Platform3 at Art Futures booth no 3 G 10
Platform3 will be presented a Project by Radi ARWINDA in Art Future Section
Installation of MUJA
This Project Supported by Canna Gallery – Jakarta
Radi Arwinda’s Shrine of Devotion
PLATFORM3 is proud to present MUJA: Shrine of Devotion, a recent installation project by young Bandung-based artist Radi Arwinda for the ART HK 2011. This special presentation came out as the artist’s long exploration derived from his understanding of the complex realm of local tradition and contemporary culture—more specifically, people’s living customs and rituals related to specific beliefs.
Radi’s personal background sets as an important context in his artistic practice. Born and raised in a family with a strong tie to his ancestor’s tradition of Cirebon, and continuously lived in a modern, cosmopolitan city like Bandung, Radi has a distinctive way of seeing things. For instance, he sees ‘culture’ as something not strictly distinguished by conventional sense of space and time, neither separated by categories such as ‘the origin’ and ‘the foreign’. Rather, it is always a mixture or synthesis of people’s ways of life rooted in different timeframe and places.
Radi’s syncretic perspective cannot be separated from the influence of the Cirebonese culture inherited from his parents. Cirebon is a coastal city in Java, located in the border of West and Central Java provinces, which used to be the capital of Cirebon Islamic sultanate in 16th century Indonesia. Throughout the history, Cirebon has developed as region with unique characteristics. It was one of the most active basis for ancient trade routes and inter-island shipping in the archipelago. For centuries, its harbor served as a doorway for the traders, and made the city a melting-pot of different native cultures and civilizations, mainly from the Middle-East, China and India.
The role of coastal lifestyle of the people was central in creating openness, as well cultural syncretism and hybridity, which eventually characterizes the Cirebonese culture and tradition up until now. Many traditional artifacts and performing arts from Cirebon, such as the Tarling music, mask dance, batik textiles and wayang puppet, strongly indicate such amalgams. Even though the city was an important center of Islamic teaching in Java at least until late 19th century, the mixture between Chinese, Indian and local animistic cultures can also be seen in the visual characteristics of symbols, ornament of the decorations.
Since he was a child, Radi has been familiar with visual artifacts, texts and music of Cirebon. Not by coincidence, his father, Haryadi Suadi, a senior Indonesian artist, is a serious collector of Cirebonese wayang puppets, old vinyls, masks, books and manuscripts, batik textiles and traditional glass paintings. Although Radi is not always attracted by the philosophical values, he feels visually and emotionally connected with his father’s collections.
On the other hand, Radi’s cultural references has also been predominantly shaped by other influence outside his family, namely Japanese pop culture. As a boy born in the 1980s, he spends most part of his life reading manga and watching anime. In Indonesian history, 1980s was the era when ‘Japanese invasion’ succeeded to become the dominant cultural reference for Indonesian kids and youths. Happened in line with the economic bubble in Japan, the anime and manga invasion in Indonesia in the 1980s also marked the golden era of bilateral economic ties between the two countries.
Having spent, most of his childhood and adolescence with Cirebonese and Japanese cultures, Radi discovered another interesting reference when he attended art school. He sees Murakami’s concept of Superflat painting has fascinated him in various aspects. Indeed, the lack of depth in Murakami’s concept of Superflat can actually be found in many decorative pattern of Asian cultural artifacts, including that of Cirebonese glass painting and wayang.
For the last five years, Radi has developed series of works based on diverse visual references. The fact that both visual and conceptual framework of Murakami’s Superflat has also derived from Japanese anime and manga has made him more convinced to challenge the concept of ‘origin’. In Radi’s paintings and installations, we can see how he absorbs and fuses all the visual influences, including that of his father and Cirebonese ancestors, Japanese popular culture and the Superflat. However, it does mean that he does that without criticality. He intentionally blends and interweaves all the influences as an irony of his own identity as an artist.
This project’s main title, MUJA, taken from a Cirebonese word (literally means: ‘to worship’), refers to a spiritual or religious activity which is practiced and rooted strongly in different civilizations. The installation is mainly constructed of five wooden objects resembling altars for offering dedicated to the five supernatural creatures that the artist created in his previous project SUGIH (literally means ‘rich’). Radi adopts a form of a shrine to give emphasis on the belief system. For the ART HK 11 opening, the installation will be accompanied by a performance or ritual of ‘worshipping’.
Both SUGIH and MUJA projects are inspired by the practice of black magic called ‘pesugihan’ which is still common in the life of contemporary Javanese people. It used to be an ancient animistic ritual of selling one’s soul to the devil or dark forces in order to get wealth. It is believed that the worshipper who commit this ritual will be able to transform him/herself into animal-like creatures, such as wild boar, horse, monkey, crocodile or snake to hunt for human sacrifice. In return, he/she will get instant wealth, money, luck and fortune granted by the devil.
