Critical Junction

Critical Junction

At the “Critical Junctions” art exhibition at Koong Gallery in Jakarta, three contemporary artists attempt to break down the barriers between the real and the unreal.

“This exhibition looks at different aspects of the interdisciplinary phenomena that the artists face, and how the artists enforce their principles in their work,” the exhibition’s curator, Rikrik Kusmara, said recently.

Deden Hendan Durahman, an art and design lecturer at the Bandung Institute of Technology, has a number of pieces on display that recreate the notion of the human body utilizing photography, X-rays and a graphics editing program.

In his “Constructio” series, Deden juxtapose images of human bones — mostly from his own X-rays after he had a car accident — and uses digital editing to reconstruct them into his artistic translation of what a body is. The reconstructed bones don’t form a concrete body image, which is what Deden was striving for. He said, “This is my reinterpretation of what a human body should look like.”

The “Mandala” series takes a different approach. The award-winning Deden first photographed parts of the body. Then during the printing process, he manipulated the images using a flip and mirroring-effect, creating a mandala-like concentric abstract image.

The artist, who obtained his master’s degree in fine arts from a university in Braunschweig, Germany, said, “An artist should have the ability to create something new and not just replicate something that is seen with the eyes.”

Jabbar Muhammad, who is also featured in the exhibition, is also a practitioner of digital art who combines images. “Using digital art is just a matter of artistic consideration,” he said. “Some visual achievements are just better using digital techniques.”

Combining photography and computer editing, the 23-year-old artist manipulated and combined images of a human figure and bird skulls.

“Immortavirtue” is a black-and-white self-portrait of Jabbar with a mohawk and the image of a vulture’s skull printed over his face, creating this hybrid man-bird creature. “LarV” offers a mirror-effect profile shot of a person against a bright orange background, with six blue-colored bird skulls of printed side-by-side across the face.

Jabbar, who has a master’s degree in fine arts, said the use of bird skulls on human figures had no particular meaning. According to the Bandung-born artist, the main point of his pieces is to use digital art “to bring a new perception to the image of living creatures.”

“This is how I venerate the existence of the Creator.”

Septian Harryoga expresses his thoughts using a different medium. The sculptor, born in 1977, experiments with an interaction between cast aluminum and a rock. “I like contrast,” Septian said. “Rock and a metal offer a contrast. One is natural and one is industrial.”

Septian said his works underwent the processes of casting, grinding and finishing, but that he did not use chrome plating or electroplating because he wanted to keep the metal’s original look.

His piece “Hammock” features a dark gray rock on an aluminum hammock, with aluminum shaped into a drop of water dripping from the hammock.

Another one of Septian’s pieces on display, “Hanging Mind,” features a rock hung from the ceiling with a cast aluminum rope.

“My work plays around with people’s perceptions, making the hard metal look soft and tender,” Septian said.

Septian said that his work has a specific philosophical purpose.

“The reflection from the metal of those who are looking at my work offers a reminder for self-introspection and self-contemplation,” he said.

Despite the thematic and stylistic differences, curator Rikrik says that there is a common thread that runs through all three of the artists.

“The works in this exhibition all raise the issue of human consciousness at the intersection between humans as nature’s central creature and humans as something that is formed by technology,” he said.



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