuat atensi, jembatan sosial, serta kebutuhan akan afirmasi diri. Hashtag pun juga merupakan tanda bagi kekurangan akan perhatian dan kepedulian yang lebih besar terhadap diri untuk diperhatikan sebagai pusat, sehingga hashtag menandakan kebutuhan berlebih sang pengguna atas dirinya sendiri, hingga kemungkinan untuk berdialog dalam sebuah komunikasi dapat dipertanyakan kembali.

Keharusan pengembangan kode (kodifikasi) dari komputerisasi dan kemajuan teknologi informasi atau kemudahan bagi tanda sebagai fasilitas cultural global bertemu dalam subjektivitas pengguna hashtag. Adaptasi manusia terhadap teknologi yang dilihat dari sistematika yang mekanis antara manusia yang melihat nilai guna hashtag sebagai nilai tukar efektivitas dari kemudahan manusia mengakses informasi (hashtag sebagai tanda efisiensi dan pengerucutan data secara lebih tepat) atau pemberian jarak terhadap penggunaan teknologi tersebut di dalam nilai tanda. Hashtag hadir sebagai nilai simbolik atas kepuasan semu untuk mendapatkan atensi.

Kondisi kaum urban dewasa ini menunjukkan dengan sangat gamblang akan kebutuhan mereka atas atensi dan afirmasi diri. Melalui sarana berbagai media sosial hashtag digunakan sebagai semacam jalan pintas untuk memperkenalkan diri. Bahasa baru dalam ranah simbolik ini pun kemudian memunculkan fenomena oposisinya, bahwa ketika telah mencapai afirmasi publik yang dirasa cukup maka anti untuk menggunakan hashtag, hasrat akan kekurangan diri tadi seolah tercukupi. Negasi akan hadirnya hashtag ini pun kemudian justru semakin memperkuat kehadiran hashtag di ranah simbolik.
Kami berusaha untuk merespon sebuah fenomena aktual yang muncul dalam kehidupan kaum urban. Sebuah kodifikasi atau metode bahasa baru kaum urban untuk saling menunjukkan eksistensinya. Hasrat baru kaum urban untuk mempertegas dan seolah ingin merapikan berbagai hal yang berserakkan dalam kehidupan urban yang chaos. Gejala dan keresahan ini kami rasakan sangat perlu untuk dituangkan dalam bentuk karya visual yang komunikatif. Sehingga mampu mengajak pengapresiasi untuk membuka diskursus tentang sesuatu yang sesungguhnya tidak asing bagi kita, dengan balutan gaya visual yang segar dan muda dari kami.

The Strange
(Arswandaru Cahyo, Andhika Wicaksono, Edgar Degas, Kahfi Eska Yusac, Okta Samid, Ryan Ady Putra)


Arswandaru cahyo
Andhika Wicaksono
Edgar Degas
Kahfi Eska Yusac
Okta Samid
Ryan Ady Putra


X: Jange Rae & Irman A. Rahman


Urban Behaviour

23 Okt – 8 Nov 2009

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Titarubi : Discourse of the Past

Titarubi is working on a history! She reveals a chain of period that is the initial and considered most important in the discourse of Indonesia’s history, which a lot of people are so fond of calling it as a part of a major program of ‘becoming Indonesia’.

Events of the past are now turning and become significant because of the thirst coming from different perspectives. Interestingly, to give meaning to history seems to be reserved for those who are involved in it through a specific, scientific method, and it would surprise us when there is someone who is giving meaning to history in a less common ways, especially the ways done by artists.

What drew Titarubi into history in her solo exhibition in Philo Art Space? Anything can be an object of interest for an artist. An event in history if of course just one of those objects, and there must be a certain, more specific object in that history that an artist wants to present. Spices are the object that is given Titarubi’s focus – how the peculiarity of that object emerges in different dimensions or concepts which are important to put forward.

An artist is also a person that works with a particular method of research, and that in their seriousness in doing so, they are not so different from other researchers going through theirs. The difference in presenting the result of the research as written documents or books and in a visual representation is an interpretation phenomenon that each has its own attractiveness.

There are at least two serious matters that Titarubi has to face in her endeavor to produce ‘the history of spices’: the availability of data relevant to the representation of the visual dimension of the objects she is working with, and how to create an iconistic visual aesthetic as a result of her ‘reading’ of the data.

