Indonesian Artists to Present Contemporary Art in Venice
Nandra Galang Anissa
Nandra Galang Anissa
A rt consultants Bumi Purnati announced in a press conference on Wednesday that Indonesia will showcase the best of its contemporary art in the prestigious bi-annual art exhibition, the 55th Venice Biennale 2013. While in previous years Indonesian artists have individually showcased their work at the Biennale, this will be the first time Indonesia will have its own pavilion.
Bumi Purnati’s director, Restu Imansari Kusumaningrum, who pushed for the pavilion, explained that having a dedicated space for Indonesian artists at the Biennale was a milestone, albeit a difficult one to realize.
“We had to go through a very long, bureaucratic process in order to get a spot for a pavilion and compete with other countries,” Restu said. In 2013, more than 100 countries are expected to participate in the arts festival.
Restu was inspired to bring Indonesia to the event when she saw bold artworks created by artists from other developing countries. “When I look at the works of those contemporary artists, regardless of which nation they come from, I truly witnessed the progress of a country’s society and culture,” Restu explained.
She added that she recognized that Indonesian contemporary artists have the potential to produce high quality artworks to be showcased in Venice.
The five artists chosen to present their artwork at the Indonesia pavilion are Albert Yohan Setiawan, Sri Astari, Eko Nugroho, Entang Witarso and Titarubi.
Curator Rifky Effendi was in charge of the selection process.
Although the artists’ track record and previous work was heavily considered during the selection process, Carla Bianpoen, head of the artistic team, explained that they looked for artists who were ready to fully commit to the project.
“The artists, along with the rest of the team, will spend the next months coming up with a unified objective for the pavilion,” she said.
“In order for us to shine among the many other artists, we have to come up with a structure in the pavilion that will unify the artwork and represent our culture,” Carla added.
The team has decided on the theme of “Sakti” (magic) for the pavilion. The display space will be situated in the Arsenale area of the Biennale, considered to be a prestigious venue. “It was not easy to get a spot at the Arsenale, one has to go through a long process of consideration from the director of the Venice Biennale in order to exhibit there,” Carla said.
However, the team was not ready to disclose how the theme would be conceptualized. “We are still in the process of discussion with the artists as to how we will bring ‘Sakti’ to our pavilion,” Carla said.
The process of populating a 500-square-meter space in the Biennale with art will not be easy, with architects, light and sound designers and the artists all working together.
“This is not just an event that runs a few days. The exhibition will run for six months, so we have to be fully prepared in everything,” Restu said.
She added that in following years, she hoped that the Indonesian government would play a bigger part in getting the country’s artists to Venice, possibly as part of an initiative.