Pameran Besar Patung Kontemporer Indonesia: Ekspansi
Expansion: Thirteen Years after That Triennial
Now, it is as though that boundary has disappeared. However, not every three-dimensional piece can always be called sculpture. And we witness how the dominant group decides the path of our development.
The 2nd Jakarta Triennial, an Exhibition of Contemporary Sculptures, was held in 1998 at Taman Ismail Marzuki, featuring 39 works from 32 sculptors, selected from a total of 55 sculptors from various regions. A variety of works were exhibited, and some of them were created utilizing new media and materials. This exhibition was vastly different from the first Triennial (1986) that exhibited conventional sculptural forms only. Due to economic and management issues faced by the Jakarta Art Council (DKJ)–the organizer, what was supposed to be a three-yearly exhibition stretched into 12 years. Most of the participants of the first and second Triennials had formal education backgrounds, making sculpture their daily trade. Or, borrowing the term coined by contemporary art observer Rosalind Krauss, these artists followed “the logic of sculpture”. As such, the sculptures being exhibited at the 2nd Triennial were exclusive pieces with their own way of life and logic. Thus, only sculptures that met these criteria were selected for this Triennial exhibition.
The exclusivity of sculpture art as represented in the 2nd Triennial was in reference to a “high art” point of view that believed in a certain hierarchy, codified by art academies/institutes. As such, the 2nd Triennial excluded three-dimensional works that did not sufficiently demonstrate a strong sculpture background which was popular at that time. This decision caused tension and left many questions in people’s minds. Artists who were excluded began to publicize their criticisms through national mass media outlets. Unfortunately, their criticisms were insufficiently founded. Since the very beginning, it was emphasized that the triennial exhibition was aimed at examining the three-yearly development of sculpture art, and not art in general, even though the latter might assume a three-dimensional form. Like all other art disciplines, sculpture art retains its own set of convention and logic, in relation to history, techniques, rules/principles, etc. The curatorial piece for the 2nd Triennial was based on paradigmatic art, and it was not a mistake. Instead, it was the inclusivity of three-dimensional art, which developed out of sculpture traditions, that had forced itself and had mistakenly gone against sculpture art’s exclusivity.
However, even after thirteen years since the 2nd Triennial, this criticism is still quite disturbing, especially since there is a certain fluidity to people’s understanding of sculpture art. In the current reality, inclusivity in three-dimensional works has become more prominent, like an unstoppable tsunami assaulting any type of establishments around it. Inclusivity has established itself upon the “anything goes” creed, a contemporary art discourse, although it doesn’t imply the kind of contemporary sculpture art as intended by the 2nd Triennial’s board of curators. The expansion of one thing into another area, and vice versa, between painting, sculpture, and even quite possibly architecture, is not a new problem. Even the term “perupa” (transl. visual artist), instead of “pelukis” (painter) or “pematung” (sculptor)–introduced by critic Sanento Yuliman around 1980s–was coined to distinguish the subject standing inside this gray area.
Back in the 1970s, the foreshadowing of “anything goes” creed in the art world could already be seen. It was the time of the sporadic introduction of many inscrutable art works, that slowly became comprehensible following the emergence of the New Art Movement (GSRB) in 1975–a movement that finally ended in 1989. They offered not only paintings or sculptures, but also various three-dimensional objects, found objects, etc., aiming for something concrete, something that could be found in daily life. This movement was determined to abolish the distance between work and life. As told by one of the exponents of 1980s contemporary visual artists, Arahmaiani: “I wish to expand canvas, into life itself”.
Within GSRB, there were various elements contributing to the fiery magma that would one day (spectacularly) erupt. The movement consisted of young people who felt stifled by the authority of older generations that came across as too dominating and too one-sided in their determination of aesthetic values. The old ones were docents and academic lecturers, the younger ones were art students. This movement attempted to free art from, amongst others, the shackles of universalism and to open as wide a way for pluralism in the realities of life within society. They also questioned the ongoing efforts to determine national identity in art works. Some works were quite incomprehensible, demonstrating usage of what we now know as new media, installation, and objects, seen as experimentalism. Then, only after GSRB’s third exhibition, Pasaraya Dunia Fantasi (lit. Fantasy World Mall, 1987, the title of this exhibition combined the names of a newly built mal/department store “Pasaraya” and amusement park “Dunia Fantasi”), and their fourth exhibition The Silent World (1989), could we finally read the blind map of new media as art.
Pasaraya Dunia Fantasi, Proyek I, emphasized the cooperation of various disciplines in establishing an art project. They also disregarded paradigmatic art that believed in specialization and individualization. Painting and its “cousins” did not appear in that exhibition. What actually appeared was an inter-disciplinary cooperation to achieve a shared vision, group work, design work, planning, etc. This exhibition presented a simulation of a store, offering an aspect of parody within it. There were various elements exhibited here: graphics, architecture, sculpture, ambiance, etc. At that time, the modern market era was marked by an increasingly popular self-service attitude; with offers of various products and adverts penetrating into public spaces, print media, and TV (broadcast) media. It heralded a new visual culture and a new experience of perceiving a large number of images at the same time. This was the first time an installation work was created as a group effort; and a well-organized effort as well.
In the world of sculptures, installation isn’t anything too special, being it serves as an extension of concrete workspaces. Sculptural installations are more capable of demonstrating how the sculptor’s idea might relate to contemporary discourse. The sculptural installation presented in The Silent World exhibition, as the final piece created by the GSRB movement, portrayed a critical life-and-death condition of AIDS sufferers in a hospital installation. This deadly virus induced much horror in various parts of the world around the 1980s. As before, this particular work demonstrated the aptitude in developing interior spaces, in sculpture and graphics. Even though it was ultimately a group work, the creation of the sculptural centerpiece of whole installation work was handled singularly by sculptor Nyoman Nuarta.
A new era of experimental art whose foundations were laid by GSRB began with the 9th Jakarta Biennial of 1993/4, the Exhibition of Contemporary Art, an event that began as a Painting Biennial since the 1970s. In the 9th Biennial, the curator greatly expanded the exhibition contents by including various aspects found in art, identified as post-modern art, to include: painting, sculpture, ceramic, installation, objects, video art, and performance art, thereby negating the specialist boundaries of art. Painting, in its archaic understanding, was usurped from its prime place in its own Biennial “residence”.
Furthermore, in this exhibition, Semsar Siahaan, a sculptor–who latter dabbled as a painter–exhibited a sculptural installation that perfectly communicated and marked this Biennial. In “Penggalian Kembali” (lit. “Re-excavation” or “Re-exhumation” he played with various elements of space and visual effects. This Bandung Institute of Technology sculpture graduate took over a decrepit and badly leaking building of what used to be a gallery that was about to be demolished. In it, he dug a hole almost 2 meters deep. Then, he created clay sculptures out of the earth he managed to dig up, and he laid them in parallel inside the watery hole, resembling a freshly re-opened grave of war casualties or victims of other unfortunate situations. Semsar used rainwater that fell through the ex-gallery’s broken roof that day, at the end of December 1993. It created a dramatic situation, compounded by an unpleasant smell wafting from the gas lamp lighting the space. The gallery floor with its dug up holes was left ravaged, waterlogged, and dirty. Visitors of the exhibition seemed to enter a true reality. On the dirty walls of this building, he drew charcoal pictures and words communicating criticisms and allegories aimed at the political leaders of that time, an overlapping text.
Dematerialization is probably a suitable term to describe this sort of sculptural installation, an exploration or a certain expansion within the world of sculpture art. In this way, a monumental aspect is not immediately communicated through rigid and massive hierarchical materials, but through what is found in nature or the surrounding environment within the sculptor’s reach. A hoe and a mound of dug-up clay. Monumentality is transformed into an energy presented in an event that will soon pass. Only the idea and imagination that have presented in this event will last forever, while the materials will fade away back to its source. It was also Semsar, while still a student at ITB, who declared an event-oriented sculpture art. He burned the sculpture, “Citra Irian Dalam Torso” (trans. “The Image of Irian in a Torso”) by Sunaryo, his own lecturer, then placed the burned remains onto a sliver of banana leaf. He renamed the title into “Oleh-Oleh Dari Desa II” (trans. “Souvenir from the Village II”). Another experiment arrived in the form of Semsar immersing himself in a pool of mud and then, rising from within the mud; he called this work as “patung hidup” (living sculpture).
As though propelled by wind from all corners, most recently, the indicators and new sensibilities have gained momentum, filling up many exhibition spaces, not just in galleries or malls, but also open spaces. Art Biennials and Triennials no longer place a higher value on paintings. Instead, they pay more attention to events, with sounds, gestures, the masses, as well as video recordings and photography, with open spaces. In 1996, for instance, Australia-based painter Dadang Christanto showed a sculptural installation, “1001 Manusia Tanah” (lit. “1001 Earthen People”), along a 500-meter stretch by the seaside of Pantai Marina Ancol, Jakarta. This was an interesting spectacle, not just because of its political theme, but because of its scope, claiming a large public space. The sculptures, either looking perplexed or bewildered or distorted, were placed in such a way to face inland, where visitors of this theme park could look at them with laughter or even bitterness. Socio-political themes have always been a unique content in Dadang Christanto’s works either installation or performance art works, exhibited both here and abroad. A similar trait has also become one of contemporary art’s defining characteristics anywhere in the world.