It needed a tremendous spartan discipline or pure recklessness in working with such historic reality! It is the impression of Titarubi’s initial spirit to ensure that the theme comes true. It was fully understood that it would not be easy to prepare the materials needed to ensure the atmosphere of such historic event would be represented satisfactorily in both the affective and cognitive aspects. To collect thousands of nutmegs needed, for instance, Tita had to directly go to areas that produce them and had to accurately and diligently calculate the timing to work with them. Tita’s spirit reached its peak to fulfill the ‘technical-aesthetic demand’ of making those thousands of nutmegs into golden balls to be strung as cloak to be worn by a figure that is considered as the source of inspiration for the historic event.

To work with history is to read into the formation of the inter-woven events that in one part is explicitly shown while in other part only vaguely so, and even in other part is hidden; and therefore challenge oneself to be absorbed into their interpretation. Here is when the events of history become a ‘story’ which is open to be retold from various perspectives.

Titarubi intention is to make a narration of her focus on the history of spices. As we understand it, a narration is a way to connect one aspect into the others and create a relevance that turns those aspects into a flowing and complete story.

Different pieces combined into a complete element of the spices story that Tita wove are transport, episteme represented by written language or books, expression of faces expressed, and symbolical figure from which the spirit for mission and exploration emerges. For Tita, it is the inter-woven of these elements that has drained her of her creative process stamina, that her effort was like banging here head on something extremely hard and tangible, but yet unclear. But for whatever reason, it needs to be liquefied.

Transport represents the creation of the map and also the conquest of certain areas, or if it’s not too difficult to admit, the conquest of all territories on the face of the earth. Authority, knowledge, and civilization may only be spread if they are supported by adequate transport technology. Titarubi is boldly pointing to the ship bringing the fleet in to the conquest. In this context, transport also tells us the era’s creativity on how technology was created by brilliant designer putting the functions of spaces along with their aesthetic accessories.

Creativity depends on knowledge and all of its aesthetic representations. Knowledge gives the fundamental for legitimation of the practical condition for the establishment of certain position for those who control it. Knowledge and authority (or power), as we can see in the history of civilization, are two very different things but yet are supporting each other regardless of where they are utilized or whom are utilizing them. It is generally understood that knowledge and power are expressing metaphysic slogans such as ‘justice’, ‘equality’, ‘freedom’, and the likes.
Titarubi points out that knowledge, power and transport-technology have become choice of perspective that is explicitly shown in the history that she works with. In short, it is these concepts that propel Titarubi to express her aesthetic map into a daring visual narration of the spices history. And eventually, that narration can always be brought back to its major player, human, as the subject, witness and mainly as its victim: those human faces!

May the understanding of history through visual representation as Tita offers in her solo exhibition becomes a knowledge adequate enough to fulfill the basic curiosity that we have, though this may only be a piece of a vast stories of the past with the same theme. The review by DR. A. Setyo Wibowo would help us in understanding and to delve into the base concept of Titarubi aesthetic. Truly and impressive writing!
Happy exhibiting – and enjoy!

Tommy Awuy
Discourse of the Past

Titarubi born in Bandung, Indonesia, in 1968. Studied ceramic from the Department of Fine Art, Faculty of Art and Design, Bandung Institute of Technology. Her career as an artist started since 1988. She is now lives and works in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

Titarubi worked with various mediums and her works takes in many forms – sculpture, installation, performance art, happening art, painting, graphics, etc. She also collaborated several times with musician, theater artist, dancer and filmmaker. The issues that attracted her attentions are about body, identity, gender, memory and colonialism.
Her works has been collected and exhibited in Asia and Europe, including Singapore Biennale, ZKM Center for Art and Media (Karlsruhe, Germany), Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (Darwin, Australia), Busan Biennale Sculpture Project, MACRO (Museo d’Arte Contemporanea in Rome), and Singapore Art Museum.
Outside her art activities, Titarubi was also active in the movement of releasing and improving the welfare of political prisoners in New Order Indonesia, as well as disaster response activities in Indonesia by setting up the Studio Biru in 2006, when Yogyakarta suffered the earthquake, and the anti-censorship movement. She became the founding member and actively involve inIndonesian Contemporary Art Network (iCAN) – an organization that promote public education and multi-disciplinary work in art and, recently, Forum Rempah – a forum focusing on the history of spice and its culture in Indonesian archipelago.

