Exploring the world of contemporary modern art in Jakarta

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Enthusiasm of visitors who attended the MACAN Museum are very positive in supporting the work of artists in or outside the country who displayed their art in the Museum MACAN. (photo: IO/Aldo)

IO, Jakarta – In the year 2017, art enthusiasts and art lovers in Indo­nesia no longer need to travel abroad to quench their thirst for modern and contemporary art, as now the Museum of Modern and Contem­porary Art in Nusantara (‘MACAN’, also meaning ‘tiger’ in Indonesian) has opened in Kebon Jeruk, West Jakarta. The establishment of a Mu­seum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara (‘MACAN’ in short) is an initiative of the MACAN Muse­um Foundation, which has a collec­tion and mounts regular exhibitions with the objective of becoming a rec­ognized center of public activity with roots in the world of education.

This museum is the first institu­tion to provide public access to a col­lection of modern and contemporary Indonesian and International art – not only classical artwork from years past, but also art that continues to evolve. The Macan Museum has an ongoing program of exhibitions and art activities held in a 4,000 square meter facility, including education­al and conservation areas, with a commitment to make art accessible to a wider public, and championing education as the core of the MACAN Museum programs.

Under a theme of ‘Art Changed. World Changed’, visitors can explore collections at Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art from across the Indonesian archipelago (‘Nusan­tara’). Museum Macan also stands as a showcase for 90 works of art that is a permanent part of the 800 piece collection. Using Indonesia as a foundational base, art works inspire a dialogue involving artists from different parts of the world.

Through the efforts of two cura­tors, Agung Hujatnika and Charles Esche, the exhibitions aim to trace the modern history of Indonesia, extending from the late colonial pe­riod to independence, and reform, all the way until an era of full de­mocracy. The focus of attention is the aesthetic changes triggered by migrations, technology, econom­ic, social and political change. ‘Art Changed. The Changing World.’ presents a historical narrative that addresses the interconnection be­tween Indonesia and the rest of the world, offering a view of Indonesia in the context of a global art history.

‘This exhibition is the “first pub­lic exhibition” of the MACAN Mu­seum collection. The works on dis­play have been collected for over 25 years, and will have a new meaning, not only for audiences that come to gaze upon the artwork directly, but also as an important identity factor that helps to describe Indonesia’s cultural and social history’ explained Director Aaron Seeto.

Exploring the MACAN Museum collection, visitors can study a se­lection of works that tell the story of modern and contemporary Indone­sian and International art. Various artworks feature cover artists from the 19th Century to the present, originating from Asia, Europe and North America. In this exhibition, Indonesian history is used as a role model for the selection of works. The selection summarizes international events affecting Indonesia, as well as various social, economic and cultur­al dialogues that have grown up in the last two centuries, and exert a profound impact on the landscape of art and life of Indonesians.

These works present an idea of how changes affect the way the artist ex­presses himself or herself, influencing people’s world-views. One can see how Indonesian artists working through­out the 1950s and 1960s continued to build an artistic identity, particular­ly if observed as a straight line drawn between events occurring in Indone­sia linked to the Cold War struggle be­tween two superpowers.

However, in the background, the Indonesian government played an important role in sponsoring the ‘Non-Aligned Movement’. As a re­sult, artistic influences and trends of both parties in the Cold War were present in Indonesia and are repre­sented in this section by both Indo­nesian and International artists.

In addition to the wide range of artworks displayed, the MACAN Mu­seum has also opened a Children’s Art Space, whose inauguration is filled with the outstanding work of renowned Indonesian artist Entang Wiharso. Realizing the importance of education in the arts, the Founda­tion also accesses many opportuni­ties for the art community in Indo­nesia to grow.

The MACAN Museum is open to the public from 10:00 am to 7 pm from Tuesday to Sunday. It is closed on Mondays and national holidays. Visitors can purchase entry passes online for an admis­sion price of Rp 50,000, at www. museummacan.org. (Aldo)