Jan 17 – Feb 08, 2009Opening : 17 January 2009
at 7.30 pm
Tujuh Bintang Art Space
Jl. Sukonandi No 7
Abdul Fattah | Ade Pasker | Agung Kurniawan | Ahmad Supono PR | AT. Sitompul | Choiruddin
Dadi Setiyadi | Daniel “Timbul” Cahya Krisna | Diah Yulianti | Djoko Pekik | Eko “Kota” Haryono
Fran Anggoman | Fransisco Panca Nugraha | Harun | Heri Kris | I Gede Arya Sucitra | Indiria Maharsi
Jemi Bilyanto | Joko Gundul | Klowor "Kucing" Waldiyono | Kurniawan Yudhistira | M. Lugas Syllabus
M. Pramono IR | Nanang Warsito | Nasirun | Nugroho Heri Cahyono | Nugroho Wijayatmo
Ong Hari Wahyu | Purwanto | Putra Eko Prasetyo | Samuel Indratma | Saptoadi Nugroho
Seiko Kajiura | S. Teddy D | Wahyu Geiyonk | Wara Anindyah | Yudi Sulistya
Joy as the Way
One afternoon, nearing the holiday when people return home, a man was riding a motorcycle along Yogyakarta’s ring road with his two children on the back. Judging from the hanging loads around the cycle, it was apparent that they were going on a long journey. Unfortunately, they got a flat tire just before the road starts to slope upward in the direction of the flyover above the train track. The prospect of having to push the motorcycle and still another task of finding a tire repair station must have contributed to the man’s gloomy face. On the contrary, the two children were cheerfully helping their father who was trying to move the heavily loaded vehicle. One of them shouted: “Yo, ayo, aku nyurung seko kene, kowe seko kono!” (Lets, I push from here, and you over there). They were having fun, and seemed to be able to use the “limited” time for stretching their bodies, or even ‘performing a play Pushing a Motorcycle’ in the real situation. It was possible that such job was an unprecedented chance for them. There was a new sensation: a situation full of surprises, a sudden specific situation, and there existed an experience of being out of the habitual box. Isn’t this the very same special sensation sought by members of specific clubs- moneyed or the-so-called-executives- who deliberately walked on a muddy track just to discover a different sense from the daily routines? Isn’t it an exact same sensation which a colleague also looked for when he cycled to Kaliurang from the Municipality of Yogyakarta, wearing a special raincoat with a specially designed light on his helmet on a rainy new year’s eve? To play. To have fun.
And so it is, in order to grasp an extraordinary sense and a unique insight full of character so that a creative process takes place, people must be courageous to be out their routines. To achieve novelty and freshness, people must initially be able to go out from the existing conceptual boxes, because these boxes tend to freeze and standardize any living things. Or, once and a while they have to break free from the ‘comfortable sanctuary of theories’ with which they would only tend to reduce and categorize anything moving under this or that term. Going out from standardized concepts and theories is similar with cutting the ties with the confines of past understanding. This act is necessary on the ground that people need to feel as if they go through the experience for the first time, or in order for them to think and see openly; just like a novice whose thought is unshackled by definitions; or a little child who let his imagination comes forth
which enables him or her to discover magic and possibilities from everything – everything which trembles, moves, changes, connects, and affects other things. From such state of hearts and minds great works can materialize. For that, Don Juan’s statement is more than fitting, i.e. that it is a grave mistake to think that life is not fun; in failure or success we cannot lose sight of the reality that the world is breathtaking, and we should welcome its challenge.
What if this conscience is connected to a creation of an artistic work? Creative art also needs open heart and mind. Coming up with an artistic work is very like creating a metaphor in a new and original way. That metaphor often comes before a linear understanding. Similarly, people need to courageously let their thought and imagination walk freely, unbounded, going across the existing artistic concept. They need to be willing to say no to esthetic ideologies, or to take stand against the existing artistic schools, because in reality all of this have created personal and communal egos and tend to compartmentalize art and artists. Openness is what is needed so that people can see and grasp fresh ideas from singular, living, flowing and interconnecting realities. The willingness to ‘bring the clutch of the mind to neutral position’ is needed so that people can jump inside and enjoy their activities fully. Through this state of mind, love of what is being done grows. Artists who can bring themselves forth into existence through interesting and high quality works are those who love their jobs, who treat their work with happiness, and avoid cantankerous theorizations. Thus, when they are faced with difficult and heavy problems, they can see them as a hurdle to be overcome. People who love their job often try new things in order to explore and experiment, to come up with new options. Usually they are willing to freely promote their works. On this a world-class thinker J. Krishnamurti has said that doing what you love has double benefits, i.e. that not only you will get an unusually higher-than-normal level of satisfaction, but that your enthusiasm ensure your success.