Solo Exhibitions
• “Discourse of the Past”. Philo Art Space, Jakarta, Indonesia

• “Burning Boundaries”. Galerie Micahel Janssen, Berlin, Germany

• “Surrounding David”. a commission work of the National Museum of Singapore, Singapore

• “Herstory”. Bentara Budaya Jakarta, Jakarta, Indonesia
• “Kisah Tanpa Narasi”. Cemeti Art House, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

• “Benih”. Via-Via Cafe, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
• “Bayang-bayang Maha Kecil”. Kedai Kebun Forum, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
• “Bayang-bayang Maha Kecil Puri”. Art Gallery, Malang, Indonesia

• “Bayang-bayang Maha Kecil”. Cemara 6 Gallery, Jakarta, Indonesia

• “Se[Tubuh] Benda”. Art Space, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

• “Yang Kelak Retak” (Will be Going Crack). Infant-Shelter Promotion for Tangerang, West Java, Manufacturing’s Labors Exhibition], Senandika Perempuan Women NGO, Pondok Indah Mall, Jakarta, Indonesia
• “Yang Kelak Retak”. Stage Cafe, Ratu Plaza, Jakarta, Indonesia

Selected Group Exhibitions

• “Suspended Histories”, Museum Van Loon, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
• Indonesia National Pavilion at the 55th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, Venice, Italy
• “Welcome to the Jungle: Contemporary Art in Southeast Asia from the Collection of Singapore Art Museum”, Yokohama Museum of Art, Yokohama, Japan
• “Pharmacide Arts: Fake medicine: The Disease of Greed”. Langgeng Art Foundation, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

• “FLOW-Indonesian Contemporary Art”. Galerie Michael Janssen, Berlin, Germany
• “Faux médicaments”. Espace et université de pharmacie de Hanoi, Hanoi, Vietnam
• “Faux médicaments”. Idecaf, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
• “Faux médicaments”. Université de pharmacie de Vientiane, Laos, Vietnam
• “Re.Claim”. National Gallery, Jakarta, Indonesia

• “Beyond the East: A Gaze on Indonesian Contemporary Art”. International cultural biennale Vie della seta (Silk Roads), Rome, Italy
• “Biennale Jogja XI”. Yogyakarta, Indonesia
• “Negotiating Home, History and Nation”. Singapore Art Museum, Singapore
• “1001 Doors: Re-inventing Traditions”. Ciputra Marketing Gallery, Jakarta, Indonesia

• “Rainbow Asia”. Hangaram Art Museum, Seoul Art Center, Seoul, South Korea • “Faith by Chen Hui-Chiao & Titarubi”, Sakshi Gallery Taipei, Taipei, Taiwan
• “The Anniversary of ARTI Magazine”. Podomoro Park, Jakarta, Indonesia
• “Space & Images”. Ciputra World. Jakarta, Indonesia
• “Oasis To Be”. Maha Art Gallery. Sanur, Bali, Indonesia
• “Masih Ada Gus Dur”. Langgeng Gallery, Magelang, Indonesia

• “Jakarta Contemporary Ceramic Biennale #1”. North Art Space, Ancol, Jakarta, Indonesia
• “Deer Andry”. Mess 56, Jogjakarta, Indonesia
• “My Body”. Grand Indonesia, Jakarta, Indonesia

• “China International Gallery Exposition (CIGE) Art Fair”. Vanessa Art Link, 798 District Beijing, China
• “Busan Biennale 2008 Sculpture Project”. APEC Naru Park, Busan, South Korea
• “Manifesto. Pameran Besar Seni Rupa Indonesia”. Galeri Nasional, Jakarta, Indonesia
• “The Arafura Craft Exchange : Trajectory of Memories Tradition and Modernity in Ceramics”. Museum and Art Gallery of The Nortern Territory (MAGNT), Darwin, Australia

• “Biennale Jogja IX 2007: Neo-Nation”. Jogja National Museum, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
• “Asian International Art Exhibition 22nd: Imagining Asia. Selasar Sunaryo Art Space, Bandung, Indonesia
• “Indonesian Women Artists: The Curtain Opens”. National Gallery of Indonesia, Jakarta, Indonesia
• “Thermocline of Art: New Asian Waves”. ZKM, Kalsruhe, Germany
• “China International Gallery Exposition”. Vanessa Art Link, Beijing, China
• “World Social Forum” Kasarani, MOI International Sport Center, Nairobi, Kenya