The practice of Indonesian modern sculpture began with the painters. They liberated sculpture from the ritual necessities burgeoning various traditional sculptures. Modern sculptures are marked by their connection to an anthropocentric outlook: human as the center of reality. Individualism is inevitability. Affandi created a self-portrait sculpture using clay, a humble material. He widely developed this theme in his oil-on-canvas paintings. Hendra Gunawan pioneered the chiseling/carving technique–particularly with stone as a medium, together with his pupils/apprentices at the Sanggar Pelukis Rakyat (People’s Painters Studio), Yogyakarta. They learned their (basic) stone-carving technique from the kijing (headstone) makers, and afterward they developed their skills independently (autodidactically). Hendra Gunawan and his colleagues tackled the “Tugu Muda” (lit. “Youth Monument”, 1953) project in Semarang; as well as the “Jenderal Soedirman” (1952), a 3-meter tall andesite (volcano-stone) sculpture placed in front of BP-KNIP, now the Regional DPR building, in Yogyakarta.
The “lighthouse” projects were launched by Soekarno, Indonesia’s first president, to give a new identity to this new nation and country. These projects opened the way and provided new experiences for many painters. Painters began to do something else that wasn’t painting limited by frames. Instead, they found themselves working to fulfill the aesthetic elements for various constructions such as Hotel Indonesia (now operating under the name Hotel Indonesia Kempinski). In addition, large-scale monuments were built and positioned in public places to counterbalance tall buildings that were beginning to rise in the capital city. Painters such as Trubus, Surono, Harijadi, Lee Man Fong, and G. Sidharta, were commissioned to create sculptures, reliefs, and murals for the hotel. That was probably the first aesthetic element in the history of Indonesian modern art. Edhi Sunarso is now widely regarded as the most fortunate amongst them. Despite his lack of experience in creating metal sculptures, and at such a young age, in 1961 he was appointed by Bung Karno–as the president was affectionately known–to create the bronze “Selamat Datang” (lit. “Welcome”) monument with the statue standing at 6 meters tall, in the heart of the capital, the Thamrin main thoroughfare in Jakarta.
The Lighthouse Project ended uncompleted however, derailed as the Old Order powers came under increasing political pressure. As Bung Karno’s presidency wound down, it gave way to the New Order regime with a new leader and a new set of political vision and promises. The rhetoric of anti-colonialism and the creation of a modern Indonesian identity were replaced by a new era that was more concerned with economic growth and anti-communism, including all forms of art related to it. And on the heels of this major change, following the harrowing 1965 tragedy, a number of painters in Bung Karno’s circle, especially those accused of being part of the People’s Cultural Association (Lekra, affiliated to the Indonesian Communist Party), were rounded up and sent to jail. Trubus fell and failed to move again, he was shot dead. Those who remained, left slowly and quietly, and stopped voicing out their “art for the people” creed.
In the first half of the 60s, it was already clear that developments began pointing to professional sculptors, who especially studied modern sculpture. This was the new wave, a generation that would give color to the development and pattern of the real Indonesian modern sculpture art. In Yogyakarta, Edhi Sunarso, a graduate from ASRI (now FSRD ISI), who gained his work experience from Sanggar Pelukis Rakyat, began to make a name for himself as a professional sculptor. He studied sculpture at the Visva Bharati Rabindranath Tagore University, Santiniketan, India, with a UNESCO-sponsored scholarship (1955-1957). His work, “The Unknown Political Prisoner”, carved out of andesite, won second place in an international sculpture art competition in the UK (1953). With these field experiences, Edhi went on to develop sculpture art education and instruction at ASRI, self-interpreting the term “modern sculpture” in his works.
In Bandung, interpretation and forms of modern sculptures were developed by three figures who had just returned from Europe and the US. But Muchtar, gained further instruction in modern sculpture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), US. Gregorius Sidharta studied sculpture at the Jan van Eyck Academie voor Beeldende Kunst, Netherlands. Meanwhile, Rita Widagdo was a sculpture art graduate from Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Kunste, Stuttgart, Germany. These three sculptors greatly contributed to the development of modern sculpture art at ITB’s Art Department (now FSRD ITB), in addition to creating and developing their own personal works.
But Muchtar’s works tend towards the abstract shadows of figures and symbolisms. This is a tendency that is dominant in paintings coming out of ITB, Bandung. His monumental sculpture still stands alongside the DPR/MPR Building, Senayan, Jakarta. He could not create sculptures as quick as he could with paintings, however, because he was mostly preoccupied with the management of a higher education institute of art. His last post, prior to his passing, was as Rector of Indonesia Art Institute (ISI), Yogyakarta.
In his works, G. Sidharta reassigned traditionalism while making sure that he did not neglect modern sculpture art grammar. His works tend to be references to Javanese mythology, the shapes of masks and traditional ornaments. He placed tradition as a space for continuous and unbroken dialog with the modern world. The founder of Indonesian Sculptors Association (API) set out his own personal interpretation on religiosity and its values, as witnessed in a series of sculptures of leaf-laden Jesus (“Salib Berdaun”, lit. Leafy Crucifix, 1986). The tendency to harmonize, and quite possibly to collide, to juxtapose a number of different values in his works, could be interpreted as an indication of contemporary sculpture.
Rita Widagdo kept a solid distance from reality. For her, reality is not something to be copied, but rather it is for us to understand its temperament, characteristics, and form. Then, from this understanding we may be able to draw out its deepest meaning. Thus, in the midst of her fully abstract works, we can still trace our way back to the original question/problem and form. The main principle found in her works is how forms can be developed to approach its perfection. As such, formal considerations such as harmony, contrast, balance, rhythm, and plasticity could become the overarching terms that must not be overlooked at all.
The differences in backgrounds, education, and interpretation on what modern sculpture art is, either at ASRI or at ITB, evidently colored the works produced by the tutors and pupils of both these institutions. There had been tensions induced by these differences. In addition, both parties did have differences in ideology and aesthetic outlook since the beginning. The First Exhibition of Contemporary Sculpture (1973) at Taman Ismail Marzuki (TIM), Jakarta, became one of the pinnacles of such tension. A respectable amount of diverse works commingled together, some displaying a strong sense of tradition, others were pieces/works often considered as modern sculptures. The participants could not agree to unanimously call all the works presented at this first exhibition as modern sculpture art. This led to the introduction of the term “contemporary sculpture”, in place of the term “modern sculpture”. This term was coined by G. Sidartha for this particular exhibition, and was applied more as a tactic to diffuse the overwhelming tension between dissenting parties.
Outside of their personal works, all four main players as written above, also made sculptures for public places, especially in Jakarta as the capital city. Edhi Sunarso is considered the front-runner, the first out of the blocks from the Soekarno era. Urban development and economic progress have provided increased opportunities for more monumental sculptures being commissioned. Works by But Muchtar, Rita Widagdo, and G. Sidharta, have enriched the variety of these public sculptures. Their public works are not so different from their personal works. If in the past, public sculptures were created with a tendency to embrace realist-socialist figures and forms portraying heroism, now artists are more likely to build public sculptures that are abstract, cold, and more reminiscent of modern sculpture art.
The first generation to graduate from the Sculpture Studio at ITB includes Sunaryo. Like his predecessors, he did not just make private works, but also public sculptures. Although his works tend to be abstract pieces, it is not to say that they are devoid of narrative. Take for instance, his single sculpture that has garnered a lot of interest, “Citra Irian Dalam Torso” (lit. “Image of Irian in a Torso”). He has also made a number of sculptural installation, most of them created to voice his concerns over various socio-political situations of his homeland. Regeneration in the world of sculpture art cannot be seen as a smooth one. Rather, it is slow-moving and not as light-footed as painting. It might be due to the concreteness of space and media, and it might also be that a number of sculptors still adhere to old perceptions: sculpture as a monumental work, to be constructed using massive, solid, and heavy industrial materials.
10 years later, around the 1980s, Nyoman Nuarta emerged onto the stage, having been involved with the New Art Movement (GSRB). At the end of his study at ITB, he emerged as one of the competition winners for the commission to erect “Monumen Proklamasi” (lit. “The Monument of Proclamation”) in Jakarta–the other winners being Sidharta and Martono. From there, he moved faster and earlier than any of his yearmates. He set up his creative strategy from a very early time. And he was the first sculptor who saw sculpture’s opportunity to grow beyond galleries and exhibition spaces, and outwards into residential areas that were beginning to flourish.
Nuarta has connected sculpture art and industry. He set up modern management schemes to mobilize his grand ideas, and made the relationship between sculpture and urban planning. He has undertaken various technical experiments to discover the most suitable, efficient, and economical materials for sculpture production. And through many years of experience, he finally found a lightweight material without having to sacrifice the artistic values of his works by using wire mesh. He also discovered a new technique to build large-scale sculptures and statues, by utilizing computer and technological advances to create, for example, the 30.6 meters “Jalesveva Jayamahe” standing on a 30 meter building-shaped pedestal in Surabaya; and his work in progress, “Garuda Wisnu Kencana” in Bali. Upon completion, the statue will stand 75 meters tall and 60 meters wide, making it the world’s tallest and biggest statue. His 370X260X80cm work, “Tarian Daun” (lit. “Dance of the Leaves”, 2011), exhibited in Expansion, illustrates an exploration of the various media and techniques he has managed to develop for many years now.
Emerging later than the two aforementioned higher education institutions of art is Jakarta Art Institute (IKJ). It was through the IKJ that sculptor Dolorosa Sinaga began to make her mark. The first graduate of this institute, she has concentrated her creative efforts on sculptures of distorted figures. Dolo’s interests revolve around socio-political themes. She works with resin, then molding it with bronze. She also develops her own brand of sculptural installation. In the Expansion exhibition, her “Isa in the Cities” (2011), a 127X104X74cm mixed media piece, depicted a figure spreading out his arms into the shape of a crucifix, impaled by steel rods usually found in urban construction work.
