Monday, June 17, 2024 | 06:47 WIB

Preserving the Aesthetics of Lithography and History of European Research on Indonesian Archipelago


Jakarta, IO – When we hear the word ‘note’, we usually think about writing. Meanwhile, lithographic art tends to only serve as an illustration, a complement to historical data. There may be some truth to that, because most people only interpret lithography as graphics that are pleasing to the eye.

Thus, the Dia.lo.gue art space seeks to introduce the lithographic works about Indonesia that are hundreds of years old, spanning the period of 1570-1903. In addition to the beautiful graphics in the collection of books and prints, it also retells the journey of research conducted by Europeans at that time about the Indonesian archipelago.

“We want to display other than just the works of art. Behind these collections, there are a lot of processes whose historical value people don’t know,” Ignatius Hermawan Tanzil, the founder of Dia.lo.gue, told the Independent Observer, Thursday (27/7).

lithographic works
(IO/Aini Tartinia)

For example, Hermawan told a story about one of the lithographic works in the book “Lexicon Indonesian Artist”, in which a Dutch researcher revealed that in the period 1600-1950, there were 3,000 foreign artists from outside Indonesia who produced works about Indonesia.

“This is a testament to the wealth and natural beauty as well as cultural diversity of this land that has invited so many writers, artists, researchers and scientists from all over the world to come and work,” he said.

Another example of a book that also contains interesting lithographic works about life in the archipelago is “The Malay Archipelago” (1869) by Alfred Russel Wallace, a classic work on flora and fauna in the Indonesian archipelago. The findings in this book are the fruits of an eight-year expedition from 1854-1862.

lithographic works
(IO/Aini Tartinia)

Hermawan’s favorite lithography is found in the book “The Landscape of Java’s Album” by Junghuhn. He is a naturalist and researcher of the island of Java from the perspective of geography, geology and volcanology who was born in Germany.

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“The result of his work is a series of pictures of mountains on the island of Java which are very exotic and unique,” said Hermawan.

Taking place from July 27 to August 3, the art space in the Kemang, South Jakarta, will showcase a number of collections from archive collectors of books and prints in the pre-independence era. Hermawan revealed, the total items are 42 books and 107 prints.

“Most of them are from the Netherlands, France, England, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium,” he said. (Aini Tartinia)


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