GOING IN DEEP: ‘SPECULATIVE MEMORIES’ EXHIBITION BY ART•BALI
The art gallery that is pushing the boundaries and making a mark in Bali’s art scene, has a new exhibition that’s sparking conversation for both art-lovers and non art-lovers alike.
ART • BALI’s ‘Speculative Memories’ 2019 exhibition opened on October 13th to the public. Its opening ceremony, which had more than 1,000 attendees, was inaugurated by Triawan Munfaf on October 12th. The exhibition hosts 32 artists, Indonesian and foreign, and has 49 works of installations from; sculptures, videos, paintings and new media – Divided between, 25 two-dimensional works, 5 three-dimensional works and 19 installations.
ART • BALI is looking to pave the way for Bali to become the nation’s choice for art events, as Jakarta has often been chosen as the host hub. We can say that ART • BALI is not just a gallery, but a movement as well, as they’re vying for Bali to become a strategic place for the development of contemporary art. Their collaboration with ‘Fashion Council Western Australia (FCWA)’ in early September – with the Annual Perth Fashion Festival, is testament to this. With their continuous efforts to strengthen the link of Art, Fashion and Culture between Indonesia and Australia, and also bridge the gap between the landscape of art and it’s relationship with the public. The collaboration has strengthened the Asia Cultural Exchange initiative, taking on Indonesian and Australian Fashion Designers to share a runway and highlight the advantages of Asian Textile Culture and it’s influence in the fashion world worldwide.
At ART • BALI’s opening ceremony, two Indonesian brand designers (Ali Charismas and Quarzia) and two Australian brand designers (33 Poets and Reign the Label), collaborated on the runway and performed an exploration of textile culture rooted in locality piece – showcasing one of the many possibilities of what can come out of the team-up with FCWA and ART • BALI. A notable performance from the opening is, Jasmine Okubo, where she and her dancers performed on the outdoor installation work – using a choreography inspired by an artwork featured in the ‘Speculative Memories’ exhibition; I Wayan Sujana ‘Suklu’, ‘Alfabet Moles’
‘Speculative Memories’ is curated by, Ignatia Nilu and Rifky Effendi. “Speculative boasts the act of looking for possibilities to experiment, explore, deform, reposition, and more. Naturally, memories are born neurotically, both in humans and all living things. Yet today, memory is also supported by technology, integrated with machines, computers and the internet” says Ignatia Nilu. Equipped by various excavation efforts, each work has embodied its own reality based on memories which are also formed by pieces of small stories that have been buried, washed away, caught up and unearthed, discovered and presented today with us. “From here, we can witness the stories and facts that are not only linear, but often lyrical, and play a role in fostering a journey on humanity and mutual living” as Rifky Effendy said.
We were thrilled that we got to speak to not just one, but both of the curators of this luminous exhibition and get to know more about it and ART • BALI.
Is there a specific reason that Art.Bali’s focal point is Contemporary Art as opposed to traditional or other aspects?
Rifky Effendy: The notions Contemporary Art is only reason to give big pictures of current situation of the aspects in life nowadays, including to talk about recent cultures through art expression which the languages.
Ignatia Nilu: Without pertaining to specific terms of modern or contemporary art, we are focused or how to present the ‘present’ work of art. It also a lot of work dealing with media art, digital art,etc. But we would like to present radiant works that are relevant with the current situation & time.
Was there a specific reason that Art.Bali is in Nusa dua and if so what was the reason for this and what are the advantages of being situated in Nusa Dua?
Rifky Effendy: The location of Art.Bali in Nusa Dua is due to the IMF meeting last year. The organisation (Heri Pemad, Art Management) was asked by Bekraf (creative agency of Republic Indonesia) to have Art.Bali in the Nusa Dua area. Also, the infrastructure’s surrounding area is quiet good: accessible from airport, parking lots, hotels , café, etc.
Ignatia Nilu: There is no particular political reason, why it’s in Nusa Dua. Only the fact that, we had a dream to find a space which is experimental yet neutral. So every artist we invite has the freedom to present their work on a “white page”. We also needed to consider many access points, like place with possibility of container access, helicopter, port, and find a convenient place to park a private vehicle. Its basically all due to technical issue.
