YOGYAKARTA OPEN STUDIO
To celebrate our 13th anniversary, Antena Projects is excited to launch a new initiative called YOGYAKARTA OPEN STUDIO. YOS will explore Yogyakarta's peta pergaulan or 'map of associations' by opening the doors of artist studios to the public and shedding light on individual artistic practice and networks of relationships that exist and power the art community. AP’s activities over the past 13 years have been aimed at identifying 'gaps' – areas of activity overlooked or neglected – as the focus of our programming. Artist studios are the keystone of the art infrastructure in Yogyakarta, but have remained largely unexplored and undocumented. Through this initiative, we hope a broader audience will have the chance to see first-hand the diversity of creative practice that exists here and the ways in which artists use their spaces to define artistic vision, build community and negotiate with the outside world.
In the studio, artists can define the terms of interaction. They structure and organize their space to fit the way they work and see the world. Upon entering, we immediately begin to develop a picture of the artist as an individual and as a member of a larger community. The size of the space, the scale of objects, the presence and arrangement of personal and reference material, the relative clutter or cleanliness, and the artwork itself all tell a story. The choice of location is also revealing. What attracts an artist to a particular village, urban neighborhood or distant outpost? And perhaps most telling, who spends time with the artist in their studio? With whom do they critique work, share ideas and information, hang out and laugh? Commonly held narratives and assumptions about art history and the art market are tested against the evidence found in artists' studios.
Through Yogyakarta Open Studio we will look closely at the way studios function. Artist studios are a place to work, but also a place for cultural negotiation, a place to join with friends and colleagues to organize art activities, and to handle the day-to-day administration of a complex, demanding career. In the studio, intentionally and unintentionally, important activities emerge and evolve. Here we find the roots of the art community and are able to see evidence of an artist's creative practice in its entirety. For a long time, people have looked to exhibitions, galleries, museums and alternative spaces to define what is happening in the Indonesian art scene; rarely have artists consciously opened their studios to show more than their place of work. Through YOS, artists can share knowledge and plot a 'map of associations' that reveals the real Yogyakarta art scene.
As the cultural capital of Java and home to artists from across Indonesia, knowledge of Yogyakarta's history and geography are vital to understanding Indonesian art history. Known as the Special Region of Yogyakarta (Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta), it lies in southern central Java, on one of the most densely populated islands in the world. Its special treatment, as the term 'istimewa' (special) implies, stems from the Indonesian government's recognition of the historical importance and loyalty of the Sultan as the leader of the Mataram Kingdom, and as the center of the war of independence against the Dutch colonists. Yogyakarta consists largely of two physically different geographic areas. To the north are barren mountainous regions dominated by Mt. Merapi (which erupted dramatically in 2010) and to the south, fertile lowlands. The volcanic soil covering most of the lowlands, along with the Progo and Opak rivers that run across the area from north to south, make this region one of the most fertile and densely populated areas in Java.
Yogyakarta is also home to thousands of artists. In 1946 when President Sukarno temporarily moved the capital of Indonesia to Yogyakarta, many artists and intellectuals, including Affandi, S Sudjojono and Hendra Gunawan, chose to relocate to the city to live and work. As an art lover and collector, Sukarno had close relationships with many artists, publishing a five-volume set of books in 1964, Lukisan-Lukisan dan Patung-Patung, Koleksi Presiden Sukarno dari Republik Indonesia (Paintings and Sculpture, The Collection of President Sukarno of the Republic of Indonesia) that remain of historical importance today. A few years later in 1950, ASRI Arts Academy was founded in Yogyakarta, eventually relocating to the Gampingan region of the city and becoming Institut Seni Indonesia, the largest arts institution in the nation.
It is against this backdrop of geography, politics and education that we can position artist studios and begin to understand how they have contributed to both acknowledged and underground trends and movements that define Indonesian art history. We welcome and encourage you to travel around the Yogyakarta region using the information and map in this booklet to discover the 5 studios, 17 artists and 4 historically important areas we are featuring in the 2013 edition of YOS.
Director of Antena Projects