• “Common Link”. Vanessa Art Link, Chao Yang District Beijing, China
• “Singapore Biennale 2006”. Singapore
• “Masa dan Tanda-Tanda”. Vanessa Art Link, Jakarta, Indonesia

• “Biennale Jogja VIII: Di Sini & Kini”. Taman Budaya Yogyakarta, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
• “Summit Event Bali Biennale: Space and Scape”. Bali, Indonesia
• “Urban/Culture: CP International Biennale 2005”. Museum Bank Indonesia, Jakarta, Indonesia
• “Transindonesia: Scoping Culture in Contemporary Indonesia Art”. The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Zeland

• “Barcode”. Gedung Societet Taman Budaya, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
• “Good Morning Meneer!” Pekan Budaya Hindie Kedai Kebun Forum, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
• “Objecthood”. Gedung Societet, Taman Budaya Yogyakarta, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
• “Pameran Seni Keramik Muda Indonesia”. National Gallery of Indonesia, Jakarta
• “Menimbang ‘Dunia’ Perempuan”. Gedung Societet, Taman Budaya Yogyakarta, Indonesia

• “All You Need is Love”. Nadi Gallery, Jakarta, Indonesia
• “Girl Talk” Edwin’s Gallery, Jakarta, Indonesia
• “Modernization & Urbanization Maronnier”. Art Center, Seoul, South Korea
• “Fusion Strength” Langgeng Gallery, Magelang, Indonesia

• “Women Exhibition”. Jakarta Art Festival, Bentara Budaya Jakarta, Indonesia

• “Jejak Tanah dan Api: The 3000th Years Terracotta in Indonesia”. National Museum, Jakarta, Indonesia
• “Flying Trough the Wall: Palu Art Forum”. Palu, Sulawesi, Indonesia

• “Media dalam Media”. National Gallery of Indonesia, Jakarta, Indonesia
• “A Million Bodies”. Makassar Art Forum, Sulawesi Selatan, Indonesia

• “Plastic (& Other Waste)”. Chulangkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand
• “Missing and Silent”. Lontar Art Gallery, Indonesia Alliance for Better Earth and Human Life Jakarta, Indonesia

• “Ceramic Exhibition”. Times Gallery, Bandung, Indonesia

• “Seni Keramik dan Grafis”. Gedung YPK, Bandung, Indonesia

• “Ceramic c\Craft Exhibition”. Bandung, Indonesia

• Plaza Education and Culture Departement Building, Jakarta, Indonesia

• “Ekspresi”. The Japan Foundation, Jakarta, Indonesia

• Nikko Art Gallery, Bandung, Indonesia

Selected Other Art Projects
• Collaborator and installation works for “Selamat Datang dari Bawah”, a dance performance coreographed by Fitri Setyaningsih. iCAN Art Space, Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
• Artistic director of “The History of Chidren Movement”, an exhibition on the 30th years of children movement in Indonesia. Jogja National Museum, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

• Installation works for “Shakuntala”, a theater directed by Naomi Srikandi. French Cultural Center of Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
• “A Million Bodies”, a performance. Jogja National Museum, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

• Installation works and assistant artistic director for Garin Nugroho’s film “Opera Java”

• “A Million Bodies”, a performance. Makassar Art Forum, Makassar, Indonesia


HIGHEST by Nyoman Sujana Kenyem


The Ultimate High Nyoman Sujana Kenyem – one of Bali emerging painters that holds a resilience of his own in dealing with the change of time. He does not inertly reside in the traditional space, but neither dose he merge himself totally into the ‘spirit of his era’. For Kenyem, creativity is not a rigid option for a complete and ultimate identity of a creation! He is flowing in the track that he tries to create which is evident in the uniqueness of his paintings.

This solo exhibition coincides with the 8th anniversary of Philo Art Space on 9th September 2013. It is such a delightful unison. To hold an exhibition is a convergent of ideas, vision, and imagination. Philo Art Space, that focuses on urban culture issues, is warmly welcomed by Kenyem, though he at first seemed to be a bit timid as he considered himself not a person that is not totally drenched in such culture.

Practically, Kenyem indeed does not touch the issues daily, but he is not that far away. As a figure that lives and was raised in Ubud – Bali, Kenyem is experiencing a unique cultural ambiance. Ubud represents a condition that is ‘everything there is’: traditional, modern, super-modern, quiet, calm, glittering, brown, yellow, white, black, et cetera. Ubud is a cultural condition that is beyond definition. In his exhibited paintings, Kenyem expresses the threshold phenomenon between the urban world icons such as building jutting at the skies and big, tall trees as icon of the ‘noble savage’ (the awe-inspiring wild cosmos), between city and village, between progression and calmness, and the likes.

