Understanding the shadows of monsters in a work of art

7
Let there be light, angels has a dark atmosphere and is filled with paintings and small decorative candles, lighting up every corner of the room and arranged in the same manner as in a church altar. (photo: IO/Aldo)

IO, Jakarta – J. Ariadhitya Pramuhendra has held another one of his art exhibitions in Jakarta. This time he has given it the theme The Monster Chapter II: Momentum. The exhibition is being held in the A, B building and outdoor space of the Indonesia National Gallery until April 7. Pramuhendra’s art in the exhibition relates to his experience during his younger formulative years and the history of Christian civilization which is reflected in the expression of Western art. The exhibition, titled The Monster, features paintings mostly created using charcoal which invites observers to relive the image of monsters from the imagination of a child rather than an adult. As an artist, Pramuhendra’s imagination and creative ideas are inseparable from his faith and life experience during his youth.

“Monsters are often thought of as scary creatures, however, for me, that term has a deep meaning, as a memory that haunts and a power and greatness larger than myself,” explained Pramuhendra.

This exhibition is also the artist’s attempt at supporting the important role of humans in winning the current war which is a mental battle, where ideas can positively affect every attitude and action. The exhibition is part of The Monster trilogy, following Pramuhendra’s first exhibition in the series The Monster Chapter I: Memory held in 2018.

“The J. Ariadhitya Pramuhendra solo exhibition is different from most art exhibitions because it shows the importance of exploring the exhibition’s area and material, in this case the Indonesia National Gallery. This shows that an artist can go wild in exploring the art field to translate visually into works that are explorative, not confined to the spatial dimension, and have unlimited creativity,” added Head of the Indonesian National Gallery Pustanto.

The works presented in this exhibition are reminiscent of Renaissance era (around the 15th and 16th centuries) to the cultural era which was referred to as the Enlightenment (around the 17th and 18th centuries). Visitors can recognize ordinary works found in houses of worship to individual paintings.

“Pamuhendra’s solo exhibition is not just about narration and explanation, but more about how we carry our acceptance directly and personally. It is about black and white, or dark and light, just mediums for us to greet the movement and change occurring in our own universes,’ explained Rizki A. Zelani, the exhibition’s curator.

Pramuhendra grew up in a Catholic family and values religious attitudes and moral views in achieving his life’s meaning and journey. His father was a physics teacher who also drew, most prolifically holy figures in Catholicism. The first and second exhibition contain ideas of Pramuhendra’s closeness to religious themes. The images chosen by Pramuhendra relate to the history of Protestant and Catholic civilizations. Pramuhendra is also collaborating with ArtDept ID to make exclusive souvenirs. The Monster themed souvenirs can be bought at the Indonesia National Gallery Artshop during the exhibition.

In the exhibition, visitors are invited to enter a room lit with handheld candles. The second room, named Let There be Light, Angels is dark and filled with small handles in every corner arranged as would be in a church altar. The room is also decorated with large paintings. The next room, The Monster Chapter II: Momentum has a dark pool with white light at its edge. The pond is a creation of Pramuhendra named Dark Water Spells. Silence, solitude, and hope rages into one. It asserts that in the midst of loneliness and hardship, there is a helping hand from God.

“We can understand this project of Pramuhendra’s momentum as a commitment to defend the important role of humans in winning the war today. This war is a struggle that takes place mentally and in mind,” concluded Rizki. (Aldo)