‘I, Too, Am Untranslatable’: A work of art about arrogant rejection, displayed at Ruci Art Space

The art exhibition entitled ‘I too am untranslatable’ is a reflection on the rejection of an employer’s arrogant attitude to speak on behalf of others. (photo: IO/Aldo)

IO, Jakarta – Daily life in the City can be dry and exhausting. However, Jakarta has many ways for you to refresh yourself.  Art lovers in Jakarta are spoiled by the large number of art galleries available, showing work of both local and foreign artists. Art spaces in Jakarta display everything, from paintings, sculptures, photos and installation arts.

Located on Jalan Suryo, South Jakarta, Ruci Art Space first held an exhibition in October 2014. Making use of a former restaurant, Ruci Art Space is 450 m2in area, with a main exhibition hall, as well as an installation hall for artists to display their videos or photos. Ruci Art Space frequently collaborates with local and foreign artists when holding exhibitions: its raison d’être as an art space is to support artists in displaying their works, especially those still studying in college.

From 17 February to early March, Ruci Art Space is holding an art exhibition entitled ‘I, Too, Am Untranslatable’. For this event, the curator uses the theme to pique artists, to make them think and prevent themselves from falling into solipsism and self-marginalizing, because nobody can live alone. ‘I, Too, Am Untranslatable’ is a reflection of rejection of the arrogance of a ‘superior’ who claims to speak ‘on behalf of’ their ‘inferiors’. ‘I, Too, Am Untranslatable’ also reflects a defiance against those who attempt to silence our voices.

This exhibition allows space for many voices. It is open to the creation of works from and about marginal sites. It is a means to look within from outside and to look outside from within. It is an unceasing practice for changing perspective. What these artists do in this exhibition can lead to stronger and louder statements about the body, about representations of the body, and our daily experience of the body.

Participating artists include Theresia Agustina Sitompul, Kelvin Atmadibrata, Jabbar Muhammad, and Deden Durahman. Bringing their individual artistic strategies and sensibilities to this exhibition, each of them underlines different accents based on their variegated concepts and daily experience. When placed together in one space, the four series of works form bio-topical ranges that form a dialog and confront one another, stitched together with permutations and subtle plays of punctuations that pique the senses.

Jogjakarta-based artist Theresia Agustina Sitompul struggles with personal memories, gender identities, and bodily taboos. Her works are a historical interpretation from a very intimate perspective meant to re-read our mundane lives. Our daily space and time are genderized space and time, which means that the same space might demand different things at different times, and sometimes the demand of several activities must be satisfied at the same time in the same space (even when the distribution of time and space is genderized).

For the ‘I, Too, Am Untranslatable’ exhibition at Ruci Art Space, Jakarta, Tere shows off two series: ‘Decrease-Increase’ and ‘Moments’. ‘Decrease-Increase’ uses a DIY carbon tracing print technique, most frequently used by secretaries and tailors. In the terminology of the printing medium, the print is the only original left, meaning that there is no other copy extant for the work. In these original works, Tere copies the clothes that serve as the outermost skin of our personal selves. Other than carbon tracing, the three panels of the work were made using a raised printing technique.

‘Moments’ was created using steel and silicone. Even though it has various other functions, silicone is most famous for use as implants in breast implants a.k.a. ‘boob jobs’. Tere uses this material not in a cosmetic context, which emphasizes the aesthetics of the size, shape, and texture of attractive breasts. Tere rather creates ‘Moments’ to represent all the changes a woman faces in her life: puberty, marriage, pregnancy, child-bearing, until menopause, as visibly shown by her body, in this case her breasts.

These two works are samples of the many marks of changes in social codes regulating women’s bodies in relation to space and time.

(Muhammad Akbar)