The uniqueness of Kenyem icons are themselves like active figures: small flower, sun, moon, hill, mountain, street from which we can sense the presence of nature. Specifically, these icons take us to the realm of ‘subconscious’ as they are confronted with the construction of modern consciousness that is presented as order of high-rise building to illustrate the urban people superego.

In his paintings, Kenyem expresses his admiration for the urban phenomenon while also inserting subtle criticism. Kenyem aesthetic can be seen from the obsession of urban people with ‘height’ which actually is a part of life realm mystery: the moon, sun, mountain, et cetera. Such obsession is obviously the depiction of urban people ambition to flaunt ‘height’ as daily issues that may be considered as ‘the power’ to control life as a whole.

Height as obsession or superego of urban people? How can we explain this? Urban people are perhaps no longer care about origins as they can easily break a problem link as they are threatened by the complexity of such problem that appears in front of them. From tender age they are faced with a variety of properties to own, and it was not easy to own them without having to pass certain struggle.

However, height is a concept that refers to the competition to achieve ‘the ultimate high’. Modernity is triggering such competition though a narration of human history which eventually will end at the perfection point where they find ‘the absolute self’. ‘Absolute self’ may only materialize in a relation amongst other selves that form a society, whether based on location or not. City becomes a representation of social relation where their citizens come from various places and with their own hopes. And it is the place where all those hopes converge into an obsession to reach the highest place driven by superego, that we then call ‘city’ of the urban people.

Some of Kenyem’s paintings display the un-avoided urbanization: how the awe of a city with its high-rises represents a part of our own psychology that beckons us. But perhaps, it is a part of our potential self that accuses us of being an underdeveloped person unless we pursue our dream in the city.

City is made of a variety of existences that do not touch each other, as with the movement of particle without door (monad), but on the other hand, the city is presenting strong communities which to Kenyem, these communities are the place to hang hopes from the remains of the spirit of solidarity to reach the highest. Thus the spirit of solidarity that is generally considered irrelevant in urban setting as it is seen as a typical rural spirit is presented here boldly, and indeed it is worth to be noticed.

Kenyem seems to be optimistic that the glam of a city indeed offers promises that may very well channel our potentials to reach the ultimate high, but we must be also aware that, our own subconscious realm which holds the wild nature that is astonishing as well, is a condition that attaches to us and become a part of our existence, be it urban or rural people. Remember, the concrete jungle of a city is only an extension of a jungle with its trees. The most important thing is to have the self awareness that the spearing superego has the subconscious as its base. Happy exhibiting, Kenyem!

Tommy F Awuy


Born 9 September 1972 in Sayan, Ubud, Gianyar Bali
Studied at STSI Denpasar (1998)

Solo Exhibitions

G13 Gallery, Kelana Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia
The Bicycle Diaries, Komaneka Art Gallery, Ubud, Bali
Embracing Nature’s Poem, Ganesha Gallery, Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay
The Bridges of Nature, D’Peak Art Space, Singapore
Symphony of Life, Kemang Village, Jakarta
Fulmoon in Bali, Sawah Art Gallery, Singapore
Heading for the Heart’s Way, Gaya Fusion of Senses, Ubud, Bali
The Art of Nyoman Sujana ‘Kenyem’, Montiq Art Gallery, Jakarta
Dance of Life, Conrad Bali Resort & Spa, Nusa Dua, Bali
The Abstraction of Leaves, Jenggala Gallery, Jimbaran Bali
Leafscape, Danes Art Veranda, Denpasar, Bali
Moving with in the Shadow, Ganesha Gallery, Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay
Galeri Nakita Stockholm, Swedia