The next generation after her includes Yani Mariani, Hardiman Radjab, Awan Simatupang, and Hanung Mahadi. Hardiman Radjab is interested in developing objects, changing common object associations into something different, as a parody or as a mockery. In Expansion, he explores the sitting toilet as his object. This mixed media object is titled “Komisi_jamban@yahoo.com” (2011), gleefully reminding us of the foolishness displayed by a number of parliament members a few months back. Hanung Mahadi is known for his single figure-shaped sculptures, most of them highlighting the plight of the lower classes. However, for Expansion he has created “Where Have All the Flowers Gone (Study for Barrels)” measuring100X300cm. This is a mixed-media sculptural installation using rusty, dusty, grainy old tin cans. This piece reminds us of ecological/environmental issues.
New sculpture art and new sensitivity, are able to show a clear figure at the Expansion exhibition. Sporadically, this tendency is already visible in the 2nd Triennial, in the exhibitions organized by Indonesian Sculptors Association (API), and various other sculpture exhibitions. New sculpture art is marked by an increased distance from convention, the disappearance of plinths/bases as auxiliary to sculpture works, as well as the emergence of sculpture installations, objects, pop culture imageries, etc.
Sculptures are not just hung from the ceilings, placed on the walls or floors, but have also entered open spaces and are engaged in interaction with a wider public. Italian-American sculptor Mark di Suvero, for instance, plays with gigantic blocks of steel, weighing several tons, placed at an angle and seemingly about to topple over. His works play on our fear of large, heavy things. Indian-English contemporary sculptor, Anish Kapoor, has wrestled a position in the center of some of the biggest cities in Europe and the US with his sculptures that are as big as buildings and painted in garish, unmissable colors, penetrating the boundaries between sculpture and architecture.
Nowadays, a sculptor is faced with a wide array of choices, an endless choice of media. Modern equipments have also shaped new perceptions on (new) sculpture art. Stone, for instance, can be carved slowly, but can also be cut quickly using sharp and quick machine saws. Or we can create replicas of stones using lightweight materials, hung very high above our heads, in great numbers, to resemble the arrival of meteors from the sky above. And they are not limited to gallery exhibitions; they are also placed inside malls full of visitors.
Although Expansion, as an exhibition, does not show the same level of insanity as the 9th Biennial (with Semsar’s sculptural installation), it is still able to demonstrate the various developments of three-dimensional works in the present time. With more than one hundred participating artists, this exhibition has provided a wide berth in the exploration of media and theme. In part, this is an attempt to answer the question posed at the 2nd Jakarta Triennial (1998).
There are two main indicators in evidence at this exhibition. First, sculpture art still abides by the old convention of standing on bases/plinths. Secondly, new sculpture art, in the shape of sculptural installation and object development, has spread to enter into all possibilities of space. Some sculptors are even trying to use virtual spaces. Thus, a new path, to once again question our understanding of sculpture in the era of technology and information. There is a diversity of materials being used here, from marble, bricks, metals, gold, wire, resin, plastic, glass, glass screen, neon light, real hair, buttons, wax and candles, ice blocks, tape ribbons, water, fire, found objects, sound, scent, and many more.
At this exhibition, we can still witness the use of wood, an early medium in the emergence of modern sculpture art. Wood-carving–like stone-carving–is sculpture’s most classic medium and technique, now standing alongside modern-day technology of welding, molding, joining, etc. The tradition of woodcarving, as developed by artists like Amrus Natalsya, Edhi Sunarso, and Trubus, has never quite developed in terms of technique and idea. This was probably because of the lack of interest, so it has become difficult to hope for any meaningful development. Now, maybe less than 10 people are really devoting themselves in woodcarving.
In the midst of this fading tradition, since the 1980s, Anusapati–sculptor, alumni and lecturer at FSRD-ISI Yogyakarta–introduced new sculpture art, through sculptures that are simple and often minimalist. He continues to delve deep and dismantle the wealth of used objects from past eras, developing them using modern ideas and viewpoints, as well as a modern way of carving. He does away with functions that went outside these objects to find the spirit that lies deeper within. Exhibited here in Expansion is his “Nenek Moyangku Orang Pelaut” (lit. “My Ancestors, the Seafarer” 2011), a 300X120X140cm wood sculpture. The work presented here is not something whole, but glimpses of the stern of a wooden ship in the middle of sinking. Here, he does not show the veined wooden surface as he used to do with his wood sculptures from the 80s and 90s. Now, everything is smooth, reminding us of wooden objects or goods made by woodcraftsmen.
The usage of wood as material can also be seen in the work of artists belonging to a different generation from Anusapati. For example: Bagus Pandega and his 135X63X80cm sculpture “Singer (Wooden Sculpture)”. And also in I Wayan Updana’s “Melting Voice” (2011), a 137X34X8cm sculpture made from mahogany wood.
Yogyakarta sculptors from a generation closer to Anusapati also include Ichwan Noor. For this exhibition, he has created a piece in the shape of a horse made from steel sheets formed using kenteng (hammering) technique. He is more interested in metal-based materials. Komroden Harro, on the other hand, is a sculptor who still adheres to stone as a material, either carved or cut. Most recently, he took stone images and developed them with other materials such as resin and metal.
Material diversity is evident in the works of Aditya Novali, a sculptor with an architecture background. He placed three crucifixes next to one another; each created using a different material. Titled “Devotion#1.2.3″ (2011), each crucifix measures 50X90X7cm. The first is made out of cement-cast frame. The second crucifix is covered with red wax, and the third is some sort of clear material encapsulating a stack of skulls and then filled with ice. In this interactive piece, Aditya has provided a mallet to break the cement on the first cross. When burned, the wax-covered second cross will melt, dripping like blood. Aditya is able to communicate a sense of the dramatic in this way. Sigit Santoso, with a background in painting, creates a parody of life-sized crucified figure, coal-black skin, complete with a koteka (a traditional undergarment worn by Papua men). The title of his work draws a clear correlation with the story of Jesus “Lama Sabachtanhi”. This 200X240X55cm piece is made out of fiberglass, wood and metal. Crucifix is also a central theme in the work of Dolorosa Sinaga. In addition, skull-motives/themes also feature in the works of Agus Suwage, Awan Simatupang, as well as Andita Purnama who used cassette tape ribbon as his creative medium.
The generation of sculptors from Bandung emerging in the past five years, has explored media and idiom intensively. One of them is Octora. She is interested in exploring aspects of sensuality and fetish within an object. Her works make use of lightweight, filigree-like materials, something that appears new within the current tradition of sculpture art. In the past few years, this FSRD-ITB graduate has worked with an idiom that is very close to her self and body: women’s clothing. In Expansion, Octora’s “Batas” (lit. “Boundary”, 2011) is created using a modest material, wire. She has made a number of kebaya clothing from wire, and developed it as sculptural installation. Other sculptors who are Octora’s peers and who are also working in the direction of new sculpture art are Wiyoga Muhardanto, Arief Tousiga, Bagus Pandega, Leonardiansyah Allenda; their works are also part of the Expansion exhibition.
The participants of Expansion have diverse backgrounds and experiences: fine art, design, architecture, archeology, animation, film, etc. This diversity has led to multiple understanding of sculpture. After criticisms of the 2nd Triennial finally ended without any more significant polemics, the conditions at that time felt somewhat nervous over the question: how and what artworks can be properly termed as sculpture. Now, this nervousness is even clearer as the Jakarta Art Council presents a daunted front when faced with this 13-year old criticism, and has decided not to continue the tradition of a Sculpture Triennial. Thus, the opportunity to look at the development of sculpture conventions every three years will unfortunately be shelved, receding to the background in the midst of contemporary art domination.
Ekspansi: Seni Patung Kontemporer Indonesia
Asmudjo Jono Irianto
“The term ‘sculpture’, however, underwent semantic expansion to include more or less anything in the universe.”
Sepintas apa yang diutarakan oleh Thomas McEvilley berkaitan dengan istilah (seni) patung tampak berlebihan. Namun kenyataannya, apa yang disebut “seni patung” saat ini memang bisa berupa apapun. Sejak Rosalind Krauss menyatakan perluasan batasan seni patung melalui artikelnya yang legendaris, “Sculpture in the Expanded Field” pada tahun 1978, batasan seni patung semakin meluas dan cair. Dalam buku kompilasi pematung mutakhir “Vitamin 3-D, News Perspective in Sculpture and Installation, Anne Ellegood memberikan pengantar dengan judul, “Motley Efforts, Sculpture’s Ever-Expanding Field” merujuk pada tampilan patung kontemporer yang sangat bervariasi, sehingga batasannya terus meluas.
