Eko Nugroho grew up in Java and resides in Yogyakarta, the capital of revolutionary Indonesia and the home of high Javanese culture housed within the court palaces of central Java. While Nugroho’s ties to the triumphs of Javanese tradition, including the ‘wayang’ and ‘batik’, are inescapable his practise embodies a pragmatic and daring attitude towards rethinking Indonesian cultural identity within a global context.
Nugroho is an acclaimed member of a new generation of Indonesian contemporary artists that came to the fore during the period of upheaval and reform that occurred in the wake of the 1997 Asian financial crisis and the subsequent collapse of the Suharto regime. This period marked by student protest and also marred by race conflict and violent military intervention induced heightened social and political anxieties that demanded new modes of artistic response.
In 2000, Nugroho founded Daging Tumbuh (Rotting Flesh), a collaborative zine that invited participation from students and non-artists as a way of circumnavigating the hierarchies of the art world and unwanted police attention. The pages of these early comics introduced audiences to Nugroho’s distinctive imagery that conflates dreamscapes with science fiction and locates a pantheon of magical creatures in very urban and banal environments.
These alien and zoomorphic creatures have remained to populate the surfaces of Nugroho’s work ever since, including paper, canvas, walls, sculpture and embroidery. In the words of Adeline Ooi, Nugroho’s work reflects a “healthy disregard for clear-cut distinctions, he approaches the art-making process with a certain gleeful innocence and clarity, unrestrained by theory, tradition or convention.”
This immersive installation incorporating floor drawing, sculpture and embroidery, represents a spectacular continuation of Nugroho’s playful experimentation with subject and form. It also declares his ongoing and unambiguous commitment to addressing the dysfunctional and malignant aspects of contemporary life and politics in Indonesia.
Asian Art Department, AGNSW, Nov 2015
Places where the work was made
synthetic polymer paint on fibreglass, manual embroidery rayon thread on fabric, and vinyl
installation dimensions variable :
a - I am holding knowledge while wearing boxing gloves, 170 x 66 x 68 cm
b - Me and my religion, 182 x 104 x 87 cm
c - My plastic bag is my society, 178 x 48 x 79 cm
d - Kercerdasan bukan untuk mengelabuhi, 176 x 158 cm, sight (irreg.)
d - Kercerdasan bukan untuk mengelabuhi, 184 x 158 cm, overall (irreg.)
e - Mari berdemokrasi dan saling menghanucurkan, 158 x 163.5 cm, sight (irreg.)
e - Mari berdemokrasi dan saling menghanucurkan, 167 x 163.5 cm, overall (irreg.)
f - Reformasi picisan, 174.5 x 154 cm, sight (irreg.)
f - Reformasi picisan, 182 x 154 cm, overall (irreg.)
g - Negeri kaya fatwa, 175.5 x 158.5 cm, sight (irreg.)
g - Negeri kaya fatwa, 183.5 x 158.5 cm, overall (irreg.)
h - Menunggu pendekar ahli benci berkostum moral, 168 x 157 cm, sight (irreg.)
h - Menunggu pendekar ahli benci berkostum moral, 179.5 x 157.5 cm, overall (irreg.)
i - Permen & politik sama 2 mengandung pemanis buatan, 171.5 x 155 cm, sight (irreg.)
i - Permen & politik sama 2 mengandung pemanis buatan, 179.5 x 155 cm, overall (irreg.)
j - Mayoritas di halakan minoritas diharamkan, 173 x 158 cm, sight (irreg.)
j - Mayoritas di halakan minoritas diharamkan, 182 x 158 cm, overall (irreg.)
k1 - vinyl floor panel with artist illustration, digital master
Signature & date
Signed l.c. certificate of authenticity, black fibre-tipped pen "[signature]/ Eko NUGROHO". Not dated.
Purchased with funds provided by the Neilson Foundation and Dr Dick Quan 2015
Not on display
© Eko Nugroho