Group Exhibitions
The Arts Island Festival, BatuBelah ArtSpace, Klungkung, Bali
Sprites Art Project, Kintamani, Bali
The Straight Contour, Kupu-kupu Artspace, Jimbaran Corner, Bali
MahaArt Gallery, Denpasar
Gallery 7Adam, Singapore
Bersyukur Kita Tunggal Ika, Hadiprana Gallery, Jakarta
Sudamala: An Artistic Journey, Sudakara ArtSpace, Sudamala Suies & Villas, Sanur, Bali
Artists Museum Weeks, BatuBelah Art Space, Klungkung
On Going Echoes#3, Myanmar-Indonesia Art Exchange, Cemara 6 Gallery, Jakarta
Dialogue II, Gaya Art Space, Ubud, Bali
JakartaBienalle, Jakarta
Dialogue, G13 Gallery, Kelana Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia
Bertiga, Ambiente, Jakarta
Abstract Moment, Galeri Elcanna, Jakarta
On Going Echoes#2, Myanmar-Indonesia Art Exchange, Tanah Tho Gallery, Ubud, Bali
Bali Making Choices, Mondecor, Jakarta
Nusantara di Atas Kanvas, Bank Mandiri Denpasar & Jakarta
Solitude of the Earth II, Bentara Budaya Bali
MindScape, Galeri Nasional Indonesia, Jakarta
Solitude of the Earth, Bentara Budaya Yogyakarta
Beijing International Art Biennale, Beijing, China
Integritas Jiwa Tampak, Bentara Budaya Bali
On Going Echoes#1, Myanmar-Indonesia Art Exchange, New Zero Art Space, Yangon, Myanmar
Return to the Abstraction, Toniraka Art Gallery, Ubud Bali
Apa Ini Apa Itu, Djagad Art House, Lepang, Klungkung, Bali
Ar(t)iculations, Hanna Art Space, Ubud, Bali
Bentara Budaya Bali
Gallery M, Daegu, Korea
Sampoerna Strategic Square, Jakarta
Borderless World, Srisasanti Gallery, Yogyakarta
Silent Celebration, Toniraka Gallery, Ubud, Bali
Ahimsa, Bentara Budaya Jakarta
Bali Art Now, Jogja Gallery, Yogyakarta
Pada Sebuah Pesta, V-Gallery, Yogyakarta
Entitas Nurani, Art Center, Denpasar, Bali
Green, Sanur Village Festival, Denpasar, Bali
Ar[t]mosphere, Sanur Village Festival, Denpasar, Bali
Global Warming Kunstkamera, GWK, Jimbaran, Bali
Reconsculture, ARMA Museum, Ubud, Bali
Change Seasons, Komaneka Art Gallery, Ubud, Bali
Pre-Bali Biennale, Raka Gallery, Ubud, Bali
Bali Biennale, Danes Art Veranda, Denpasar, Bali
Art Singapore 2005
Tree of Life, Sembilan Gallery, Ubud, Bali
Dasa Muka, ARMA Museum, Ubud, Bali
TAI-Black, STSI Denpasar
Canna Gallery, Jakarta
Puri Lukisan Museum, Ubud, Bali
Kuta News, Titik Dua Building, Denpasar, Bali
Jenggala Ceramic, Jimbaran, Bali
Sembilan Gallery, Ubud, Bali
Bali Art Contemporary, Bentara Budaya, Jakarta
Plawa Bali Resto, Sanur
Face from the Mount, Sidik Jari Museum, Denpasar
Reflection II, Darga Gallery, Sanur, Bali
Five Painters, Ina Gallery, Jakarta
Tiga Nam Gallery, Ubud, Bali
Mandala of Life III, Purnabudaya, Yogyakarta
7 Painters Bali, Cipta II Gallery, TIM, Jakarta
Three Painters, Komaneka Gallery, Ubud, Bali
Canbera, Australia
Duo Sujana, Novotel, Tanjung Benoa, Bali
Bali Hyatt, Sanur, Bali
Mandala of Life II, Art Centre, Denpasar, Bali
Abstract Festival, Duta Fine Art, Jakarta
Reflection I, Darga Gallery, Sanur, Bali
Bali Art Festival XIX, Bali Art Centre, Denpasar, Bali
Mandala of Life I, Sika Art Gallery, Ubud, Bali
Three City, Monas, Jakarta
Expo 95, Jakarta
Nyoman Gunarsa Fine Art Museum, Klungkung, Bali
TATA Ubud, Bali
Peksiminas III, Jakarta
Sidik Jari Museum, Denpasar, Bali
Bali Art Festival XVI, Bali Art Centre, Denpasar, Bali
STSI Denpasar
Peksiminas II, STSI Denpasar, Bali
Art Centre, Denpasar, Bali

The Best Artwork Tugas Akhir STSI Denpasar
The Best Painting Kamasra Prize, STSI Denpasar


Time Machine

08, hiruk-pikuk ruang urban,mixed media,90x150cm,2012
Sugihartono, hiruk-pikuk ruang urban,mixed media,90x150cm,2012
Time is Harvest, acrylic on canvas, 150x190cm,2012 Purwanto SPA
Purwanto SPA,Time is Harvest, acrylic on canvas, 150x190cm,2012





CITY – a representation of hard work, harsh competition, a place where human expose and exploit and being exploited – with all its potentials.

