The works above (and others) are currently included in Josh Smith/Franz West at Neon Parc, 1/53 Bourke Street, Melbourne, until August 4th.
Leg of Lamb recently hung out with Mulyakarya, a young artist collective established in Jogjakarta in 2007 by artists Sandy Yudha and Danang Catur. Mulyakarya combine diverse sensibilities and interests and their projects often take different forms. The collective produce a variety of comics and other easily published materials like posters, stickers and woodcuts and regularly support the publication of work by local alternative artists. Their practice is characterised by a strong sense of community, with projects often inspired by and made in collaboration with local groups.
For last year’s Yogyakarta Biennale Mulykarya presented the Kring Eaaa project; a suite of free comics that posed the question; ‘What makes Jogja special?’. Rather than take an overtly political approach, Mulykarya wove anecodotal interviews with locals into narratives that addressed broader themes of diversity and tolerance. These publications were intended for a ‘non-art’ audience, and were distributed at bus and train stations across the city.
Mulyakarya also work a lot with young people. They’ve storyboarded and produced a play in collaboration with local primary school students about dengue fever, held costume-making workshops transforming trash into remarkable costumes for Jogja Art Fair and created a float for the Jogja Java Carnival.
What makes the collective so inspiring is their generosity. Mulyakarya make art that directly relates to the experience of those around them. Not only that, they aim to enrich and improve the lives of others. Needless to say, theirs is a selflessness not seen often enough in contemporary art practice.
Mami Kataoka, Chief Curator at the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo has been announced as the judge of this year’s Walters Prize. She is also an associate curator at the Hayward Gallery in London and was one of the six curators of this year’s Gwangju Biennale. Kataoka’s an exciting choice, so it’s a pity that she doesn’t have a more inspiring list of finalists to choose from.
Leg of Lamb recently visited the home of one of Jogja’s leading younger artists, Wedhar Riyadi. Born in the early 1980s, Riyadi lived through the political and social upheaval that eventually led to the post-Suharto transition to democracy in Indonesia. It’s no surprise then that his work carries within it a strong sense of social critique. Anthropomorphised piles of sticks and stones with beady eyes appear regularly, and he uses these quirky symbols to comment on the historical undercurrent of violence in Indonesian culture, where these seemingly innocuous objects are sometimes used as weapons.
Riyadi’s currently working on three paintings that will appear in the forthcoming Asia Pacific Triennial at GOMA in Brisbane this December. The works combine a photo-realist background (using old family photographs found at a local market as a starting point) with the artist’s signature troupe of googly eyed entities. The sketches for the works – like the one above – convey the artist’s mastery of technique. These mock-ups are in themselves gripping; something about their small scale and the delicate rendering of their facial obstructions makes them all the more odd and strangely intimate.
Berlin-based Iranian artist Leila Pazooki recently completed a four month residency at Langgeng Art Foundation in Yogyakarta, the result of which is Magical Thoughts, a solo exhibition at Langgeng of new sculptures and installations. Amongst pairings of neon and glass pieces that recall the work of Dan Flavin and Louise Bourgeois respectively is ‘Forest of Memories’, an homage to Javanese decorative arts. Pazooki has collected an array of carved rafters from traditional Javanese homes and re-installed them vertically, like totems (drawing immediate analogies for me with Aboriginal Tiwi poles). This simple reconfiguration highlights the artistry of the objects – now sculptures in their own right. Unfortunately they’ve been further modified by the artist – she’s repainted some, and added new appendages (like carved pineapples) to others. These embellishments are unnecessary, and dilute what could have been both a powerful and sympathetic statement on the disappearance of traditional handiwork from contemporary Javanese homes.
Leila Pazooki, Magical Thoughts, at Langgeng Art Foundation, Jl. Suryodiningratan 37, Yogyakarta, until August 31st.
ArtJOG, one of the biggest events in the Indonesian art calendar opens in Jogjakarta tonight. Now in its 5th year, ArtJOG presents a curated survey of contemporary Indonesian art via open call applications, commissions and special invitation. One of the invited artists this year is none other than Leg of Lamb favourite Wim Delvoye (squeal!). Above is a sneak preview of the show.