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Entang Wiharso and His Exhibition

Farah Fitriani Faruq
Farah Fitriani Faruq
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Entang Wiharso and His Exhibition
Entang Wiharso and His Exhibition
Entang Wiharso is an artist who recently exhibited his works in Indonesia National Gallery. Entang is popular with his bizarre and unique way of paintings. read the review of his exhibition below, it was written by Carla Bianpoen from The Jakarta Post. A peak inside: Visitors stand in front of several of Entang Wiharso’s works on show at the National Gallery until Oct. 31. JP/Carla Bianpoen A peak inside: Visitors stand in front of several of Entang Wiharso’s works on show at the National Gallery until Oct. 31. JP/Carla Bianpoen When entering the premises of the National Gallery these days, one will first be struck by an unusual fence with images in stainless steel or resin rising up to the sky as if it was the gate to a garden of the archaic. When stepping into the exhibition hall, one is plunged into an ambience of the absurd. This is the world of Entang Wiharso (born in 1967), one of Indonesia’s foremost artist whose works have been said to evoke a sense of Dante Alighieri’s 14th century epic poem La Divina Comedia. But Indonesians will find references to the stories of Javanese warring kingdoms of about the same period of time, and to the 19th century poem by Ranggawarsito who warns of the zaman edan (the age of madness) in which he was living at the time. Entang Wiharso’s oeuvre has been driven by the madness he feels and experiences in today’s way of life — characterized by human greed, material gain, power struggles, violence, killings, murder, which art historian and researcher of South East Asian art Amanda Rath interprets as his despair watching the human condition fall into the abyss. “Love Me or Die” is the title of his solo exhibition organized by Canna Gallery at the National Gallery, presenting works that in some instances remind us of his many previous exhibitions such as  “Nusa Amuk” (2001), “Sublime Tunnel” (2004),  “I Am Black Goat” and “Black Goat is My Last Defense” (2008). One is not only confronted with bizarre images on canvas, 3-D works or installations of grotesque headless figures fighting with each other, but also reminded of the wayang (shadow puppetry) versions of the Ramayana and Mahabharata epics. Identity for Fun, My Life As A Robot, and Black Sweat are paintings from 2008 and 2009, featuring grotesque images of headless figures with rolling heads and bulging eyes against an enticing red background. Then there are his landscape paintings with palm trees in the background, in which two people sitting at a table talk to each other and end up in a fight. A lighting device on the table eventually flares up denoting the explosive nature of hateful fights. A series of sculptural reliefs made of cast aluminium are assembled as wall installations titled Love me or Die. Love me or Die features surreal bestial figures that remind the viewer of the fineness and appearance of wayang figures. Outdoor art: Visitors can see Entang Wiharso’s work just outside the National Gallery, such as this fence installation featuring figures created in the same style as wayang puppets. JP/Carla BianpoenOutdoor art: Visitors can see Entang Wiharso’s work just outside the National Gallery, such as this fence installation featuring figures created in the same style as wayang puppets. JP/Carla Bianpoen The exhibition culminates with the installation titled Temple of Hope where the light within the temple casts shadows all around the inscriptions and images on its walls. The most remarkable of his new works are his installations of fences through which mocking figures with long tongues or floating figures — seemingly resigned to their fate in quiet solitude — stir the viewer with their sheer simplicity and void of the reddish hue, which seems to have penetrated all of his paintings, possibly denoting his rage and desperate anxiety for the fate of mankind. In fact, the Entang Wiharso’s haunting images are hard to understand or explain. One has to come and see, absorb and delve into the layers of the artist’s frustration, anger and anxiety, but also into his ultimate resolve  to keep hoping for our salvation from the imminent danger of destruction. “Love Me or Die” is considered this year’s most stunning and best-executed exhibition in the National Gallery Jakarta. It is regrettable that the National Gallery only had space to present this important exhibition for 10 days. The exhibition comes with a beautiful catalog in which essays by Jim Supangkat, Amanda Rath, Suwarno Wisesetromo and an interview by Sjamsul Barry produced by Canna Gallery Jakarta, provide useful elaborations on the artist and his works. Entang Wiharso is a participant in the upcoming exhibition of the inaugural Jakarta Contemporary project under the theme “1001 Doors: Reinterpreting Traditions” to be held in the first week of December 2010. News Source : The Jakarta Post Photo Source : Carla Bianpoen from The Jakarta Post

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