Arndt Art Agency
2019_So Far So Close
Born 1967 in Tegal, Central Java, Indonesia - Lives and works in Rhode Island, USA and Yogyakarta, Indonesia
In Entang Wiharso’s work the artist’s own personal experiences are embedded with a strong examination of the predominant socio-political conditions of his home country. To him, creating work is a way of understanding the human condition, of heightening our ability to perceive, feel and understand human problems like love, hate, fanaticism, religion, and ideology. “I depict the condition of humans who are often divided by complex, multilayered political, ethnic, racial, and religious systems: they co-exist yet their communication is limited and indirect. Figures are interconnected by intuitive as well as intellectual linkages, including ornamental vegetation, tongues, tails, intestines, animal skin patterns, fences and detailed landscapes.“ (Entang Wiharso, 2011).
Born 1980 in Montalban, Philippines - Lives and works in Bulacan, Philippines
At the heart of Rodel Tapaya’s work is his ongoing amalgamation of folk narrative and contemporary reality within the framework of memory and history. Utilizing a range of media — from large acrylic on canvasses to an exploration of under-glass painting, traditional crafts, diorama, and drawing — Tapaya filters his observations of the world through folktales and pre-colonial historical research, creating whimsical montages of his characters.
Each work has its origin in Tapaya’s reflections on a particular time or place that possesses an enduring resonance, from its correspondence with the formalistic and psychological implication of the grid in his earlier works to protracted ventures which excavate and interpret myth and folk aesthetics. Inherent in the work is a tension between objective investigations of art and the subjectivity of perception and experience, providing his work with an enigma that comes from the impossibility to paint a story without revealing inflections made by the painter’s hand.
Born 1977 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia - Lives and works in Yogyakarta, Indonesia
Eko Nugroho is one of the most acclaimed members of the young generation of Indonesian contemporary artists. He is part of the generation that came to maturity during the period of upheaval and reform that occurred in the wake of the 1997 Asian financial crisis, the subsequent fall of the Suharto regime and the transition to democracy in Indonesia.Nugroho is deeply engaged with the culture of his time and is committed to making socio-political commentary in his work.
Nugroho grew up in Java and resides in one of the island’s major art centres, Yogyakarta. His works are grounded in both local traditions and global popular culture. In particular, he has cited the influence of traditional batik and embroidery styles. There is of course also a powerful inspiration from contemporary street art, graffiti and comics.
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ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Born 1978, Quetta, Pakistan - Lives and works in Sydney, Australia
After growing up in Pakistan as a refugee, Afghan artist Khadim Ali was trained in classical miniature painting at the National College of Arts in Lahore and in mural painting and calligraphy in Tehran.
Rich in traditional and modern motifs of Eastern and Western art-historical references, Ali’s paintings tell stories about loss (of his own cultural heritage and of human values) and about how meaning shifts as words and images are twisted through ideological adoption. Ali’s recent work focuses on the relationship of Afghanistan to refugees who have relocated to his home country. Following the style of miniature painting, specifically that which uses the technique of neem rang (half-colour), Ali employs traditional production methods.
The exhibition „Far Away So Close!“ features works by 4 South- and South East Asia Artists: Khadim Ali from Afghanistan and Sydney, Eko Nugroho and Entang Wiharso from Indonesia and Rodel Tapaya from the Philippines.
With the title borrowed from German Film Director Wim Wenders´ Fantasy Film „Far Away So Close!“ and the song the Rockband U2 contributed to the soundtrack, the main topic of this presentation is Distance and Proximity. In 1993 when the film came to the movies, the western world was still Euro-US-Focused - the end of the cold war, German re-unification and the new times and freedom in the countries of the former Iron curtain. Our today's Geography and Geopolitical situation has changed fundamentally and our focus shifted from the US and Europe towards the „new“ countries, markets and cultural landscapes in the Asian-Pacific Region. The question about where the Center ends and and where the Periphery starts is being re-defined as we speak. And who says, there is only one center and what does „periphery“ mean? The debate has just begun.
In Contemporary Art, some of the most dynamic new areas and creative centers are in South- and South East Asia. Whilst extremely successful in their home markets from the very beginning, it took nearly a decade and the groundwork of few professionals promoting South- and South East Asia Art, putting it into a larger context, for the larger global audience to acknowledge this new art landscapes.
Afghanistan, Indonesia and the Philippines, where the 4 protagonists of this exhibition are from, are no longer far away, from the Western and Pacific perspective. In regards to physical distance and in regards to these countries presence in the global media - our politics, economies and our stories, therefore our cultures are interwoven. South- and South East Asia, with almost one billion people, not only represent a substantial part of the worlds population. They also represent the youngest societies - so our present and our future is potentially connected - not "far away, but so close".
Each of the four artists in the show deal both with their own regional culture, ancient myths and the manyfold issues in today´s life in Afghanistan, Indonesia and the Philippines. Their work is politically engaged, critical and community driven and at the same time the artists find their own expression and unique voice in the chorus of the current global discourse in the Contemporary Art. The artist communities and professionals within South- and South East Asia start to collaborate and exchange ideas, concepts and most important share their dynamics in order to build a stronger network within this most dynamic art landscape.
South East Asian Art, is getting its recognition and exposure in the West, notably with the nomination of the Indonesian Artist Collective ruangrupa, as Artistic Directors of the next Documenta Exhibition in 2022 -
„Far Away So Close!“ acknowledges and celebrates this growing momentum with four of the leading artists from South- and South East Asia.
FAR AWAY SO CLOSE! Curated presentation of selected works from South- and South East Asia
Khadim Ali, Eko Nugroho, Rodel Tapaya, Entang Wiharso
04.03.2019 - 19.04.2019