Hong Kong—Pearl Lam Galleries is pleased to present Stitching Stories, the first solo exhibition of Indonesian artist Gatot Pujiarto (b. 1970) in Hong Kong. The exhibition showcases 10 of Pujiarto’s works, exploring abnormalities, weirdness and tragedy with inspiration from uncommon events or occurrences in everyday life.
Born in Malang, East Java, Indonesia, Pujiarto graduated from The Faculty of Fine Art and Design IKIP Malang. He trained as a painter but his practice has since developed into collage, using paint, paper, thread and textile. Pujiarto’s works are narrative and figurative. Metaphor is often used in order to communicate a story, criticism, or observation of society or moral issues.
Pujiarto “stitches” his stories together, taking elements from his everyday experiences and surrounding occurrences. These stories, preserved in the artist’s memory, remain there until they ‘tickle’ his fancy. Pujiarto then takes them and embeds them into his works through the perspective, techniques, and language of expression that he normally uses. Sometimes the stories are trivial and common; more often they are abnormal and unusual, and they are often overlooked. Pujiarto believes that these stories need to be highlighted and retold. When the stories are stitched, bundled and combined, the audience responds emotionally to the work. As early as 2008, Pujiarto started using fabric/textiles in his works to tell his stories. Stitching the fabrics onto the works becomes his way of “stitching” his stories. The fabrics are patched on, cut, pasted on, braided or torn. They are used to create forms with stitches, provide highlight, or act as outlines of forms. After his residency in Bandung in 2011, the artist started producing his tapestry works.
Pujiarto’s works often depict the irrationality of human behaviour. In one of the featured works, Spooky, Pujiarto tries to visualise the superstition of volcanic eruptions in Javanese culture. The work was created during the eruption of the Kelud Mountain in East Java where people often link mountain eruptions with mystical happenings. Interpreting volcanic eruptions as signs of anger from devils, people provide offerings to prevent hauntings and curses. Textile and thread are the dominant medium in this work, mimicking the drawing of lines and the contours of man.
Another exhibition highlight is Air and Water Pollution, which Pujiarto created to express his feelings towards the degradation of the environment. Textile and thread are densely packed on canvas, creating a cluster of mountain-like and root-like features. As a result of human activities, the degradation of the environment has been intensifying in recent decades, while the artist feels that little effort has been made to improve or fix the situation. This is a significant yet overlooked phenomenon from which the artist has drawn inspiration.
About Gatot Pujiarto
Gatot Pujiarto was born in 1970 in Malang, East Java, Indonesia and graduated from the Department of Fine Art and Design at IKIP Malang in 1995. Currently, he lives and works in Malang.
Pujiarto’s works explore abnormalities, weirdness, and tragedy. Inspired by uncommon events or occurrences in everyday life, including stories heard from friends, TV shows, and the news, Pujiarto’s works amuse and provoke audiences to reinterpret daily stories as a new reality, to enjoy them through evoking new emotions. The visual sensation in his works is combined with the unique textures that are created by pasting, patching, layering, tearing, binding, and by making fabric patterns.
Pujiarto utilises a distinctive collage and weathering technique on fabric, which is either applied on canvas or installed in the form of a tapestry. The bare threads and weave of cloth are revealed for his viewers’ scrutiny. The broken cloth acts as a metaphor for the distress of man’s action upon nature: negative, confused and counterproductive to the overarching aim of world harmony. Bare tendrils accumulate to form the skeletal structure of the original cloth, reminding us through nostalgia of what it had originally been.
Pujiarto has been widely exhibited throughout Indonesia and internationally. Recent exhibitions include the solo exhibition Masquerade of Life (2015), Pearl Lam Galleries, Singapore; Shout—Indonesian Contemporary Art (2014), Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Roma (MACRO), Rome, Italy; Indonesian Contemporary Fiber Art (2012), ArtOne New Museum, Jakarta, Indonesia; and Jatim Art Now (2012), National Gallery of Indonesia, Jakarta, Indonesia.
About Pearl Lam Galleries
Founded by Pearl Lam, Pearl Lam Galleries is a driving force within Asia's contemporary art scene. With over 20 years of experience exhibiting Asian and Western art and design, it is one of the leading and most established contemporary art galleries to be launched out of China. Playing a vital role in stimulating international dialogue on Chinese and Asian contemporary art, the Galleries is dedicated to championing artists who re-evaluate and challenge perceptions of cultural practice from the region. The Galleries in Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Singapore collaborate with renowned curators, each presenting distinct programming from major solo exhibitions, special projects, and installations to conceptually rigorous group shows. Based on the philosophy of Chinese Literati where art forms have no hierarchy, Pearl Lam Galleries is dedicated to breaking down boundaries between different disciplines, with a unique gallery model committed to encouraging cross-cultural exchange.
Contemporary Chinese Abstract art is heavily represented in the Galleries roster. Influential Chinese artists Zhu Jinshi and Su Xiaobai, who synthesise Chinese sensibilities with an international visual language, are presented internationally with work now included in major private and public collections worldwide. The Galleries has also introduced leading international artists such as Leonardo Drew, Jenny Holzer, Carlos Rolón/Dzine and Yinka Shonibare MBE to markets in the region, providing opportunities for new audiences in Asia to encounter their work. Pearl Lam Galleries encourages international artists to create new work which engages specifically with the region-collaborating to produce thought-provoking, culturally relevant work.