So yesterday, I went to the Cemeti Art House on the recommendation of a friend.
The gallery organized an exhibition to celebrate its 25th anniversary. There is some interesting work in the exhibition.
I learned that later that night, the gallery would be hosting a discussion featuring the curator and several of the artists talking about the exhibition.
A number of important Indonesian arts have come through the Cemeti Art House through the years, including Heri Dono. I believe it is the longest running alternative/avant garde art space in Java.
In addition to being an exhibition space, the gallery has also long been a forum for ideas, and the discussions held there over the years have attracted artist from Yogyakarta for years.
For this current exhibition, a number of young artists were invited to make works that somehow reflected on the 25 year history of the place, and each just had 25 hours in the gallery to create their individual pieces.
I decided to go the discussion.
I was able to follow the discussion for a while, but the conversation was abstract, and happened quickly. After about 20 minutes, my modest Indonesian could no longer keep up with the discussion, short of bits and pieces. There was lots of talk about age and generation (the curators idea, to work with the new generation), process, and meaning.
From an outsider’s perspective, I didn’t see the work having the depth to warrant the degree of discussion the community pursued. Mostly, however, I was impressed with the energy and community of the night. A group of artists trying to figure out what they were all doing.