READING CITY AND SPACE AS IDEAS
In art history, the practice of “spatializing” within the creative process has been done for a long time. The Impressionists’ awareness of social space, realized by painting on the spot in public places, has changed our way of looking at outdoor objects. Awareness of light, social interactions, and environmental changes have made art not only something that stands as a rigid form but also one that is in touch with the “reality” of society.
In Indonesia, after 15 years of Reformation, activities of public space art, urban art, empowering art, participatory art, and the like have flourished; so has the design world. Our designers have not only developed design forms based on request and usage value, but also have engaged to awaken social responsibility regarding anything happening in the wider societal system. In these last few years, some designers, architects, and artists have developed collaborative works and creative approaches to get in touch with a larger social dimension.
In Indonesia Contemporary Art and Design 2016, the organizer initiates the presence of art/design project with an awareness of social space and territory. Collaborative works become very important because artist/designer is no longer the “center” but also both the initiator and facilitator of a common idea.
This artist/designer involved is asked to imagine an ideal condition of where he/she lives and socializes. The ideal is of course never materialized, since within the ever-changing society it, too, constantly changes. However, in the practice of art and design, the imagination of the ideal can be built up as an idea. Therefore, art/design project is not only imagining the ideal in the work itself, but also a medium of critique, reflection, and evaluation in seeing a development of a territory and society.
'The Soap Project'
People are missing. Justice is missing. However, history remains.
After their disappearance made by the country, Munir, Poster, Marsinah, Widji Thukul and Udin reappear in the form of soap sculptures. These missing persons soaps are available to the public. Those figures history tried to eliminate will disappear once again with each hand wash. Through The Soap Project (2015), Agung 'Leak' Kurniawan discusses political issues under the government's power tendency to 'wash their hands' than truth-seeking efforts. The Soap Project offers not only multisensory experience, but also brings the public closer to the political issues through everyday objects and activities.
In addition to The Soap Project, Agung will once again feature his Kimchil Series (2015). Through this life size installation, Agung displays the kimcil phenomenon, a slang term for female teenagers identical to instability and delinquency that are often found on the streets of Jakarta.
The urban expansion phenomenon has not only created euphoria, but also fear. Migrations from rural to urban areas were greeted with chaos. Cities are required to keep on building things, while the remaining space is only that which is stretched up to the sky. Kampung Vertikal (Vertical Kampong) exists as Budi Pradono's offer in the form of open vertical space system that can be tailor-made as needed. As the space on the ground keeps on depleting, the horizontal interactions between citizens are also fading away. The open space in this Kampung Vertikal not only offers building constructions, but also offers restructuring opportunity to the social interactive system in the community.
'Menyusun Serpihan Pelangi'
Living in Jakarta is to lead a life filled with complexity. Not only a matter of surviving, but also how to act on life itself. Worries and fears seem to be the main menu in an attempt to survive in Jakarta. Among tides of risks in urban life which is overwhelmed with pressure and demand, Eko Nugroho reflects images of hope and encouragement through Menyusun Serpihan Pelangi (Collecting shards of the rainbow). This collaborative mural is drawn on Kemang Colony building attached to the wall of grandkemang Hotel.
Kemang, with its transformation from an exclusive residential area to become an urban activity center has its own story to tell. As a compromising arena between the modern aspects and the Batavian traditional values, Kemang also accommodates small narratives that people often miss. Through Kemang RT / RW, Hermawan Tanzil records stories of Kemang residents, the area that has been his place of activity for years. This documentation project involves the local community, street sweepers, to street vendors- people who are often considered to be insignificant but turns out to have great hope for Kemang, both as space of traditions and modern residence.
'Back to Black'
The hustle and bustle of the city and its lifestyle has blurred the distinction of the sacred and the banal. Self complementary accessories has been turned the way around with religious values. The fashion world is also swept away in the commodification current. As a critique to the trend of using religious symbols in fashion trends, Oscar Lawalata also build Back to Black, a black box structure that resembles the Kaaba is covered with patterned textiles. He uses this pattern to break down the stigma of the color black which all this time reflects secrecy, absence of light, as well as isolation from the outside world. Through this box, Oscar offers meditation in the midst of the chaotic world of fashion today.
