Mizuma Gallery is pleased to announce our representation of Indonesian artist, Kemalezedine.
Kemalezedine (b. 1978, Yogyakarta, Indonesia) studied at the Faculty of Fine Arts and Design of ITB, Bandung, Indonesia (1997 to 2004). Kemalezedine held his first solo exhibition in 2012 at S.14 Bandung. Since then, he has been actively participating in a number of national and international exhibitions. Kemalezedine is a part of the Nu-Abstract and Neo-Pitamaha group in Bali, which studies and experiments on Indonesian art (painting) and Balinese drawing and Balinese painting. Kemalezedine’s focus is to create and explore the world of painting- drawing. Kemalezedine lives and works in Bali, Indonesia.
“ Every artwork that I make has its own challenging moment and situation. It’s like entering a new space, a new world, a new thought process, a new touch, a new medium. From the little that you know at that point in time before you start to learn – that challenges me a lot. ”
Mizuma Gallery(MG): When did you first start making artwork?
Kemalezedine(K): It began in 2011 in Bali, with learning and thinking through many experiments. Before that, artmaking was just a hobby that I used to do on weekends.
MG: How did that lead you to become an artist? Can you talk a little about your formative years as an artist?
K: Before becoming a full-fledged artist and creating my artworks, I worked as a freelance designer, art director for TV drama programs, commercials, music videos, and a producer. But between those jobs, I liked to draw and paint for personal enjoyment during my break. I did not graduate from the faculty of fine art, as I took Industrial design at ITB (Bandung Institute of Technology).
I wanted to be a painter from a young age, because I grew up close to the Affandi Museum. One of my uncles, Helmi Azhari, studied at ISI Jogja and I learned a lot from him. At some point in Jakarta, I got bored working with other people, so I decided to quit my job, moved to Bali and started being a full-time painter. That was probably the first time I really got serious about becoming an artist and started making artworks.
MG: Can you tell us about your current artwork series?
K: My artworks focus on Balinese painting (and other art of course) which I find to be so unique in its cultivation and learning process.
In my opinion, Balinese art and culture exists across a very broad space. As a newcomer I observed art and culture in Bali from a distance, which was important in helping me see what Balinese people don’t see genealogically. This then became the subject in my work.
I often share my ideas and thoughts on how we can further explore Balinese painting with several local artists in Ubud and around Bali, from which some seem to be interested in exploring it in their works, whereas there are many who reject it. The rejection for me is an interesting thing, because if everyone agrees immediately with my thoughts, then there would be nothing to test my theories with.
MG: What do you find most challenging when you make artworks?
K: Every artwork that I make has its own challenging moment and situation. It’s like entering a new space, a new world, a new thought process, a new touch, a new medium. From the little that you know at that point in time before you start to learn – that challenges me a lot.
MG: As we know you moved from Jakarta, to Bandung, and now to Bali. How has Balinese Art influenced your artwork recently?
K: I find Bali’s visual art and culture really interesting and ‘massive’, something you can’t find in Jakarta or Bandung. I made various analyses of Balinese painting in relation to its history and technique, which will encourage new readings on how to utilise Balinese painting in my works. This becomes a new collective awareness that I share with the public. For example, the strong behaviour of drawing that dominates the works of my painting. The scope of my exploration is very wide and progressive, all from my distant observation of Balinese painting.
Generally speaking, there are two main concerns relating to Balinese painting, namely: conservation and exploration. Conservation of Balinese painting is an important need because it is from this conservation that the protection of Balinese painting as part of its cultural roots remains sustainable over the coming years. The responsibility of this conservation is on the central government and the provincial government of Bali, on how they can continue to ensure Balinese painting exists.
I also hope that new creative ideas emerge in dealing with this conservation. With the existence of conservation, exploration related to Balinese painting can be carried out by artists, not limited to Balinese artists, but also by artists outside Bali. I will learn from the historical spaces of painting, Bali and its past works in presenting the homeland in Balinese painting. Thus, this conservation and exploration is a complementary unit in developing Balinese painting. With this concept and perspective, there’s no doubt that I am really influenced by Balinese painting, and I hope to someday give back to this scene.
MG: What are you currently working on and do you have any exhibition plans for the future?
K: I am still exploring Balinese painting now, trying to look for new perspectives. I will have an exhibition at 39+ artspace in Singapore this September 8th, some art fairs and group shows next year.