Wood & Good offers a modern look at tradition

26 June, 2014 | Source: the jakarta post

Since ancient times, wood has played an important role in human life. It is the material used to build houses, make utensils and create fuel. But wood also represents the cultural identities of many regions and ethnic groups.

Scene from an exhibition: The show is the third in a series organized by the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry. (Courtesy of Ciputra Art Center/Andri Hilary)

In the hands of artists, wood can be transformed into a work of aesthetic value that reveals the creativity, craftsmanship and personality of the makers.

In the “Wood & Good: Indonesian Contemporary Woodcraft” exhibition, a total of 47 artists from Jakarta, Bandung, Yogyakarta, Solo, Madura and Bali display 120 wood-based works of art curated by Asmudjo Jono Irianto, Rizki A. Zaelani and I Wayan Seriyoga Parta.

The exhibition, which runs until June 29 at the Ciputra Artpreneur Center in South Jakarta, is the third in a series of craft exhibitions organized by the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry.

The experience begins immediately once visitors enter the exhibition hall, where they are greeted by a life-size security guard clad in a white-and-blue uniform. The statue, created out of teak wood, was built by Yogyakarta-based artist Abdi Setiwan.

Moving on to the center of the hall, visitors encounter a tiger-like wooden figure made by Alexis, a wooden magnifying camera from Theresia Agustina Sitompul and a chicken made out of plywood by Hadi Siswanto.

The chicken, which is accompanied by wooden sticks and stainless steel, is called Chicken Storage, and is a good example of woodcraft in a modern style.

“Wood & Good” also displays purely wood creations like Rudi Hendriatno’s three wooden guitars and Lindu’s two offerings, Sam Pek Eng Tai and Bagong Fish.

Enlivening the white walls are several works by Agus Sriyono, including the 400 by 180 centimeter Buddha Face, which is carved on recycled teak wood. Also on display is Akhmad Muzaki’s Aku Ingin Hidup, a work that combines recycled teak wood, mahogany and acacia wood.

Rizki explained that unlike hard and rigid metals, wood is simultaneously flexible and durable, giving it a more dynamic versatility in the hands of artists.

“Wood as a medium can be made into works that are either functional or decorative,” he said.

The exhibition has made room for designers of both national and international acclaim, and who are not just interested in furniture and kitchen utensils, but also seek to explore the possibilities of wood designs in fashion, stationary and even radio.

One particularly compelling work comes from Ilham Pinastiko, whose wooden Matoa-branded watch is constructed from salvaged maple and ebony wood.

Although “Wood & Good” focuses on the contemporary works of wood artists and designers, Asmudjo said it also highlighted traditional woodcraft techniques.

“Wood carving is closely connected with a craftsmanship that has become part of our culture, and that legacy becomes an important basis for today’s art,” he said.

He said that Bali had long been recognized as a region that proudly preserved its traditional wood carving styles, and that even among highly personal and individualized works, a common language could be discerned.

“Therefore, we invited 12 Balinese carvers and sculptures and gave them a special showcase in this exhibition,” he said.

Those characteristics can be seen in I Ketut Muja’s sculpture of Affandi’s head and his two-faced centaur called Cinta Terpotong. They can also be observed in Ida Bagus Alit’s Rainbow Lady and The Queen of Beauty sculptures, which are made from mahogany wood.

“Unfortunately, what Bali has demonstrated in preserving its tradition is not evident in other regions, despite the fact that Indonesia has so many traditional woodcraft heritages,” Asmudjo said.

In addition to the Bali showcase, the exhibition boasts traditional wood carvings from Klaten, Central Java in Sukarno’s Wayang Klithik. Yogyakarta-based Sanggar Peni’s batik masks are also on hand.

“We hope this exhibition can trigger further development and innovation in contemporary Indonesian woodcraft,” Asmudjo said.

 

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