Indonesia at the Venice Biennale 2013

Indonesia has moved its pavilion into the Arsenale for the first time. On an impressive 500 square meters, the works of six artists are presented here. The participants were selected in a lengthy selection process – after all, they had set themselves the goal of showing a representative cross-section of the variegated contemporary Indonesian art scene in Venice. The overarching concept “Sakti” comes from the Sanskrit “shak” (may) and means something like holy power or first cosmic energy, which represent the dynamic forces acting on the Hindu faith throughout the universe. As a traditional embodiment of creative power and agent for change, regeneration and cosmic justice, Sakti is multifaceted and multifaceted, but at the same time the only essence of the truth. In the context of the exhibition, “Sakti” aims at the individual artist, who refers to both historical and social aspects as well as cultural pluralism within the global discourse.

In an outstanding overall production, the Indonesian pavilion combines six very different artistic positions. The painter and sculptor Entang Wiharso combines hyperrealistic representations of past and present, imaginary and real. For his objects and large sculptural installations in which large paintings are interspersed, he uses bronze, graphite and aluminum, which he mixes with other materials. For the Biennale, Wiharso has created the portrait group “The Indonesian: No Time to Hide” based on portraits of Indonesian patriots and presidents. There is also a 14-meter-long relief grille with contemporary depictions of love and deception that marks the entrance to the interior of the pavilion, which is shaped like a closed courtyard.

At first there is Albert Yonathan Setyawan’s “Cosmic Labyrinth: The Silent Path” made of 1200 terracotta figures. On the right Titarubi shows an installation of school desks, with which she wants to emphasize the importance of knowledge, science and education as the basis of civilization. On the opposite side is an open stage pavilion, in which life-sized Indonesian shadow play figures appear. With this ensemble, Sri Astari quotes traditional elements of Indonesian culture. In contrast to this, Eko Nugroho’s are comic-like figures balancing on a raft of oil barrels and bamboo poles. The sixth artist, Rahayu Supanggah, is a composer. He works on the basis of traditional Javanese music and has composed pieces for the works of art.

The Indonesian Pavillion in the Arsenale includes works by Albert Yonathan Setyawan, Eko Nugroho, Entang Wiharso, Rahayu Supanggah, Sri Astari, Titarubi – SAKTI. Commissioned by Soedarmadji JH Damais headed by Achille Bonito Oliva. Curated by Carla Bianpoen and Rifky Effendy.

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