2 Jun – 8 Jul 2001


Nindityo Adipurnomo, Arahmaiani, Heri Dono, Eddie Hara, Hanura Hosea, Samuel Indratma, Bunga Jeruk, Apotik Komik, Agung Kurniawan, Krisna Murti, Tisna Sanjaya, Agus Suwage, S TeddyD, Popok Tri Wahyudi

AWAS! ('Watch Out!' - 'Beware!') is an overview of recent developments in contemporary Indonesian art, reflecting the extreme shifts in the political, economic and cultural landmarks in Indonesia's complex society.

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Sensational news of revolts, riots and political chaos placed the archipelago firmly on the stage of world events on 21 May 1998. After more than 30 years in power, President Soeharto stepped down. Gradually, something that closely resembled a democracy and new forms of freedom of speech took shape, but not without its fair share of even more confusing chaos and a merciless, multi-facetted crisis. The country is still teetering perilously on the edge of the abyss.

AWAS! gives an impression of the art created during this time and of the extent to which these factors impacted upon and 'infected' the exhibiting artists. Indonesia is the globe's fourth most densely populated country, with a plethora of languages, peoples and religions.

Contemporary Indonesian art insists on being judged by the same standards as European or American art. The artists respond to both international trends and the local culture, drawing on modern and traditional idioms. The works reflect both personal and socio-political involvement, questioning individual and cultural identity. The humour and narrative structure echo the country's still vibrant oral tradition. In all parts of the world, art is a language that strives to communicate with a public.

The 14 artists, ranging in age from 22 to 40, present their view of the world in a way at once highly energetic and erudite - first a glimpse of the local confusion that is then tested against universal principles. Bizarrely jingling sound installations, ironic perceptions of the colonial past: 'Oh beautiful Dutch East Indies'. The residue of an installation set alight by the state after it's erection in front of a government building. A video in which the audience at a performance scrawl words over a woman (the artist). A painter who paints himself as an actor among porn stars. Beware! - this is contemporary Indonesian art. A multiplicity of meanings, media and talent.

The exhibition was curated by M. Dwi Marianto, Mella Jaarsma (Indonesia), Damon Moon (Australia) and Alexandra Kuss (Germany). The exhibition was organised by the Cemeti Art Foundation in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. For Europe, the Cemeti Art Foundation is working with the Walter Spies Society in Cologne, Germany.

During the opening, an English edition of the book 'OUTLET' will be presented and on sale. The publication is an overview of contemporary art in Yogyakarta, published by the Cemeti Art Foundation in collaboration with the Prins Claus Fonds. On Wednesday 6 June from 16.00 - 18.00, there will be an Artists' Talk with five of the artists taking part in AWAS!: Agus Suwage, Bunga Jeruk, Krisna Murti, Eddie Hara and Hanura Hosea. The co-curator, Alexandra Kuss, will introduce the talk, which will be in English.

The exhibition will then travel to the Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst in Achen (10 August - 30 September 2001) and to the Kunstforum Elisabeth, Berlin (8 December - 10 January 2002).

With Thanks to
Gemeente Amsterdam, Mondriaan Stichting, Prins Claus Fonds, HIVOS, Walter Spies Society (Keulen), Cemeti Art Foundation (Yogyakarta) en P&O Nedlloyd (Jakarta).