There exist a lot of examples from daily life which bring forth the mystery of the relationship between a work made with a great sense of love and the creator. When something is loved fully, it is as if it is imbued with a soul, and it will respond with something of a similar value, or even greater. Valentino Rossi always spends ample amount of time to silently ‘listen’ to his car before and after a race. In the process of creating an art work artists make known what is inexistent to take place, to give way for the inexistent to become present. When it is done, a high quality work will give the creator a worthwhile return
by finding ways for the creator to be known. There is a magical reciprocal relation. What is important though is that to love one’s work and to be creative in it does not need sophisticated verbalism or complex conceptual words. It doesn’t need extra intellectuality, since - borrowing Robert M. Pirsig’s words - too much intellectualism will only stiffen the person, deem the person unable to understand quality because for him or her nothing is real; he or she only see categories and definitions.
There are two illustration that I would like to present to clarify the above point. A few years ago there was a student of Seni Grafis Fakultas Seni Rupa (Graphic Art, The Department of Visual Art ) of ISI who often came to my office. He offered comics of his own creation which were photocopied and bundled. Drawing, pouring out his ideas freely, and arranging them into a narration of comics became his job. He just did it without anyone commanding him. What impressed me was that he proudly offered his works door-to-door, person-to-person. The money asked for was only as much as the cost of photocopying and binding. All of this he did with spirit and optimism. A few years after that this young artist started to appear in significant art forums, with his works arranged and presented uniquely; and now he has become one of the celebrated artists. A few decades back there was a friend, a soon-to-be- well known artist who always came to my boarding room, and always talked about creative ideas. He spoke of meeting academic and autodidact artists and absorbing various creative approaches from them. He came up with works, prepared materials and looked for creative ideas and concepts from various sources. Now this person is one of internationally known artists. About both of them, and many more, we may say that their superiority lies on the fact that they do not imitate various theories of arts, or copied other people’s recipe for success. The recipes are only triggers for their own unique ideas, according to their insights and dreams. One of the ways to capture and cheerfully come up with distinctiveness is by doing a deep observation on subjects which interest them, from which new ideas will arrive to be manifested.
Similar work pattern has been followed by many people who gained success because they are willing to see deeper than what is seen, and then love the works that they have chosen. Once again, for this no complex verbalism is needed, and not even lofty concepts. Just look at the people who came to talk shows like ‘Oprah Winfrey’ or ‘Kick Andy’. Once there was a guest who was a conservationist from Betawi by the name of Mang Udin. For years he had been replanting
barren places which trees were wiped out by rich and powerful people. He didn’t possess complex theories with complicated discourse, but was committed to planting and planting more. When people started noticing he is now ‘being helped’ by his job. Or, Pak Sugeng Siswoyudhono, a prosthetic leg maker from East Java who helped many impaired people according to their specific needs. His capital is his willingness to look at his clients’ cases, listen to their problems and needs, and realize the demands the best he can. He does it happily.
Having fun in looking at and presenting daily realities is deliberately brought forth as the theme of the present exhibition at Tujuh Bintang Art Space. It is meant to collect artworks whose making processes were not weighed down by complicated concepts and heavy artistic intellectualism. It leaves alone the tendency to philosophize in a linear fashion which is one of the ancient tradition of Greek philosophy. What is important here is the fact that to engage in a creative endeavor one does not need to do it with frowned eyebrows and all-serious state of the mind. To create artistically, one does not need to possess lofty and heavenly discourses. What artists need is to go through a creative transformative process, with a strong commitment to express through art, a conscience and a unique feeling after they observe interesting and living realities. And, one way to do this is by working to create a favorable atmosphere in which they can think and create joyfully. When this is done, it is already the lot.
M. Dwi Marianto
Yogyakarta, January 2009