The Missing Link: Exploring Tradition in Contemporary Art Practice

PRESS RELEASE     |     

Alexander Sebastianus Hartanto, Du Kun, indieguerillas, I Nyoman Arisana, Kuncir Sathya Viku, and Marcos Kueh
Curated by Hermanto Soerjanto
12 April – 12 May 2024
Vernissage: Friday, 12 April, 3pm – 7pm


Mizuma Gallery is pleased to announce The Missing Link: Exploring Tradition in Contemporary Art Practice, an exhibition curated by Hermanto Soerjanto.

As a continuation of his past project, Post Tradition: Revisiting and the Future of Balinese Painting (2023), curator Hermanto Soerjanto further explores his hypothesis that the “Post Tradition” art movement is based on a missing link in art history. Unlike the development of Western art that has a clear path in their history and advancement of human civilization from the Baroque era to the Contemporary, the development of Indonesian art took a big leap from the traditional art to the modern Western art that we adopted. In his 2023 exhibition, the curator focused on contemporary Balinese art, presenting artworks from contemporary Indonesian artists whose works are based on the tradition of Balinese art. In this exhibition, he would like to expand his discussion on the practice of “Post Tradition” to artists not only from Indonesia, but also from Malaysia and China.

Contemporary art culture has opened up a wide opportunity for the non-western society to express their own unique culture based on their roots of tradition and to be included in the global art discourse. The curator holds an opinion that we must use this momentum to build our own competitive advantage in the global art scene. We no longer live in the era of universalism in art, we live in an era that appreciates cultural diversity, and it is our obligation to contribute to the global diversity of art.

The Missing Link: Exploring Tradition in Contemporary Art Practice, an exhibition curated by Hermanto Soerjanto, will feature artworks by Alexander Sebastianus Hartanto, Du Kun, I Nyoman Arisana, indieguerillas, Kuncir Sathya Viku, and Marcos Kueh. The exhibition will run from 12 April to 12 May 2024 at Mizuma Gallery, 22 Lock Road #01-34 Gillman Barracks, Singapore 108939. The gallery will open from 11am–7pm on Tuesdays to Saturdays, and 11am–6pm on Sundays. The gallery will be closed on Mondays and Public Holidays. In conjunction with the launch of the exhibition, a vernissage will be held on Friday, 12 April 2024, 3pm to 7pm. A digital publication with images of the artworks and a text by Hermanto Soerjanto will be available.

 

About the Curator

Hermanto Soerjanto (b. 1970, Indonesia) went to Palin School of Arts & Design in Singapore and Akademi Teknik Desain Interior (ATDI) in Jakarta, Indonesia, before joining Cipta Citra advertising agency in 1994. Since then, he has built his career in the field of advertising and currently holds a position at Pantarei Communications as Chief Creative Officer. As an art collector, Hermanto Soerjanto is familiar with Indonesian artists, having spent much time conversing with them and visiting their studios. In 2008 he established GARIS Artspace, an art gallery in Jakarta showcasing works by contemporary Indonesian artists, where he organizes and curates the exhibitions on a regular basis. To date, Hermanto Soerjanto has organized several exhibitions, most notably Ethnicity Now, a group exhibition at Galeri Nasional Indonesia, Jakarta (2010), and Unveiling Fundamentals in Contemporary Art Through Asia at OHD Museum, Magelang, Indonesia (2015). Hermanto Soerjanto lives and works in Jakarta, Indonesia.

 

About the Artists

Alexander Sebastianus Hartanto (b. 1995, East Java, Indonesia) graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Fine Arts 3D) from the Massachusetts College of Art & Design, Boston, USA in 2018. Alexander uses experiential ethnographic re/search as a prominent intertwining mode of existence. His works explore the decontextualization of material cultures and how it is perceived, understood and ritualised in practice. Prior to his comparative art studies, Alexander was an apprentice for a Javanese master weaver, in East Java. Alexander has undertaken residencies at Monson Arts, Maine, USA (2018) and Haystack Mountain School of Craft, Maine, USA (2017). He was awarded the William Daley Award for Excellence in Art History and Craft (2017); and the Massachusetts College of Art & Design: Fiber Arts Departmental Honors (2018). Alexander Sebastianus Hartanto lives and works in Jakarta, Indonesia, where he works as a textile craft school developer and ethnographer at Rumah Sukkha Citta.

