IO, Jakarta – Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara (Museum MACAN)’s latest exhibition is titled “Matter and Place”. The six large-scale works are created by local and international artists who focus on exploring the relationship between humans and space. In this exhibition, visitors are invited to further observe the human identity that has been formed by residential spaces which also intersect with nature, politics, social norms, culture, and architecture. “Matter and Place” requires observing our senses to investigate the relationship between matter and place that helps define our understanding of identity.
The exhibition featured works by well-known Indonesian architects Andra Matin and contemporary artist (based in Malaysia) Shooshie Sulaiman, as well as a private collection of museums from famous artists such as Danh Vō, FX Harsono, Genevieve Chua, and Theaster Gates. From special installations to contemporary works, presenting various media and approaches shows intention of how ideas around both physical and psychosocial, from certain locations to geographical regions can shape human identity. The striking installation of Andra Matin with the theme “Elevation” was awarded a special award at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale 2018 in Venice. This installation explores the gradient between diversity, height in Indonesian architecture that reflects the way people interact with their nature and culture by combining modern materials with traditional components. Lim Masulin in collaboration with Matin has worked on installation facades with intricate rattan webbing inspired by Indonesian textile patterns.
Visitors who were present were welcomed by finding nine different traditional Indonesian houses, including Joglo Houses from Java and Honai from Papua via spiral staircases made of Jabon wood where home-scale models are made like real houses. Elsewhere, Malaysian artists Shooshie Sulaiman also presented their work with the theme ‘Tadika Getah’ (Rubber Kindergarten) installation inspired by his childhood and its relationship with rubber plantations which told a broader narrative about how the rubber industry built the Malaysian economy despite having negative impact on the environment. Artists’ interest in rubber latex as an artistic ingredient strengthens intrinsic cultural values and the economic and political context shared by most of Southeast Asia’s history.
A Transgressive Wyoming (2017) by American artist Theaster Gates features a large bronze statue in the form of a map of the United States, whose surface is painted with tar paint, Gates’s work is a manifestation of architecture vernacular suburban in the American black community that mostly works as laborers. The 165° W Danh Vō made in 2011 is part of an ongoing series of artists who present cardboard boxes that he found from his birthplace in Vietnam. Painted in gold, Vō called it colonization, migration, eviction, and identity. The contemporary painting of Indonesian artist FX Harsono, Wipe Out # 1, is an illustrative illustration of the abolition of China-Indonesia connections during President Soeharto’s authoritarian regime.
In addition to the Matter and Place Exhibition, the MACAN Museum also held a solo exhibition by Indonesian artist Jihan Sukmantoro with the theme “Days in Cicadas (Days in Cicadas)” which featured 30 portrait paintings by artist Jeihan Sukmantoro filling the showroom on the 6th floor. the thing that might make this exhibition so interesting is: an approach through the personal context of the artist himself. Jeihan ‘recounts’ how she passed her days during her stay at Cicadas in 1963-1981. About her proximity to her neighbors until finally she ‘took a picture’ into a series of paintings. The exhibition is also a re-representation of the atmosphere of the densely populated area in the east of Bandung, which is also the location of prostitution in its distinctive expressionist-painting medium. In addition, one thing that is also often of special concern is the way Jeihan colors the eyes in each portrait. According to her, black eyes can be interpreted as ‘vision’ in an uncertain future. On the other hand, Jeihan also believes that humans will not be able to predict the future, in accordance with the mystical beliefs of the Javanese people. The exhibition “Days in Cicadas (Days in Cicadas)” lasts until May 26, for “Matter and Place” displayed until July 21. (Aldo)