Sejarah seni rupa modern (Barat) adalah sejarah (dominasi) seni lukis. Di era posmodern seni lukis berada dalam posisi titik nadir. Kendati dalam seni rupa kontemporer lukisan kembali mendapatkan tempat, namun jika harus bicara keragaman dan keluasan kemungkinan, maka seni patung pemimpinnya. Begitu beragam material/bahan, bentuk, teknik, presentasi, dan ruang kehadiran yang bisa dikaitkan dengan seni patung kontemporer. Keterkungkungan patung di era seni modern, menjadikan seni patung kontemporer meletup hampir tak mengenal batas. Di Barat seni patung modern diawali ketika monumen—karya yang memiliki sense of site/place— sebagai pengertian dasar patung berangsur lenyap,
“Which is to say one enters modernism, since it is the modernist period of sculptural production that operates in relation to this loss of site, producing the monument as abstraction, the monument as pure markers or base, functionally placeless and largely self-referential…”[i]
Di Barat perkembangan seni patung modern berada di bawah bayang-bayang seni lukis modern. Hal itu ditunjukkan oleh perkembangan patung abstrak yang mengadopsi konsep seni lukis abstrak. Jika seni lukis modern dapat menemukan esensi dasarnya, yaitu flatness, tidak demikian halnya dengan patung modern. Kesejatian seni lukis modern dapat ditunjukkan melalui karya-karya modernis-formalis. Sementara seni patung sulit menetapkan esensinya. Ketigadimensian, tentu saja sulit diklaim oleh seni patung sebagai kesejatiannya. Kendati aspek ketigadimensian merupakan elemen mendasar, namun hal itu terlalu “nyata” dan “mudah” jika ditempatkan sebagai “kesejatian” seni patung. Karena itu, Rosalind Krauss menawarkan pengertian “seni-patung” justru dari sesuatu yang bukan dirinya,
“At this point modernist sculpture appeared as a kind of black hole in the space of consciousness, something whose positive content was increasingly difficult to define, something that was possible to locate only in term of what it was not…. : it was what was on or in front of the building that was not the building, or was in the landscape that was not the landscape.”[ii]
Keruntuhan seni lukis modern di akhir tahun 60-an membalik keadaan dan menyebabkan seni patung unggul. Perkembangan seni patung yang disebut oleh Rosalind Krauss sebagai “Sculpture in the Expanded Field” bisa dilihat sebagai upaya pembebasan logika patung modern, yaitu karya tiga dimensi di atas base. Para pematung posmodern mengolah ruang-terbuka/alam sebagai karya patung, menghasilkan karya-karya site-spesific. Sebelumnya, kecenderungan instalasi telah menjadi semacam perlawanan terhadap kemungkinan seni patung yang sempit. Jauh mendahului, pada dekade awal abad dua puluh Marchel Duchamp melalui ready-made sesungguhnya telah merevolusi seni rupa modern. Namun situasi politik (perang dunia) dan great depression saat itu tak memicu perkembangan gagasan “ready-made” Duchamp. Pengaruh Duchamp baru muncul dan menguat lama sesudahnya, yaitu di tahun 60-an bersamaan dengan semangat neo-dada dan posmodern.
Sepertinya ketidaksolidan konsep seni patung modern yang telah menyelamatkan seni patung dari kontaminasi dosa-dosa seni (lukis) modern. Bahkan seni patung dianggap dapat memberikan jawaban atas kebuntuan seni modern. Karena itu menurut Rosalind Krauss, ketidakjelasan batasan seni patung menyebabkan “kemungkinan” dan “pengertian” seni patung bisa diperluas. Menurut Thomas McEvilley, patung menjadi pelopor dalam sejarah seni yang baru (new art history),
“Sculpture, in turn, become associated with the new art history, the age of doubt, and the contingency of the the non-illusionistic object. Painting was a part of the nightmare of history; sculpture was a way out of it. For perhaps the first time in their long association, sculpture, with its location in the midst of the real, gained the ethical upper hand.”[iii]
Ketiadaan batasan yang rigid, menjadikan patung kontemporer seperti arena yang terbuka untuk dieksplor sesuai minat dan motif seniman. Situasi tersebut juga sebangun dengan prinsip pluralis seni rupa kontemporer. Semangat revolusi kebudayaan di Barat pada tahun 60 dan 70-an sebangun dengan semangat neo-dada dan posmodern. Kebebasan dan semangat kembali melihat dunia di luar seni tentu tak sesuai dengan prinsip-prinsip modernis-formalis. Karena itu kategori yang mengikat dan definitif tak sesuai dengan masa itu.
Saat ini, lebih dari masa sebelumnya, seni patung semakin eklektik. Seni patung kontemporer tak hanya menampung karya-karya dengan semangat posmodern. Namun konsekuensi kredo “apapun boleh” dalam seni rupa kontemporer menyebabkan ditampungnya pula semangat modernis-formalis. Seni rupa kontemporer, bahkan menjadi ruang pertemuan dua semangat tersebut—kendati tampaknya kurang masuk akal. Semangat zaman saat ini, bukan lagi penentangan terhadap batasan, melainkan merayakan kemungkinan yang tak terbatas, termasuk di dalamnya pilihan untuk menjadi “terbatas”. Seni patung kontemporer, karenanya, tak hanya mencangkup karya-karya para pematung, namun termasuk di dalamnya karya-karya para perupa non-pematung yang juga menghasilkan karya-karya patung. Lingkup patung kontemporer karenanya tak hanya mencakup karya-karya yang didasari gagasan/logika “patung”—apapun pengertiannya—namun juga karya-karya yang diciptakan “beyond” logika patung. Kemungkinan yang pertama tentu diandaikan adanya kategori patung yang didasari konsepsi atau logika patung. Merunut perkembangan sejarahnya, perjalana logika seni patung meliputi: figuratif, formalis, instalasi, found object/ready mades, land art, site-spesific, dst. Sementara yang berada di luar logika patung, adalah segala karya non dua demensi. Termasuk di dalamnya: craft-art object, commodity sculpture, dan karya-karya tiga dimensi yang bersilangan atau tumpang tindih dengan logika dua dimensi. Barangkali aspek pengertian patung kontemporer yang induktif ini sesuai dengan apa yang diutarakan oleh John Lechte, “Well, maybe we have to get used to the idea that it is precisely the individual instance of sculpturality which ultimately contains sculpture in general.”[iv]
Begitu beragamnya karya-karya yang bisa dimasukkan dalam kategori seni patung, sehingga batasan patung tampaknya bukan batasan yang operasional. Hal tersebut juga bisa dilihat sebagai kelemahan patung kontemporer, sebab batasan yang sangat luas dan beragam telah menyebabkan kategori seni patung hampir runtuh,
“Recently, Johanna Burton has pointed out that this expanded, and nearly collapsed, category of sculpture, which in the intervening years since Krauss wrote her text has continued to absorb any number of different practices,…“[v]
Namun luas dan cairnya batasan seni patung tak harus dilihat sebagai runtuhnya atau krisis batasan seni patung, melainkan sebagai realitanya saat ini, sebagaimana selanjutnya diutarakan` oleh Anne Ellegood: ”…may no longer suggest a crisis for the medium, but simply its current ‘state of being’.”[vi] Atau situasinya seperti yang dikatakan oleh Manfred Schneckenburger: “In fact, nothing less but the crisis of identity itself had become the true productive principle behind the extention of the term sculpture.”[vii]
Persoalan Sejarah Seni Patung Modern Indonesia
Jika sejarah seni rupa modern dimaknai sebagai sebuah konstruk linear yang kaku, dan menjadi validasi tunggal bagi praksis seni, maka bisa dikatakan tak ada sejarah seni patung modern Indonesia. Dalam parameter seni rupa modern ketiadaan sejarah seringkali dianggap sebagai masalah dalam melegitimasi dan memberi validasi praktek dan karya seni. Konstruk sejarah adalah “pembenar” dan “parameter” bagi rangkaian praksis seni rupa, di mana perkembangan dan kebaruan bisa ditelusuri muasalnya. Apa yang diutarakan oleh Rosalind Krauss tentang linearitas sejarah seni yang beranalogi dengan transformasi seorang anak menjadi dewasa menarik untuk disimak,
“The new is made comfortable by being made familiar, since it is seen as having gradually evolved from the form of the past. Historicism works on the new and different to diminish newness and mitigate difference. It makes a place for change in our experience by evoking the model of evaluation...”[viii]
Sejarah seni ibaratnya peta genetik seni rupa. Tanpa sejarah, praksis seni rupa bagai anak haram yang tak bernilai. Hegemoni seni rupa modern selama paruh pertama abad dua puluh ditegakkan melalui konstruk sejarah. Namun kerena itu pula bangkrutnya seni rupa modern disertai stigma pada konstruk sejarah yang solid dan rigid. Sejarah seni rupa modern, bagi kaum posmodern adalah refleksi “kenaifan” seni rupa modern, karenanya merupakan “dosa” yang harus dikubur.
Itu sebabnya era seni rupa posmodern ditandai dengan berakhirnya sejarah—the end of art history. Maka, ketiadaan konstruk sejarah seni patung modern Indonesia bukan halangan bagi perkembangan patung kontemporer Indonesia. Kenyataannya, saat ini patung kontemporer Indonesia cukup berkembang dan jauh lebih kaya tampilannya dibandingkan beberapa dekade yang lalu. Kita memang tidak memiliki konstruksi sejarah yang solid mengenai seni patung modern. Astri Wright bahkan mensinyalir bahwa eksisnya seorang keramikus wanita (almarhum Hildawati Soemantri) dalam dunia seni patung Indonesia disebabkan oleh tak berkembangnya seni patung,
“It is perhaps because modern Indonesian sculpture is peculiarly underdeveloped for a culture with such a rich sculpture history that women have been able to carve a significant niche for themselves within the field.”[ix]
Tentu saja, ketiadaan konstruk sejarah patung modern Indonesia tak lalu menjadikan masa lalu seni patung gelap-gulita. Kita masih dengan mudah melakukan kilas balik perjalanan seni patung modern Indonesia. Kita dapat menyebut seniman-seniman dan karya-karyanya. Namun, sejarah tidak sekadar kronologi kilas balik, melainkan konstruk teori mengenai nilai-nilai seni yang menjadi pembenaran dalam proses inklusi (inclution) dan eksklusi (exclution). Sejarah seni rupa modern Barat, contohnya, adalah sejarah segelintir seniman yang dianggap dapat mewakili perkembangan seni rupa modern internasional (Barat). Sejarah seni rupa modern adalah sejarah segelitir seniman “jenius” yang dipilih oleh para kritikus dan teoritikus seni rupa modern, atas nama pengorbanan “ribuan” seniman lainnya—yang karya-karyanya dianggap tak memenuhi standar teori dan wacana seni rupa modern.
