Monday, December 24, 2007

A Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

The Management of Rumah Seni Yaitu and his friends
wish you a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year 2008.
Many thanks for joining us during the year 2007
and through arts may we bring happiness and prosperity.

We're closed from December 24, 2007 through January 6, 2008.
Please feel free to visit at Monday, January 7, 2008.
Open daily except holidays: 10am-5pm.

Coming soon:
"New Light on Batik Lasem"
We will have a deep discussion with Mr William Kwan,
a researcher of Batik Lasem.
February 2008.

Thank you,
The Management

Friday, December 14, 2007

Fat Ass Artist

TUESDAY morning: December 11, 2007. EddiE haRA, the artist who is now living in Basel, Switzerland, dropped to RSY. He has been in Indonesia for a few weeks relating to his solo exhibition – titled “Global Warming, Cool Art!”, December 5 through 18, 2007– at Nadi Gallery, Jakarta. Enin Supriyanto is the curator of it. Expressing his closed-friendship to the artist, who is still look like a sitting-buddha, Enin wrote: Long live, you, fat ass artist!

I talked with the Salatiga – Central Java – born artist for hours. It was very great to speak to him. He speaks in the way Javanese priyayi (middle class well-educated people) always do: speaking slowly – not in a hurry – and polite. The way he speaks is quite different to his performance: wearing t-shirt and three-quarter loose pants, having an earing in his left-ear, and completed with red shoes. Old punk daddy. But now his head is not bold anymore. One thing is clear: his hair becoming silver. Sign: mature.

Then we had brunch: tahu pong. Tahu is beancurd. Pong is empty. Means: chruncy fried beancurd. This is a local dishes: fried beancurd served with garlic-sweet-kechup. Yummy.

After having meals we went to see a leading local art-collector. Such collector is usually called as ‘kolekdol’. Etymologically ‘kolekdol’ derives from ‘koleksi’ (means: to collect in Bahasa) and ‘dodolan’ (means: selling in Javanese). Kolekdol is a person who does collecting art works and in the same time selling them again. Just money-earning-oriented. In short, not a ‘pure’ art-collector. Aha, the term is specifically Indonesian.

But let’s talk about EddiE’s latest art-works. For more than centuries he is hoped by art critic and art lovers to change his childish iconic visual into something new and fresh. And this time is happened. Thank God. Though his new works are not entirely different than the old ones but now EddiE seems more enjoy with monocromatic colors. He puts stressing the objects with outlines. Rather simple. And more elegance.

Good luck, EddiE haRA. And allow me to rewrite (again) Enin’s phrase: Long live, you, fat ass artist!***

Thursday, December 13, 2007

No, No Blank Spot!

Photography: Goenadi Haryanto

Though no crowd – it means: less audiences – but the opening night (Friday, December 7th, 2007) was great. I talked about “Blank Spot” photo exhibition. Some hearted art-lovers, RSY’s friends, and students enjoyed the photos. And some of them stayed patiently until the artist talk session finished.

Mr Tjahjono Rahardjo, lecturer of Urban and Environment, Post-Graduate Programme, Soegijapranata Chatolic University, gave his notes on the Semarang Old Town. It was a Dutch colonial living area but now many all of its buildings were emptied and have no significant functions.

“By exploring this area, just on foot, we can learn different architectural styles,” said Mr Rahardjo. The area was built during 1880 to 1930’s. He also described the political lives related to this area during the Soekarno’s reign, Soeharto’s dictatorship, and now in the Reformasi Era.

It seems that there are no enough attentions how to handle this wonderful area where many old buildings still existed. In fact, only little are used and cared properly.

But in other part of his speech, Mr Rahardjo did not agree to the term ‘blank spot’ used as the title of the exhibition. According to him, this area still existed and attracted so much attentions from Government, in short: abundant of money were poured down. But nothing developed well, I claim.

The ‘blank spot’ curatorial framework based on thoughts: the area is between existed nor in-existed for the reasons no significant development implemented there.

Five photographers who are taking part to this exhibition show their multifaceted pictures. Agus Leonardus, famous photographer and a lecturer worked at Yogyakarta, makes interesting metaphor to this Old Town. He only show single picture: there are dozens people – actually the same person – are sleeping on the road in front of Gereja Blenduk (simply as Round Church) which is a landmark of the cityscape. He critizises the local government included citizens which are not awaken.

Goenadi Haryanto, Hendro Wasito, and William Wong pick up the reality they found in the area. The senior photographer Goenadi Haryanto, known as a leading one in Indonesian photo salon community, visualized his observation on the street lamp related to and important for the safety reasons. This Jakarta based photographer thinks as if the area were unsafe.

The night scene really underlines the term ‘blank spot’ and Hendro Wasito, an amateur photographer but a leading Semarang art collector, tells us how tranquil the area is. Almost none activities found in the night and in some terraces of old buildings there are many homeless laying down embracing their dreams. Wasito clearly shows his position to people who are oppressed and do not get enough care from others.

William Wong’s dozens photos of doors and windows are definitely signs of destruction. Those are left alone and imply both government and citizens never care of them. Indeed, some are extremely good looking.

Wearing traditional Javanese costume Ferintus Karbon walked alone in the area and thought he was a lost tourist. Not only as a humble tourist but he also underlines being a Javanese in the Dutch colonial area. Moreover he seems criticize the government programme, that is Semarang Pesona Asia. This programme was politically arranged by the Mayor to attract foreign tourists coming to Semarang. Frankly speaking this programme was not as successful as it is claimed by the government.

In short, this photo exhibition brings a different point of view on the Old Town. And it shows that photography is not only means of recording but also as a media expressing ideas.***