The decision to make Kemang a modern village based on the Governor's Decree Number 6 Year 1999, did not run smoothly. Tromarama sees the clashing effort tbetween the traditional ("village") with the new ("modern") as a separate strain.
By working together with Junghans, an antique furniture store in East Kemang area, Tromarama tried to ask questions about what being modern is all about. The furniture that is considered modern during Junghan's time is juxtaposed by Tromarama along with virtual reality,an intervention in the modern concept, formed by activities in the digital world.
'The Missing Horizon'
Jakarta and its obsession to develop has obscured our awareness of the disappearance of the horizon from tour sights. Forests of concrete, electric poles and billboards have eliminated the borders between heaven and earth. At the same time, the loss of a horizon line has reaffirmed the new borderlines, between social statuses in Jakarta. The upperclass is closer and closer to the sky, while the low class is forced to firmly bury their feet to the ground.
This longing for a horizon is presented by Tita Salina through The Missing Horizon. A curvy line, shot as laser, goes around Kemang area and eliminates all matters that stand on its way.
What U See Is Not What U Get
Between Fashion and Representation
When we talked about fashion, we actually talk about other things. Might that be art, design, culture, architecture, science, history, or maybe even math and language. Because, fashion turns a piece of fabric into something more than a material that we put on. It celebrates design in a way that only fashion can do, and one most important fact is fashion turns us into someone else everyday.
How does fashion do it? You wonder. As we flip through fashion magazine pages or scroll through online fashion shops on Instagram, we know that we are in search of something much more powerful than ourselves. We are there looking for the right kind of representation that we would like people see from us. We are in the hunt of the right way to present ourselves to the public, include ourselves. We are here to impress, to be exact.
From casual, formal even experimental, you named it. Fashion has it all. At this exhibition we are going to show you how those representations being made through some of the most talked about designers, artist, and fashion photographer in Indonesia this year. Let your mind ponder and your keen eyes wonder among their traces of process and accomplishments that we are here in ICAD 2016, proudly presents on this group exhibition that we oddly called WUSINWUG.
Carefully pick to create one look that compliments each other beautifully, we sure wish that this exhibition will pleasantly provide you with a new understanding of how fashion is a representation production that we just can not live without today.
ICAD, the event which is always held before year end, possess the opportunity to offer in presenting design practices and Indonesian contemporary art trends which will play a role in the upcoming trends. Trends can usually be predicted through the explorations of form, color, texture, and technical utilizations, as well as the influence of technological developments and changes in lifestyle. For example, some say that the 2016 trend of using copper and rosegold color will soon be expired. The symptoms had begun in the industry, both in product design and interior. The same thing happens with the art world; some of the symptoms that became trends throughout 2016 are also said to be fading away. So, what about the trends in 2017? What can be offered in order to enliven the trend next year?
In its 7th year of implementation, ICAD in particular presents a zone for displaying merchandise from a number of contemporary artists and designers. Art merchandising is an activity to produce the idea of art in a medium that can be mass-produced by the artist themselves into a playroom for creating the trend itself. Postcards, posters, scarves, bags, T-shirts, as well as a variety of other formats are some examples. With this activity, the public is increasingly brought closer to the artistic idea of the artists and designers.
Those who appear in the ICAD 2016 Artists Merchandise are those who can exhibit a fluidity of grasp in processing visual arts. Some are making new products out of the line they have done before, or something different from their old style. Presented with a style that is not only targeting the market, these artists and designers provide an opportunity to talk about the broader process and perspective through their works.
Sixteen creators are directed to create novelties , with strong spirit of originality and locality. The diversity of ideas appear through the use of material as well as variety of styles: flat design, irregular grids, and multilayer explorations. The decreasing interest in the elegance of rosegold and copper was replaced with a more natural and textured material, like bricks, clay, and wood, as well as the more unostentatious cork and rattan.
Through this Artists Merchandise zone, artists and designers are pushing their creative force to get out of their comfort zone. A form of escapism from the mainstream of human lifestyle in the digital and practical era. Love for nature, culture, and romanticism of the past aesthetic are born inside the variety of mass products' visual expression and format, to directly interact and be owned by the public in a much broader sense.
Fondazione Vico Magistretti