Kendati sejarah seni (modern) telah diruntuhkan dan dinyatakan telah berakhir, tak berarti dia mati. Sejarah seni rupa modern kepalang menjadi konstruk yang kokoh. Sejarah selalu menjadi tempat berpaling dan pembanding dengan perkembangan sesudahnya. Gagasan “sculpture in the expanded field” menjadi penting karena dilawankan dengan gagasan patung “konvensional”. Ketiadaan konstruk sejarah yang solid menyebabkan tak terbangunnya dasar-dasar pemikiran (teori) seni patung modern Indonesia. Atau tepatnya, tanpa pemikiran dan analisis (teori) tak terbangun konstruk sejarah. Namun, tentu saja bicara persoalan seni rupa modern di luar Barat adalah persoalan pelik. Sebab terminologi “modern” dalam “seni rupa modern” tidak bisa dilepaskan dari paradigma dan wacana seni rupa modern Barat (modernis-formalis). Hal ini menjadi dilema praktek seni rupa modern di luar Barat.
Persoalannya, seni rupa modern Indonesia ditinjau menggunakan kaca mata dan parameter seni rupa modern jelas merupakan adaptasi dari seni rupa modern Barat. Karena itu karya-karyanya dianggap derivasi dari karya-karya modern Barat, dan tentu saja bukan merupakan bagian yang valid dari sejarah seni rupa modern internasional (Barat). Karena itu seni rupa modern di wilayah non-Barat sejak awal bermasalah. Di satu sisi, seni rupa modern non-Barat tentu berupaya membangun konstruk sejarahnya sendiri, namun di sisi lain konstruk tersebut beresiko tidak fit-in dengan kondisi budaya dan modernitas (kemodernan) lokal, dan tidak pula diterima sebagai bagian sejarah seni rupa modern internasional. “Kerinduan” para pelaku seni rupa modern Indonesia bersentuhan dengan dunia “luar” sebagaimana diutarakan oleh Astri Wright barangkali tepat untuk menunjukkan gambaran tersebut,
“In a place like Indonesia, where modern artists have been somewhat marginal to their broader culture and ignored by the international art world of which they themselves feel a part, there is great receptivity, on the part of artists, art historians, and collectors, to sharing their life stories, works, and ideas.”[x]
Bicara seni patung modern Indonesia tidak bisa dilepaskan dari keberadaan Akademi Seni Rupa Yogyakarta (ASRI Yogyakarta) yang saat ini menjadi Institut Seni Indonesia Yogyakarta (ISI Yogyakarta) dan Departemen Seni Rupa ITB—saat ini menjadi Fakultas Seni Rupa dan Desain ITB. Secara kilas balik, mengacu pada pemikiran Claire Holt mengenai the Gread Debate, maka seni patung modern Indonesia berada dalam tegangan antara kubu, yaitu Yogyakarta yang realis-figuratif melawan kubu Bandung yang modernis-formalis. Sesungguhnya tegangan tersebut mengacu pada kecenderungan seni lukis, namun juga terlihat pada seni patung. Memasuki era Orde Baru ketegangan antara kubu Yogya dan Bandung menyurut, kendati orientasi Realis (Yogya) versus Abstrak-Modernis (Bandung) masih terus berlanjut sampai akhir tahun 80an. Di luar itu mengacu pada pemikiran Sanento Yuliman almarhum, ada seni rupa modern lain di luar kota-kota besar Jawa, yaitu seni rupa modern Bali yang merupakan kelanjutan seni tradisionalnya. Kemampuan para seniman tradisional Bali untuk mengindividuasi pakem tradisi dan tembus pada masa modern memang merupakan fenomena tersendiri. Dalam lingkup seni patung, hal itu bisa kita lihat dari beberapa nama besar pamatung Bali, seperti Cokot dan Nongos.
Sebagai alternatif kecenderungan yang tumbuh dalam perguruan tinggi seni rupa, maka yang harus dicatat adalah karya-karya yang dihasilkan melalui Gerakan Seni Rupa Baru (GSRB) yang bermula pada pertengahan tahun 70an. Pada saat itu, karya-karya GSRB telah menunjukkan kecenderungan instalatif dan “ready-mades”. Sayang GSRB lebih kerap dilihat sebagai “pemberontakan” terhadap kemandegan seni lukis, bukan sebagai tawaran kredo estetis yang berbeda. Karena itu karya-karya para senimannya lebih sering dilihat sebagai karya parodi. Menarik, bahwa “pemberontakan” GSRB terhadap kebuntuan seni lukis ternyata lebih banyak menghasilkan karya-karya yang bisa “dikategorikan” sebagai patung.
Perkembangan seni patung tahun 90-an menunjukkan bahwa kecenderungan seni patung sebelumnya tidak menjadi faktor determinan yang memberikan pengaruh. Pada akhirnya, perkembangan patung kontemporer Indonesia menunjukkan bahwa ketiadaan konstruk sejarah yang pasti, padu dan terukur dalam seni patung Indonesia bukanlah masalah. Tanpa beban (warisan) sejarah, patung kontemporer bisa bergerak bebas ke mana pun. Kenyataannya, para seniman muda, memang tak banyak memanfaatkan warisan gagasan dan wacana seni patung Indonesia di era yang lalu. Para seniman kontemporer Indonesia dapat menimba inspirasi dari beragam sumber.
Seni Patung Kontemporer Indonesia.
Secara hipotetik, bisa dikatakan patung kontemporer Indonesia bermula pada GSRB (Gerakan Seni Rupa Baru). Di luar GSRB, seni patung modern Indonesia, sebagaimana di Barat, dipengaruhi praktek dan wacana seni lukis. Di Yogyakarta seni patung realis-figuratif menjadi kecenderungan utama mengikuti gaya seni lukis realis. Sementara di Bandung sejak tahun 60-an sampai 80-an berkembang seni patung abstrak mengikuti perkembangan seni lukis abstrak (tidak melibatkan seni patung Bali). Selanjutnya, perkembangan setelah tahun 90-an tidak bisa dilepaskan dari dinamika seni rupa kontemporer global.
Seni rupa kontemporer melalui jaringan kebudayaan dan ekonomi global menyebar ke seluruh dunia. Dibantu oleh kemudahan akses dan penyebaran informasi melalui teknologi informasi mutakhir, paradigma seni rupa kontemporer menjadi kesadaran yang melingkupi seniman di segala penjuru dunia, termasuk di Indonesia. Seni rupa kontemporer Indonesia menjadi bagian dari global art-world. Belakangan, cukup banyak seniman kontemporer Indonesia yang diundang pameran di galeri-geleri komersial di luar negeri. Cukup mudah menjumpai seniman Indonesia hilir mudik di art fair Internasional. Demikian pula para kolektor selalu meng-update wawasan seninya dengan hadir di pameran-pameran dan art fair yang penting. Tentu saja hal ini memberikan pengaruh besar dalam membentuk wajah seni rupa kontemporer Indonesia.
Patung kontemporer Indonesia tak lepas dari pengaruh patung kontemporer global. Sebagai mana telah diutarakan bahwa pengertian patung dalam seni rupa kontemporer hampir tanpa batas. Batasan patung yang inklusif menjadi pilihan yang masuk akal, sebab batasan yang sifatnya eksklusif dan otoritatif tentu tak sesuai dengan semangat seni rupa kontemporer yang plural dan “apapun boleh”. Mengacu pada teks klasik Kantian-Hegelian, Heinrich Wolfflin, sejarawan seni asal Swiss, sudah sejak akhir abad sembilan-belas menyebutkan adanya dua “root of style” yaitu,
“These are the visual or internal root, which is the link with previous art, and the social or external root, which is the link with the contemporaneous surrounding culture.”[xi]
Dalam seni rupa kontemporer tampaknya akar yang lebih dominan adalah social atau external root. Hal itu dijelaskan oleh Thomas McEvilley dalam bukunya Sculpture in the Age of Doubt,
“The many avenues shunned by Modernist art history as growing from the nonvisual external root are now being explored in art history text and classrooms. These include the classic social triad (race, class, and gender); political contents encompassing repressed ideological subtext; difference in general, especially ethnic differences and community identities; the mystery of representation and it secret agenda; and so on. Thus the age of doubt has opened itself precisely to those experiences the previous age of certainty had condemned and avoided.”[xii]
Namun demikian, pengaruh dari akar visual pun agaknya memainkan peranan penting dalam seni rupa kontemporer. Aspek visual dalam kebudayaan kontemporer sangat dominan. Dunia kita adalah dunia yang dibentuk oleh citraan. Sehari-hari kita diserbu oleh beragam citraan, seperti media massa, dunia hiburan, iklan, televisi, barang cetakan, komoditas produk. Hal ini tentu saja mempengaruhi pola pikir dan persepsi visual masyarakat masa kini. Populernya istilah dan kajian visual culture menunjukkan hal itu. Walaupun visual culture lebih merujuk pada kenyataan dua dimensi, namun hal itu juga tidak lepas dari realita tiga dimensi. Rangkaian citraan iklan di ruang urban membentuk persepsi kita mengenai karakter ruang urban. Demikian pula, aneka produk industri dan iklan-iklan tiga dimensi juga menjadi kenyataan visual yang menyerbu keseharian kita. Di sisi lain, jika citraan dua dimensi memang bisa dibilang dominan, bisa jadi kejemuan terhadap dominasinya memicu transformasi/transmutasi citraan dua dimensi menjadi tiga dimensi. Setidaknya hal itu tampak dalam seni rupa kontemporer, banyak karya patung yang merupakan transmutasi dari citraan atau karya dua dimensi.