City people live in a time machine. Their movement from one point to the other is measured and defined. There are moments of stillness but alas, it is not for meditation or reflection but merely for rest.

Welcome to the Time Machine!

Sugihartono and Purwanto SPA recorded the urban people phenomenon in their own perspective on canvas, as they are indeed painters who are dealing daily with the urban time, in an exhibition titled TIME MACHINE in Philo Article Space, June 22nd to July 6th.

In essence, time machine is a part of human life. Its significance is made different by those who are bound to it and those who are not, whether consciously or not consciously. Urban people in their routine cannot betray their own being in the time machine. Work as a process is not more valuable than the end or objective. The time machine pushes and shoves people to forget their existence as life’s subject of narration who should have been able to avoid the push and look for their own meaning of being.

Time machine produces effectiveness and efficiency, by optimizing the human self apparatus: their mind and moreover, their senses. Human may be awed by their own creations of science, technology, structure of society, institution, and work system which are so transparently apparent in front of them, but they lost their ability to look inside their being. The time machine rigidly points human to the direction straight ahead with only one aim: the maximum result!

Sugihartono vividly describes how the time machine painstakingly reaches its objective in every single person of urban people. The building, road, skateboard, stilt, and everything else are just representations that can be read as sign, while it is clear that behind it, it is the time machine that enables people to be there – moving without its individual subject.

It is revealed to us clearly each day that life at its face value can be seen on the street, at work, in malls, cafés, which present people merely as moving figures. Sugihartono unmasks the exteriority and the interiority of the time machine; the urban life and the time machine itself, where people are going to and fro without regards to each others, which in itself is a repetitive problem that gives raise to the classic question: what is the meaning of life?

Time machine concludes the meaning where human is now free of its being (ontologically). Therefore the issue of human dualism of body and soul melts into the time narration that demands such work maximization! Without doubt, all Sugihartono work offer us with implication that we are now inside the mechanistic repetition of time; carried away in the time movement that spies on the direction we are heading every time we take a step. Nothing is left?

Time is the only witness that could testify that we or our live was there and it amuses us to search for the source of that life. Generally, we already understand this concept of time that we call ‘nostalgia’. It is most probable that to Sugihartono we are still in possession of such memories of the past and it raises the question of whether time machine can totally obliterate the individual person significance.

In this regards Sugihartono tickles us on the ‘modification’ modus that signify whether nostalgia is a hidden energy that would reveal itself and present us with human creativity in overtaking the mechanistic time machine? That work is purely for the sake of work without giving any new meaning to it? That human work for a reason but then abandons the reson itself because of time constraint in their work. Ironic!

Meanwhile, Purwanto SPA has the perspective on city exteriority which he sees only as the representation of the past in its semiotic nostalgia. Lest we forget that a city has its own time of abundance but that it has been uprooted from its mythical time to be replaced by time machine.

There’s sarcasm in Purwanto SPA’s point of view, in which that at its core, urban people are still pretty much mentally ‘backward’! People who initially so ready to overcome time but in the end are rendered helpless by their own apparatus failure to be ready. But city to Purwanto SPA is an aesthetic exterior due to the contrast of those very ‘slickness’ and ‘backwardness’. Moreover, city is seen as a significance of the merge of traditional icon and global capitalism icon just like wayang personage on dollar stage.

Urban people establish the kingdom of pleasure on behalf of sport, leveling down woods to make room for hitting on small balls while socializing, and yet still have the need for those science-fiction (or mythical?) amusement from crop circle to represent the unexpected stage of previous life?

Purwanto SPA’s critic stabs right at the heart of the issue of the heart of the city and the heart of the urban people are in their own ambiguity within the threshold of city-village, anxiously wishing whether in such ambiguity there is still hope of overcoming the mechanistic time machine that will enable us to party with individual creativity?
Welcome to time machine.
Tommy F Awuy


Time Machine

Purwanto SPA