* Maryanto visualizes an alternative history of his home country Indonesia, addressing issues like poverty, pollution, exploitation and corruption. His fable-like drawings recount the effects of mining and technological development on the urban landscape. He uses propaganda aesthetics to portray Suharto and his wife, as well as the people who disappeared during their reign, adding an unsettling shade of black to the portraits. With his grim aesthetics Maryanto critically investigates the dissonance between formal historiography and his personal memories.
* * The artist exhibits good craftsmanship, using as subject the content of local (Indonesian) politics and history, while exhibiting an understanding to international conceptual art history. The themes explored in this exhibition include natural landscape as political conduit, rejuvenation and reinvigoration, utopia. Here, parasites camouflage against the natural environment to symbolize corruption festering back home, and manmade objects mar the untamed beauty of the wilderness to elucidate the mechanical destruction
Whilst Maryanto critiques the seemingly futile struggle against incessant corruption in Indonesia through references to Greek mythology, he does not exclude the possibility of rejuvenation and reinvigoration. Combining both monochromatic and colorful drawings in this exhibition, Maryanto projects a sliver of hope amidst the backdrop of the bleak and dire political landscape. In this particular series of work, the artist moves on from his previous series of large romantic landscapes evoking mining, pollution and degradation of land, to these somewhat cautiously “hopeful” natural landscapes. The artist comments that he wishes to retain and document what is there in “nature”, while it is still there, before it all disappears. (Maryanto: Space of exception by Audrey Yeo)
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