Pada kenyataannya, baik akar visual maupun akar sosial menjadi dasar penting bagi perkembangan patung kontemporer Indonesia. Bahkan dalam beberapa hal, kedua akar tersebut merupakan pengaruh yang telah menyatu. Misalnya, pada saat warisan kebudayaan material (material culture) tradisional menjadi sumber atau perkara yang dipersoalkan oleh seniman kontemporer Indonesia. Budaya material tradisional menawarkan sekaligus keduanya: aspek visual maupun aspek sosial. Demikian pula dengan tema kebudayaan popular yang digandrungi oleh seniman kontemporer, sekaligus menyediakan kedua perkara tersebut: visual dan sosial. Dalam konteks seni rupa kontemporer, sepertinya istilah “sumber” lebih tepat daripada istilah “akar”, sebab yang menjadi bahan bakar penciptaan para seniman kontemporer adalah segala sumber visual maupun (persoalan) sosial.
Setelah “pokok persoalan” dan “genre visual” didapat, maka yang selanjutnya dibutuhkan oleh seniman untuk menghasilkan karya patung adalah menetapkan “presentasi” dan materialnya. Kemungkinan presentasi dalam seni patung bisa cukup luas: monolit atau instalasi; dalam atau luar ruangan; menggunakan base, atau tidak, atau digantung; di tengah ruang atau menempel di dinding, interaktif atau tidak; ukuran, dan seterusnya. Demikian pula pilihan material hampir tak ada batasnya. Setiap material yang ada dalam kebudayaan manusia mungkin untuk dijadikan material patung kontemporer. Tentu saja kemungkinan pokok persoalan, presentasi dan pilihan material juga bergantung pada trend. Setidaknya situasi tersebut tersebut bisa kita runut melalui perkembangan patung kontemporer Indonesia sejak tahun 90-an.
Tema sosial-politik merupakan subject matter penting dalam seni rupa kontemporer Indonesia tahun 90-an, pada saat seniman-seniman Indonesia mulai terlibat dalam gelaran seni rupa Internasional. Karya-karya instalasi merupakan tampilan yang lebih menonjol dibandingkan lukisan. Hal itu bisa kita lihat misalnya pada Bienal Jakarta IX, yaitu bienal yang juga diramaikan dengan polemik seni posmodern. Demikian pula pada pameran “tradition and tension” di New York tahun 1996 yang menampilkan seni rupa kontemporer dari lima negara Asia. Hal yang sama tampak pada pameran “Awas :Recent art from Indonesia”. Konten sosial-politik menjadi tema yang sesuai bagi seni rupa kontemporer. Hal itu menjadi identitas (lokal) seni rupa kontemporer Indonesia. Sementara instalasi banyak dipilih karena memang sedang trend dan merupakan alternatif kritikal bagi seni lukis “dekoratif” yang ketika itu sedang booming.
Pada paruh pertama dekade awal abad dua puluh satu, seni lukis kembali dominan. Hal ini tak lepas dari pengaruh tumbuhnya pasar seni rupa kontemporer Indonesia sebagai bagian dari pasar seni rupa regional dan global. Bermunculannya galeri komersial baru. Rumah lelang Internasional mulai melirik seniman-seniman kontemporer Indonesia. Dipicu oleh permintaan yang tinggi terhadap karya-karya lukis old master—yang suplainya sangat terbatas—seni lukis kontemporer Indonesia tumbuh pesat. Beragam tema dengan nyaman diterapkan pada permukaan kanvas. Booming seni lukis semakin menyuburkan “produksi” seni lukis. Belakangan mulai muncul “kejenuhan” pada lukisan. Baik pasar maupun seniman sadar akan hal itu. Salah satu upaya mensikapi situasi tersebut adalah dengan men-diversivikasi “produk” artistik. Muncul fenomena menarik, para pelukis mulai menghasilkan karya-karya patung dalam berbagai kemungkinan. Tentu saja hal ini juga dipicu oleh para seniman yang sukses di pasar yang sejak awal karirnya merupakan seniman hybrid, menghasilkan baik karya dua dimensi maupun tiga dimensi.
Semakin cairnya identitas kesenimanan dan batasan seni patung, menjadi semacam pembenaran bagi para pelukis untuk menghasilkan karya patung. Hal itu sedikit banyak juga dipengaruhi oleh semakin cairnya batasan seni—dalam seni rupa kontemporer. Pengaruh pop art, yaitu bocornya cita rasa seni populer pada seni tinggi, atau tumpang tindih antara pelaku seni popular dengan seni tinggi, seperti low-brow, mendorong dihasilkannya beragam karya-karya patung yang jauh dari frame seni patung modern. Karya-karya tokoh komik, mainan atau produk branded muncul sebagai karya seni—kerap disebut commodity sculpture—dan meramaikan seni patung kontemporer Indonesia.
Berbeda dengan seni lukis yang sangat dibatasi oleh bidang kanvas, maka seni patung meyediakan alternatif yang sangat luas. Kemungkinan seni patung tidak didefinisikan oleh pengertian patung, namun oleh kemungkinannya dalam kebudayaan masa kini, sebagaimana dikatakan Krauss,
“For, within the situation of postmodernism, practice is not defined in relation to a given medium—sculpture—but rather in relation to the logical operation on a set of cultural terms, for which any medium—photography, books, lines on walls, mirrors, or sculpture itself—might be used.”
Logika yang bisa kita tarik dari pernyataan Krauss adalah bahwa bukan penetapan karya sebagai karya patung (kontemporer) yang menjadikannya istimewa, namun relasinya dengan persoalan “kondisi” kultural. Dalam konteks masa kini, kondisi kultural bisa diartikan segala persoalan dalam kebudayaan global. Karena itu bisa dikatakan segala ideologi kesenian bisa diterapkan melalui seni patung kontemporer.
Para pelukis yang menghasilkan karya patung kebanyakan menerapkan tema dan gaya lukisannya pada karya patungnya. Itu sebabnya, bisa dikatakan terjadi transmutasi dari karya dua dimensi menjadi karya tiga dimensi. Saya menyebut karya-karya tersebut sebagai karya patung tanpa “beban”. Hal ini memunculkan “anggapan” bahwa mudah saja menghasilkan karya patung, khususnya bagi para pelukis, cukup “men-tigadimensi-kan” object atau subject matter dalam karya lukisnya. Bagi para seniman tersebut tidak ada aspek “esensial” atau “konsep dasar” seni patung. Hal ini tentu berbeda dengan keyakinan para pematung “akademik”, yaitu para pematung lulusan pendidikan seni patung.
Pada akhirnya, perkara tema dan medium adalah perkara pilihan. Karena itu, seniman-seniman keramik dan serat, contohnya di Barat—karena konstruk sejarah (dikotomi art and craft)—dianggap sebagai bukan bagian dari seni tinggi, di Indonesia dengan mudah menjadi bagian seni patung. Dalam seni rupa modern dan kontemporer Indonesia seniman keramik tak mendapatkan stigma sebagai craft-artist sebagaimana dalam medan seni rupa Barat. Karena itu para seniman keramik, serat, kayu, logam dan perhiasan yaitu para seniman yang dalam ruang lingkup pendidikan tinggi seni rupa diletakkan dalam program studi kriya (craft), juga merupakan seniman-seniman yang memperkaya wajah patung kontemporer melalui karya-karya non-fungsionalnya. Karya-karya mereka kerap dikategorikan sebagai karya “objek”, karena memiliki trayek perkembangan di luar seni patung modern.
Wacana seni patung tak bisa dilepaskan dari perkara ruang (space) dan material. Karena itu eksistensi seni patung kerap direndengkan dengan bangunan, dan tentunya keberadaan arsitek. Sudah cukup lama di Barat, para arsitek dan karyanya menjadi bagian wacana seni patung modern dan kontemporer. Belakangan ini, para arsitek dan desainer kerap diundang untuk memperkaya wajah patung kontemporer di Indonesia. Nama-nama seperti Budi Pradono, Leonard Theosubrata mulai akrab dengan dunia seni rupa. Demikian pula para desainer, baik dari dunia fashion dan iklan saat ini kerap terlibat dalam pameran seni rupa kontemporer. Khususnya dalam patung kontemporer keterlibatan para desainer produk atau interior merupakan kemungkinan yang menantang. Setidaknya istilah furniture-sculpture—yang sudah lama beredar dalam wacana patung kontemporer Barat—menunjukkan kemungkinan tersebut.
Sepertinya kesan ekstrim, eksperimental dan transgresif tak menonjol dalam patung kontemporer Indonesia (tidak seperti pada masa GSRB). Namun demikian, sesungguhnya karya-karya patung kontemporer Indonesia cukup menjelajah dan banyak memasuki kemungkinan baru. Tidak munculnya kesan transgresif dan eksperimental, disebabkan keberadaan karya-karya patung tersebut memang tidak ditujukan sebagai karya transgresif dan memberontak. Seni rupa kontemporer dengan mantra “apapun-boleh” segera memandulkan dan menjinakkan seni yang transgresif dan memberontak—kendati bukannya tidak mungkin dilakukan. Dalam benak kebanyakan seniman yang lebih penting adalah menampilkan karya yang mengandung “pesan”, yaitu content atau aboutness, dan menemukan “wadah”nya dalam bentuk (form) karya. Kebanyakan seniman Indonesia—yang hanya memiliki saluran dominan: pasar, bukan museum atau bienal—faham bahwa “tampilan” merupakan faktor penting agar karyanya “ditengok”.
