Studio Kalahan

Studio Kalahan – Heri Dono


Jl. Patukan No. 50, RT.01 / RW. 20 Ambar Ketawang, Gamping, Sleman, Yogyakarta


Studio Kalahan, a kind of ‘studio in progress,’ was established in 2001 and continues to develop. The name Kalahan (to lose) was chosen by artist Heri Dono to demonstrate that the studio does not want to ‘win’ in art exploration. The complex housing the Studio Kalahan has been in existence since the Dutch colonial period and the main building was used as a Dutch police station in World War II.  This studio is an exploration zone and aesthetic laboratory for art discourse, assessment and aesthetic practices. The main area consists of a living room, documentation room, library and private room for Dono's contemplation. At the back of the main building, there is a painting and puppet exploration room. Behind it there are display rooms for art installations. In the backyard there is also an open space used to produce work. Exhibitions of other artists’ work are held onsite as well.

The system of study about contemporary Indonesian aesthetics and their relationship to traditional art can clearly be seen in the work of Heri Dono. His work, which is on display at Studio Kalahan in the documentation room, is accompanied by documentation, archival material from Dono’s career and artifacts located throughout the studio.

Heri Dono (1960, Jakarta, Indonesia) studied at Institut Seni Indonesia, Yogyakarta. One of the best known of the generation of late 1980s Indonesian contemporary artists in the international art community, Dono began traveling continuously throughout the world early in his career, participating in exhibitions and workshops in various countries. Dono is renown for his installations that result from experiments with wayang, the most popular Javanese folk theater, which combines a number of art forms and themes and actively engages audiences.  His installations provide one of the best examples of an artist creatively revitalizing traditional art practices profoundly rooted in Indonesian culture. In many of his installations and performances, he effectively makes use of performativity and interactivity so that the works involve audiences in intense dialog. In his paintings, Dono primarily makes use of wild deformations and free fantasies from which emerge characters of wayang stories. Combining his deep knowledge of children’s cartoon films, animation films and comics with his own critical remarks on socio-political issues in Indonesia and abroad, Dono creates canvases filled with intertwined, fantastical characters and astonishing, absurd stories. He has exhibited extensively throughout the world and represented Indonesia in numerous biennales and museum exhibitions.  Dono lives and works in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.