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On Asphalt
by Nanzuka
Location: NANZUKA
Artist(s): Jopmet KUSWIDANANTO
Date: 24 Nov - 23 Dec 2012

NANZUKA is pleased to announce Indonesian artist Jompet Kuswidananto’s (b.1976) first solo exhibition in Japan, to feature new works by the artist.

Indonesia is a vast nation home to a mix of religions, from Buddhism to Islam and Christianity, and bosts a population of over 230 million people whose varied ethnic roots trace back to Java, Sumatra, and Bali. The history includes a 350-year long period of colonization by the Dutch and several revolutions. Kuswidananto’s works are heavily colored by his country’s past, in which many different ethnicities, histories, and religions intertwine in a complex manner.

For instance, Long March Java, one of the major pieces from his “Java’s Machine” series, which Kuswidananto has been working on since 2008 and which reflects the society, history, and culture of the Javanese people, depicts an interpretation of the old Indonesian story of a woman of royalty who has set out on a long journey by horse to marry into a different ethnic group. In another instance, his film War of Java captures a performance that expresses the history of how the Javanese tradition of manipulating light and fire through mystical powers was utilized by the Dutch during the period of colonization and swallowed up by modern industry.

Kuswidananto’s interests focus on the interplay between differing cultures and contexts, and whether new relationships are built therein. His view raises the issue of future modalities as a common issue among people throughout the world, embroiled as we are in globalism.

Kuswidananto’s works remind us of universal questions – where do we come from, where are we going? – in a pure and powerful way. Kuswidananto speaks of “no longer needing to have mass appeal”, and the viewer, standing before his mechanical, moving works produced with his command of a variety of techniques, senses a strong energy born toward the future.

On display at the upcoming exhibition will be a new installation inspired by the musical culture cultivated by the great road Pantura that extends 1000km along the northern coast of Java, built by the Dutch in 1808 during the colonization. It was the people living along the banks of the Pantura who produced this very special genre of music. Gallery viewers experience the complex modern culture of Indonesia through the sounds, moving images, and poems that make up this piece.

Of the exhibition, Kuswidananto says: “Upon the asphalt, culture is left behind, and remains. It is restless, and it endures.”

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