Share with us the process in curating ‘Speculative Memories’ with 32 Artists involved.
Rifky Effendy: All works by artists could be appropriated with curatorial theme. First, the curators discussed the theme and researched each body of work created by each artist. Curators invited selected artist and gave them a brief of theme. Some artists gave new proposal of works and some, curators selected from previous works. Even though most of all artists send new works.
Ignatia Nilu: The curation process was about 8 months We were lucky that we were able to start to work with concrete triggers; like a space we already knew. We knew the limitations, but what we always have to build is, a creation of new possibilities.
So we (Me, Rifky & Heri) had a long discussion of what would be new for the second edition of Art.Bali. What will be good to present to public this year (2019). And what kind of works we have to present. Who will be the artist in our invitation list. And how do we design the look of the exhibition. We also had to collaborate with an architect to develop the exhibition design – his name is Zulfian Amrullah. We also had to discuss about possible issues and the topic related to the global political situation and global art and how it’s related to art practise in Indonesia — and create a context out of it.
So, the curation has quite a big aspect to work on. It’s an intensive process too, with each artist. We need to build a strong connection, discussion, and have a collaboration with artist ideas and works.
What could future collaborations with the Fashion Council Western Australia (FCWA) and Art.Bali entail?
Ignatia Nilu: We are still discussing this part.
Were all the artists allowed complete freedom of expression in creating their artwork or were their limitations and/or approval needed for pieces of work before being included in the exhibition?
Rifky Effendy: All the projects featured in Art.Bali are considered the base for the work/ideas of all the artist and collaborations with curators for presentation, with the space being the only limitation.
Ignatia Nilu: Generally speaking, all the artist had complete freedom to showcase their ideas. The framework is the theme; How does the work relate and integrate with the topic? That is the only limitation.
What do think the next 5 years of Contemporary Art in Bali has to offer?
Rifky Effendy: Art.Bali has been actively trying to make Bali the new scene for the contemporary art market, not only in Indonesia but also in international scene.
Ignatia Nilu: It has to be stronger and more active. I hope there are more and more art space that are passionate enough to create a program and platform, and I hope it makes Bali the new centre for global art in the south.
If you could pick 3 pieces of work in the exhibition to be part of your art collection, what would they be and why?
– Arahmaiani’s work “ Flag Project” related to the activity of the artist as part of enhancing tolerance in the global society.
– Takashi Kuribayashi’s work, related to deadly social (Catastrophic) problems.
– Ashley Bickerton pieces that are related to climate change
Do you feel like ‘J Ariadhitya Pramuhendra The Death of the Light’ would spark a controversial conversation in terms of Blasphemy and/or what would your piece of the conversation be on this particular piece of work?
Rifky Effendy: His works can be described or are a representation of the symptoms of the catholic community as minority in Indonesia. However, Kemalezedine piece will be good to depart of Islamic society problem
Ignatia Nilu: The idea of the work is the juxtaposition of modernism and religion iconoclasm. What he presents visually is easily associated with religion or christianity. But he has a different idea on how to deconstruct how people are trapped in symbolism or iconoclasm. And in this time, where information is very open and accessible; there is also a big challenge on how people are still eager to look more beyond the surface, screen and image. This is very much the point he is making through his work. In fact, the work is strongly related to the topic, moreover: the radicalism happening in our country and also some other countries in the mid-east and many more, trigger how the particular generation never look and learn the genesis or history as the embodiment of culture. I think we need to do something to make people react to it.
What can art-lovers expect from you guys as curators and from Art.Bali in 2020, have you started planning for future exhibitions?
Rifky Effendy: The third edition in 2020. The theme will be derived from the current exhibition, we have started to discussions on it.
Ignatia Nilu: Playful and mind-blowing quality of show (hopefully!) *laughs*
Pick 5 words that perfectly encompass the ‘Speculative Memories’ exhibition
Rifky Effendy: Religion, Arbitrary, Intolerance, Technology and Modern Chaos.
Ignatia Nilu: Explore, Experiment, Collective, Memories and “Historically critical”
Catch the articulately curated exhibition – you’ve got time, it’s ongoing for 3 months. If you don’t live in the south, you can trust us when we say it’s worth the trip to see the pieces of work in person!