The thought behind this exhibition as suggested in its title, “Fermented in Indonesia,” is to showcase the unique characteristics of Indonesian contemporary art through works of 7 leading Indonesian contemporary artists from many different generations, different genres, and different medias, to give a better understanding of what Indonesian contemporary art is.
As we know, fermentation is a very important process in wine making. Through fermentation we are not only processing grape juice into wine, but at the same time we develop the unique characteristics and taste of the wine. The place where this fermentation process takes place will determine the unique character of wine from that place, because the kind of bacteria involved in fermentation is different from place to place.
I think the same logic also applies to the development of contemporary art in different regions in the world, including Indonesia. Local flavors and characteristics of contemporary art in Indonesia are the result of a long cultural fermentation process strongly influenced by the local tradition as well as cultural, social, politic, economic, educative and geographical conditions, media and technology.
In my opinion, what truly triggered the fermentation process in Indonesian contemporary art was our own perspective towards western civilization. For centuries, the West has shown their superior quality in many different fields, in politics, economics, science, culture and also art. They were becoming a global standard of what is good and what is not in many different fields, including art, and many people in many countries, including Indonesia adore and idolize western art and culture.
This adoration towards the West has inspired a continuous pursuit for many Indonesian artists to be equal with their fellow artists in the West. In this situation, we always look at western art as our main reference, but due to the different way of thinking and cultural background, we can't completely understand the thoughts and philosophy behind it. As an attempt to catch up with western art, we created art that may look familiar to western eyes, but based on the local philosophy and mentality. Unwittingly, we found our own unique form of art. In my opinion this is the fermentation process that formed Indonesian contemporary art.
In this show, one can witness the results of this fermentation through the works of 7 leading Indonesian contemporary artists. They are Made Wianta, Heri Dono, Nasirun, Entang Wiharso, Angki Purbandono, Indieguerillas and Edwin Roseno.