Exploring identity through art

Exploring identity through art

by Carla Bianpoen

The issue of identity is often a complicated matter. One description of identity reads: “Identity is a state of mind in which someone recognizes/identifies their character traits that leads to finding out who they are and what they do and not that of someone else.” In fact, identity speaks of selfhood and uniqueness.

An exhibition titled “I too am untranslatable” curated by independent curator Roy Voragen presents four artists who explore precisely that — the uniqueness of the self.

Theresia “Tere” Agustina Sitompul, who holds a PhD in printmaking, often deals with issues of personal memory and gender perspectives, using print and installations as her tools of expression.

In the exhibition, her wall installation Moment shows sculptural revelations of the development of the female body by way of growth of the body, which is accentuated by the nipple in several stages of womanhood.

Remarkably, this is done so from the inner side of the breast. One might wonder whether she did so to avoid being accused of displaying pornographic images, or whether there is another reason behind it.

Tere explained that she wanted the viewer to get a sense of inner growth that goes beyond the visuals. Made of silicon and steel, the breast “plates” seem to dance to a capricious rhythm, perhaps mimicking the whims of life.

Another work of hers on display is Decrease-increase. She uses the method of carbon tracing, a technique originally used by secretaries and seamstresses. In an artist’s application, it has become a unique way to create singularity of print.

Different from Tere, Deden Hendan Durahman, a Meisterschueler from the Brausnchweig Fine Art Hochscule fuer Bildende Kuenste, who also studied art and design and photography, specializes in refined images.

To achieve perfect prints, the 43-year-old Deden acquired his own printer and uses specialized Hahnemuehle cotton paper, achieving images of bodies with a beautiful skin surface within a quality of pearly luminosity.

Peer features bodies entangled and morphed into each other, evoking a sense of sculptural magnificence in which the self tends to be lost. This is different compared to the three works that make up Peerless, where the pictures are sliced up, conjuring images of barcodes referencing logarithms used by social media sites to categorize and distribute images.

No doubt, the Eve series of paintings by Jabbar Muhammad explores issues beyond the body alone and could be considered existential.

Jabbar, who holds a Master’s of Fine Art from the ITB Faculty of Fine Art and Design, said that, at one point, the question of who he was bothered him a lot.So the 31-year-old explored the self through interactions with “the other,” or women who were total strangers.

A fine painter, Jabbar holds an interest in Carl Jung’s school of analytical psychology, which highlights a dual concept of a feminine inner personality in the unconscious mind of a man and a masculine inner personality in the unconscious mind of a woman.

The process of such exploration led him to create a work in which he painted layer over layer, resulting in a parallax, an effect whereby the understanding of a person alters when perceived from different positions. Eve 3.6 holds mystery in such duality. While this work uses acrylic on canvas, other images featuring the process were made with watercolor and gouache on paper.

Jakarta-born Kelvin Atmadibrata, who studied interactive media at the School of Art Design and Media, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, often takes to performance art to express his artistic urges.

In the large-scale installation site, he features a performance titled Benched. In it, the 29-year-old goes back in memory, reflecting on his first adolescent crush, a water polo player who, as a reserve player, never really plays. Being benched, he supposedly misses the opportunity to be a man.





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