Radi has long been interested in the dark myth in Javanese culture, particularly in the ritual that traverses the boundaries between the real and the imaginary. From such a myth, he creates five characters that refer to the supernatural creatures: Babi Ngepet (human wild boar), Jaran Panoleh (a horse whose head is invariably turned backward), Nyupang Kethek (a kind of monkey), Bajul Putih (a white crocodile), and Ngipri Ular (a creature that resembles a snake). He enjoys the process of creating them as much as he enjoys imagining wayang puppet, manga or anime superhero characters, which are often depicted as mutants, or human with superpower.
Radi’s great interest in the world of black magic does not connote an effort to adopt the form of ancient local tradition. In fact, such ritual still survives in the present day. There are ample evidences to show that this ritual is still practiced by many people. In Indonesia, you can find many advertisement of black magic ritual or fetishes, even in many Indonesian-languages website, which treat the ritual as commodities. Nowadays, black magic has passed through a process of transformation, as well as sophistication, to the extent that it does not connote fearsome aura.
The presence of MUJA in ART HK 11 creates an interesting encounter. It is the intention of this project to juxtapose this particular practice of traditional worship, which deals with an old ritual for ‘the love of money’, with a contemporary art fair, which is a sophisticated form of presentation of art as a commodity. In an art fair, artworks can imaginably transform into fetishes, which retain certain aura of wealth. Since going to an art fair has also become ‘a ritual’ for the art world and loyal art-goers, an art fair is like a shrine for contemporary urbanites. We are all impressed by the myths about the greatness of art works the glamor of art world’s market, where art history books or auction catalogues are like the bible. And in that particular sense, have not we all become obedient worshippers of art?
Photos Of ArtHK11
Radi Arwinda, Bandung / July,24 1983
Art Stage Singapore
SUGIH, Sigiarts – Jakarta
Solo exibition APET Canna Gallery Jakarta.
Selected Group Exibition:
Shoping Nadi Gallery JAD, Jakarta
Bazaar Art Ritz carlton, Pasific Place, Jakarta
Soccer Fever Canna Gallery, Jakarta
ART JOG 10 Taman Budaya Yogyakarta, Yogyakarta
15x15x15 Soemardja Gallery, Bandung
Unsegmented Kita Gallery, Bandung
Halimun Lawangwangi, Bandung
BMW Art Car ”Joy of
Expression” Bazaar Art Fair
Ritz carlton, Pasific Place, Jakarta
Regression, Reach Art Project, Plaza Indonesia,
RESTART : RECOLECTION, D galerie, Jakarta.
Solo exibition APET Canna Gallery Jakarta.
Bandung Art Now, National Art Gallery, Jakarta
Deer Andry S14, Bandung.
10tahun Selasar Soenaryo ”A Decade of Dedication”, Selasar Seni Soenaryo, Bandung.
Ini Baru Ini, Vivi Yip art Room, Jakarta.
Manifesto, National Art Gallery, Jakarta.
Aksara Sunda, Kita Gallery, Bandung
Survei, Edwins Gallery, Jakarta.
Linescape, Space 59, Bandung.
Bandung Invasion, Canna Gallery, Jakarta.
4500cm3 Soemardja Mini Space, Bandung.
Capo Exibition, Common Room, Bandung.
On Apropriation Semarang Gallery, Semarang.
Kompetisi Seni Lukis Jawa Barat 2007 Kita Gallery, Bandung.
Man + Space, Dahara Gallery, Semarang.
Roman Bandung, Kita Gallery, Bandung.
Soft Opening Buton Kultur 21, Buton Kultur 21 alternative space, Bandung.
Bandung New Emergence, Selasar Soenaryo Art Space, Bandung.
Artivity Society In Town 2006, Hidayat Gallery, Bandung.
Milangkala ka-15 Taman Budaya, Rumah Teh Gallery, Bandung.
Kompetisi Seni Lukis Jawa Barat 2006, Indonesia Menggugat (Lanraad) building, Bandung.
The Gates : Pre Discourse, Semar Gallery, Malang.
Petisi bandung, Langgeng Gallery, Magelang.
Aku Bermain Maka Aku Ada, Nasional Gallery, Jakarta.
Steal Live, Soemardja Gallery, Bandung.
Lukisan Baru, Kita Gallery, Bandung.
(2007) 5 best work on Jawa Barat Painting Competition 2007
(2006) 5 best work on Jawa Barat Painting Competition 2006