Dengan kata lain, jika apapun boleh, maka yang paling penting adalah mencari pilihan yang paling sesuai (tema, persoalan, dan subject matter) dan mengeksekusinya dengan baik. Tentang eksekusi yang proper ini ditunjukkan oleh para pelukis yang mempercayakan pengerjaan patungnya pada para pematung, mulai dari modeling sampai realisasi/eksekusi menjadi patung logam/fiber glass. Mereka sadar karya seni sebagai “komoditas estetik” tentu harus ditampilkan dengan baik dan menarik, pun ketika konten atau pesan yang hendak disampaikan sesungguhnya kritikal. Karena itu, kecenderungan unmonumental tak populer di Indonesia, walaupun menjadi kecenderungan yang cukup penting dalam patung kontemporer Barat.
“Detecting a global trend towards the fragmentary and contingent in some of the strongest sculpture being made today, they are presenting work that reflects the extreme delicacy and fragility of life in the twenty-first century…Unmonumental is about a world in pieces and a parallel impulse in art making.”[xiii]
Karya-karya unmonumental menghindari kesan monumental dan permanen, dengan menggunakan bahan styrofoam, kardus dan plastik, dan kerap tampil seadanya. Bagi publik di Indonesia yang lingkungan urbannya tidak tertata dengan baik, maka situasi chaos merupakan keseharian. Situasi dan kondisi kehidupan—termasuk di dalamnya kondisi sosial-politik—yang terlalu berantakan (disorder), menyebabkan banyak pihak merindukan keteraturan (order). Kualitas kehidupan sehari-hari di kota-kota yang kurang menyenangkan, kemiskinan, fasilitas publik yang minim, menyebabkan kebanyakan publik seni mencari “kenyamanan” dan “kepastian” dalam karya seni.
Karya unmonumental tak sesuai dengan “harapan”—baik bagi audiens maupun seniman—dalam medan seni rupa Indonesia berkenaan dengan tampilan “karya” yang baik. Namun tentu saja selalu ada seniman yang lebih suka “men-challenge” publik, seperti Tisna Sanjaya yang belakangan ini gemar membawa sampah ke dalam ruang pamer. Namun yang menarik, karya-karya Tisna kendati berbahan baku sampah seringkali tampil dengan monumental, karena ukuran dan cara penyajiannya. Handiwirman, kendati memakai bahan-bahan kelas bawah: plastik, felt, seng namun dengan tujuan yang sama sekali berbeda. Handi tak berbicara mengenai gagasan unmonumetal. Dia menemukan kualitas estetik pada benda-benda dan bahan-bahan yang tidak umum dalam seni patung konvesional. Bahkan bahan-bahan tersebut tampil monumental dalam pameran tunggal terakhirnya. Salah satu pematung Yogya yang cukup menonjol belakangan ini, Yudi Sulistyo menerapkan kebalikan dari kredo unmonumental, memanfaatkan kertas sebagai material untuk menampilkan karya yang tampak permanen dan “monumental” berupa obyek-obyek yang seolah terbuat dari logam.
Karena itu, karya-karya yang seolah menyebal dari batasan konvesional, saat ini muncul bukan sebagai reaksi pada rigid-nya batasan, melainkan kerena melihatnya kemungkinan dari cairnya batasan seni patung. Atau, bahkan mereka tidak terlampau peduli pada batasan. Kebanyakan seniman masa kini yang menghasilkan karya tiga dimensi pun tak peduli jika karyanya tak dikategorikan sebagai karya patung, karena mereka berkarya tidak untuk mempertahankan atau membela batasan seni patung.
Walaupun patung representasional mendominasi, namun tak berarti patung abstrak tak berlanjut. Mantra seni kontemporer yang “apapun-boleh” tentu berkonsekuensi diterimanya pula kecenderungan abstrak dengan berbagai kemungkinannya: formalis, biomorfis dan dekoratif. Rita Widagdo dengan sensibilitas formalnya yang luar biasa terus aktif menghasilkan karya, baik untuk elemen estetis maupun karya pribadi. Sementara itu patung figuratif dalam sense sense seni patung—yang berbeda dengan kecenderugan figurarif ala seni popular—juga terus berkembang. Dolorosa Sinaga dan Nyoman Nuarta terus aktif berkarya.
Kembali ramainya patung monolit dengan berbagai kecenderungan, dan lebih sesuai tampil di ruangan (galeri) dari pada di ruang publik atau di alam terbuka sepertinya menunjukkan arah terbalik dengan gagasan sculpture in the expanded field dan dematerialisasi. Saat ini sepertinya patung dan bahkan karya-karya instalasi membutuhkan material yang tahan lama, dan dikerjakan dengan apik. Terjadi semacam re-materialisasi dalam patung kontemporer Indonesia. Barangkali hal ini menunjukkan apa yang kita sebut sejarah berulang, namun dalam versi yang berbeda. Seni rupa kontemporer, yang tampil dengan sangat beragam, barangkali memang tak lagi terlalu berminat dengan eksperimen yang ekstrim.
Akhirnya, dalam seni rupa kontemporer sesungguhnya kategori bukan merupakan hal penting. Dalam sejarah seni rupa modern seni lukis dan seni patung berdiri sebagai kategori yang dominan, dan mewakili pengertian generik seni rupa modern. Seni lukis dan seni patung dianggap merupakan kategori yang valid menandai inklusi high art/fine art—dan mengeklusi kategori seni yang lain (seni keramik, serat, dll) sebagai bukan ketegori seni. Di sisi lain, bagi para seniman neo-avant-garde, batasan kategori—yang kaku—justru menjadi tantangan untuk terus diberontaki. Sepertinya, dunia patung kontemporer faham bahwa pilihan untuk menjadi wilayah yang ekletik dan inklusif akan melanggengkan keberadaan seni patung kontemporer. Karena itu, apa yang tidak patung kontemporer? Itu sebabnya, lingkup patung kontemporer saat ini bisa menjadi wilayah kreatif bagi sutrada film seperti Garin Nugroho dan kereografer/stage designer Jay Subiakto.
[i] Rosalind E. Krauss, Sculpture in the Expanded Field, The Originality of the Avant-Garde and Other Modernist Myths, London: MIT Press, 1986, hal. 280
[ii] Ibid., hal. 282
[iii] Thomas McEvilley, Sculpture in the Age of Doubt, New York: Allworth Press, 1999, hal. 41
[iv] John Lechte, Eleven Theses on Sculpture, Art & Design Magazine: Sculpture, Contemporary form and Theory, Academy Editions, London, 1997, hal. 18
[v] Anne Ellegood, Motley Efforts: Sculpture’s Ever-Expanding Fields, Vitamin 3-D: New Perspectives in Sculpture and Installation, New York: Phaidon, 2009, hal. 6
[vii] Manfred Schneckenburger, Metamorphosa of Modern Sculpture, Art of 20th Century, editor F. Walther, Koln: Taschen, 2000, hal. 407
[viii] Rosalind E. Krauss, Sculpture in the Expanded Field, The Originality of the Avant-Garde and Other Modernist Myths, London: MIT Press, 1986, hal. 278
[ix] Astri Wright, Soul, Spirit, and Mountain, Preoccupations Contemporary Indonesian Painters, Singapore: Oxford University Press, 1994, hal. 135
[x] Ibid., hal. 1
[xi] Thomas McEvilley, 1999, Sculpture in the Age of Doubt, Hal. 33, Allworth Press, New York
[xiii] Lisa Phillips, 2007, Preface, Unmonumental, Hal. 7, Phaidon Press Limited, London
Sculpture and Contemporary Art: An Introduction
Even as the development of contemporary art is becoming an increasingly important role in enriching the development of Indonesian art, the position of sculpture remains unchanged. It does not feel active and it has become as neglected as before. This is despite sculpture’s role in the establishment of the Indonesian contemporary art scene, factually represented by the 1973 exhibition of Indonesian Contemporary Sculptures. This exhibition was the first time the term “Contemporary” was used in the history of Indonesian art.
The use of this term began with some difference in opinion between members of the exhibition’s organizing committee, chaired by sculptors G. Sidharta and But Muchtar. A problem had arisen due to tension between participants of the exhibition. There were two groups of participants in this exhibition. The first were made up of formalist sculptors (those who supported formalism), oriented towards the production/processing of various aspects of form in the creation of sculpture art. The second group were sculptors who incorporated various traditional aspects of sculpture in their works.
This dispute hinged upon the original theme of the exhibition: 1973 Modern Sculptures Exhibition. The formalist sculptors who identified themselves as modernist sculptors declared that traditionalist sculptures—i.e. sculptures with tradition-related attributes–could not be categorized as modernist sculptures and were therefore ineligible for inclusion in this exhibition. To avoid cancellation, G. Sidharta and But Muchtar strove to look for a plausible solution. They were concerned that the formalist sculptors might withdraw from this exhibition, which was initiated by Dewan Kesenian Jakarta (Jakarta Art Council) and sponsored by Pertamina. The two sculptors finally found a workable solution, changing the topic of the exhibition into “Indonesian Contemporary Art Exhibition”. Their attempt paid off.
We must admit that the term “contemporary” as used in this exhibition is not the same as our current understanding of “contemporary”. This term is already known and has been used within the development of modern art. It began with a debate in the 1960s, on how to determine whether a certain work, by a certain artist/creator within the scope of modern art, was worthy to be part of a museum’s collection. ‘Problem is, the artist would still be alive. In those days, convention dictated that an artist must have been dead for at least ten years for their works to be considered for inclusion in a museum’s collection–in those days, museums only displayed pre-modern works, or early modern art works (naturalism, realism, impressionism) at best.