Du Kun (b. 1982, Sichuan, China) graduated with a BFA in Oil Painting from the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, China in 2007. Du’s works have been featured in a range of exhibitions, including: Magical Modern, Space and Gallery Association Shanghai, Shanghai, China (2023); Sights of the Mount Sumeru, Mizuma, Kips & Wada Art, New York, USA (solo, 2019); Temporal Turn: Art and Speculation in Contemporary Asia, Spencer Museum of Art, Kansas, USA (2016); Dark Songs for the Light, Du Kun and Zhao Na, Tianjin Art Museum, Tianjin, China (2014); and Made in China: Contemporary Chinese Artists, Luciano Benetton Collection, Milan, Italy (2012). Du was the Finalist in the Sovereign Asian Art Prize, Hong Kong (2020). His works are in the collection of the Spencer Museum of Art, Kansas, USA. Du Kun lives and works in Tianjin and Beijing, China.

I Nyoman Arisana (b. 1989, Bali, Indonesia) came from a family of artists in Banjar Dauh Uma, Bitera, Gianyar, Bali — his grandfather is a painter, and his father is a wood carver and maker of barong masks. Since he was ten years old, he began studying traditional Balinese painting, creating works that depicted wayang themes, barong dance, traditional markets, and everyday lives of the Balinese people. In 2008, Arisana graduated from the Art Education programme of Universitas Pendidikan Ganesha (UNDIKSHA), Singaraja, Bali, and has since been actively participating in exhibitions. In 2017, Arisana was awarded the Titian Prize organised by Yayasan Titian Bali, and became one of the finalists of UOB Painting of the Year. I Nyoman Arisana lives and works in Bali, Indonesia.

indieguerillas, founded in 1999, is a duet of artists from Yogyakarta, Indonesia. They are the couple Santi Ariestyowanti (b. 1977, Semarang) and Dyatmiko “Miko” Bawono (b. 1975, Kudus). The former has a background in visual communication design and the latter in interior design. Both are alumni of the Faculty of Art of the Indonesian Institute of the Arts in Yogyakarta (ISI Yogyakarta). In addition to their being known for their interest in folklore, indieguerillas are also recognised for their proficiency in visual effects and inter-media experimentation in their works. The unique intertwine between traditional values and contemporary culture has brought indieguerillas to numerous important exhibitions around the globe.

Kuncir Sathya Viku (b. 1990, Bali, Indonesia) graduated from Denpasar Institute of Art in 2013 with a degree in Visual Communication Design, and worked as a Graphic Designer for several years before he decided to make a path of his own. Infusing his training as a rerajahan (visual mantra) illustrator for his father – a balian (Balinese shaman), combined with his artistic experiences working with murals on the streets, Kuncir explores lines and forms that are rooted in Balinese visual language. Bringing into play his satirical wit, Kuncir composes global-local (‘glocal’) disruptions where forms are enchanted between tradition-modernity. He transmits hybrid shamanistic visuals – merging comic impressions with rerajahan traits and a touch of pop surrealism. Working across drawings, paintings and installations, Kuncir creates progressive narratives and evaluations on Balinese surrealism and ‘glocal’ social issues; often where clashes between modernity-tradition, conservative-liberal, spirituality-profanity, norms-exceptions and so forth take place. Kuncir Sathya Viku lives and works in Bali, Indonesia.

Marcos Kueh (b. 1995, Sarawak, Malaysia) is a designer who has always had a desire to better understand his place and identity as a Malaysian. He graduated with his Bachelor’s in Graphic and Textile Design from the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague in 2022. His practice is about safeguarding contemporary legends onto textiles as tools for storytelling, just as the ancestors of Borneo did with their dreams and stories, before the arrival of written alphabets from the West. Currently his artistic research is focused on evoking the presence of colonial narratives in our present-day lives and conjuring new myths to what it means to be an independent country. In 2022, he was awarded the Ron Mandos Young Blood prize for emerging artists, and his work was acquired by Museum Voorlinden in Wassenaar and Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. His work has been included in exhibitions all around the world, including in Kenyalang Circus at The Back Room, Kuala Lumpur (2023), Three Contemporary Prosperities at Galerie Ron Mandos, Amsterdam (2022); When Things Are Beings at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2022); This Far and Further at Museum Voorlinden, Wassenaar, Netherlands (2022); and Unknown Asia, Osaka, Japan (2017). He currently lives and works in The Hague.

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