Supporters of modern art felt that museums must also show (collect) modern art works that demonstrated the most current development of the time, even when the artists were still alive. In other words, museums must display contemporary art works; showing “current” developments in the world of art, and works by living artists. As such, the term “contemporary” began to carry with it the meaning of “current-ness” (“present-ness) and “living artists”. Their attempt worked. Picasso and Salvador Dali were amongst those long-lived artists who managed to witness the inclusion of many of their works in various museums.
Thus, at first, the understanding of “contemporary art” can be identified as an understanding of “modern art”. This term circulated with the controversy surrounding [the aforementioned] museum conventions and the push to change it–and it faded away when this issue ended. This understanding also became the foundation for the theme of the 1973 exhibition of Indonesian Contemporary Sculptures. An agreement could be reached thanks to the fuzziness surrounding the term “contemporary art”. Then, this particular term contained an understanding of modern art, but the standards (current-ness and living artists) carried a general interpretation.
However, the role of the 1973 exhibition of Indonesian Contemporary Sculptures in the development of Indonesian contemporary art did not stop at the introduction of the term “contemporary”. The exhibition was held in Taman Ismail Marzuki. It was presented in a large scale, comparable to the Jakarta Biennial for paintings, held since 1970. This sculptures exhibition is [still] considered phenomenal since it displayed formalist sculptures as well as ‘heritage sculptures’ (i.e. sculptures influenced by traditionalist framework), despite the fact that within modernism, ‘tradition’ and ‘modernity’ are seen as contradictory.
This trait demonstrates the difference between Indonesian modern art development and the development of modern art based on modernist discourses. Such an attribute is not a mere coincidence. It has also reflected the characteristics of Pusat Kesenian Taman Ismail Marzuki (TIM, Ismail Marzuki Art Center) in the 1970s. These characteristics were established by the Jakarta Art Council, which at that time was known as the Art Council under the “Umar Khayam Regime” (the term “regime” was given by Umar Khayam himself, as a criticism of the development of the Art Center).
The Jakarta Art Center-Taman Ismail Marzuki was established in the early 1970s. The idea was to develop a wide variety of artistic creativity (not limited to fine artists). The then Governor of Jakarta, Ali Sadikin, guaranteed the artists their freedom to perform any sort of experiment. Ali Sadikin promised to step forward in defense should the public rallied against any allegedly improper or unseeming results of artistic experimentation. Furthermore, Ali Sadikin supported the artists’ avant-garde enthusiasm by providing subsidies for any artistic activities at Taman Ismail Marzuki (TIM). The art center’s golden age ended when Ali Sadikin completed his tenure as Governor of Jakarta.
In the 1970s, TIM did not merely follow the ‘blue print’ provided by Ali Sadikin. In addition to the promotion of avant-gardism, the Umar Khayam Regime also promoted traditionalist-art, even amalgamating it with the avant-garde spirit. This led to, amongst others, the creation of Indonesian contemporary dance, through works by Sardono W. Kusumo. At that time, the Art Council also popularized folk arts such as Srimulat, and traditional art-forms like the East Javanese Ludruk. They also presented Rhoma Irama’s brand of dangdut music–and it was through this time that “dangdut” became a popular and recognizable genre. Within current scholarship, Umar Khayam’s vision–which has enriched TIM’s array of presentations and programs–is seen as a demonstration of a particularly post-modernist outlook, one that is recognized as the basis of contemporary art.[i]
Thus, the idea behind the 1973 exhibition of Indonesian Contemporary Sculptures, which gave rise to a number of differences in opinion, was somewhat planned. Generally speaking, sculpture, together with architecture and performance art, can be seen as branches of art with clear universal attributes. These three art forms exist in both past and current developments of art. Their practices show various similarities which allows for mediation; as occurring in Picasso’s expansion of abstract sculptures based on African primitive sculptures. Such mediation have also allowed sculptures by G. Sidharta and Amrus Natalsya to be imbued with mythology and various traditional symbolism.
Khayam did not merely promote tradition–he wasn’t a traditionalist who viewed tradition as superior, or the be all end all. Khayam was a scholar and cultural observer who, with open-mindedness and deliberate consciousness, promoted avant-gardism as envisioned by Ali Sadikin. It is noted that through his programs, he has helped foster the development of literature, theater, and music. In the field of art, in the 70s, TIM introduced Gerakan Seni Rupa Baru (New Art Movement) in 1974/75. Within the current framework, this Movement is seen to mark the emergence of contemporary art in Indonesia, as well as one of the early signs of the emergence of contemporary art in the 1970s outside of Europe and the US.[ii]
The New Art Movement which emerged at TIM was a result of various disputes between the most prominent art academies in Indonesia at that time: ASRI (Akademi Seni Rupa Indonesia, Indonesian Art Academy), and the Art Department of ITB (Institut Teknologi Bandung, Bandung Institute of Technology). The disputes between instructors/scholars of these two institutions were related to the difference in vision regarding the development of Indonesian art.
To examine the connection between the early indicators of contemporary art and sculpture, we must look at the emergence of installation art pieces at various New Art Movement exhibitions (between 1975-1979). In that period, the term “installation” was still foreign to the Indonesian art scene. Even within European and US art development, this term was still rather obscure–not popular enough merit the status as a medium of expression.
The installations at these New Art Movement exhibitions came out of the Sculpture Studio at ITB’s Art Department, chaired by But Muchtar and G. Sidharta. At that time, art critic Sanento Yuliman who tutored the “Review of Sculpture” class in this studio, began questioning the development of sculpture that has cast its base aside, in order to fully manifest within an actual space. This formed the basis of installations where a sculpture or a construction of various sculptural components became less distanced from the public—becoming closer to the public–when displayed in an exhibition space.
This development happened in parallel with the development of global art. The aspects and the term “installation” within the global art development began in sculpture art as well. It emerged at the end of the 1960′s, with the appearance of ‘weird sculptures’ by minimalist sculptors Robert Morris and Eva Hesse.
The term “installation” is derived from Robert Morris’s 1968 works. The title “Installation” did not point to any particular media concept. It was intended to reflect the glorification of technological advancement. This was a common occurrence amongst the American society at that time, sparked by the spread of various technological achievements that finally managed to unveil the mysteries of outer space and proved various scientific theories. It was during this period that the famous director Stanley Kubrick made his film, “2001: A Space Odyssey”.
Robert Morris’s “Installation” works were comprised of pieces of colored fabrics placed inside an exhibition space, hung on walls with their ends spilling towards the floor, as though melting. This aspect of cultivating an ‘actual space’ emerged because in addition to being a sculptor, Robert Morris also developed an interest in choreography and was often involved in creating sets for theater. As such, he was deeply aware of the existence of actual spaces.[iii]
His works were harshly attacked (and not just criticized) by Michael Fried, an eminent critic and historian. In Fried’s opinion, Morris’s “Installation” pieces were no longer pure. Fried accused Morris’s works as being compromised by his work in stage/set design and influenced by dance, which bore no connection whatsoever with art. This perception surfaced because Fried was aware of Morris’s other interests outside the art world (there was a note describing that Robert Morris worked as a choreographer as well).
The basis of Michael Fried’s attack is the debate on minimalism, which was a major issue at that time. Minimalist artists like famous sculptor Donald Judd and painter Elsworth Kelly–as well as Robert Morris–believed that their minimalist works served to interpret a certain conviction within modernist discourses in search of the essence of art. Their geometric forms became the locale to search this essence in.
However, this concept failed to appease modernist critics who saw geometrism as a simplistic conclusion. Amongst these critics, Michael Fried was one of the more vocal in his scathing attacks against minimalist works. And in this way, he saw an opportunity to deal a further blow to minimalism through Robert Morris’s works.
He committed a faux-pas by connecting the question of actual space–a natural extension in sculpture–with theater space, and thus declaring such works as an impure practice. Furthermore, he used Morris’s title “Installation” as a derogatory term to mock these impure works.
Entering the 1970s, more artists began to create works that consciously went against the principles of purity as upheld by modernist critics. Here, works that actively involve actual space grew in popularity amongst young artists, presented as a sign of rebellion. Theatricality, the very thing that Fried criticized, gained momentum, was further developed and discussed. New media works, video art, performance art, specific site structures, etc also appeared during this period. The term “installation” was adopted by the artists not just to indicate/describe works that showed and embraced actual space. More importantly, this term was consciously popularized as a mockery against Michael Fried and other modernist critics, in order to rile them up.[iv]
From the notes above, we can say that the development of contemporary art is seen to involve indications of sculpture art “expansion”. Our current contemporary sculpture exhibition, for example, does not limit its participants to sculptors. In previous developments, painting was considered as keynote in art development, and as such, the whole development of sculpture as an art form had been made to correspond with the development of painting. When sculpture entered the discussion of actual spaces, there existed no concept within painting to accurately describe and examine this phenomenon. It finally led to the freedom of sculpture, which brought about a great wave of change; the birth of contemporary art.
[i] It is not to say that this vision does not have a foundation in global discourse. Heinrich Klotz, who introduced the term “post-modern” through an exhibition he curated–“Post Modern Architecture” at the New York Museum of Modern Art at the end of 1960′s–interpreted the postmodern condition as a new condition which demonstrates the dissolution of boundaries separating modern art and ethnic art.
[ii] Amongst others are studies by Melisssa Chiu, Amanda Katherine Rath (US), Sue Ingham, John Clark (Australia), T.K. Sabapathy (Singapore), and Patrick Flores (Philippines).
[iii] Walker. A. John. Art Since Pop. Thames & Hudson. London. 1975. Hal.18-31.
[iv] Re: Post” Hal Foster. in Art After Modernism: Rethinking Representation. Wallis Brian (ed). The Museum of Contemporary Art. New York. 1984. Hal 189-201.
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