Monthly Archives: July 2016

The Bali Art Scene 2016 – An Overview

Citra Sh"Torment"

“Torment”  2015 – Citra Sasmita one of the strongest works from the ‘Bali Art Intervention #1’ “Violent Bali”

This overview looks back over the past six months (and more) at exhibitions and happenings of note in the Bali art scene which in the past year has witnessed some critical infrastructure developments.

Closing out 2015 ‘Bali Art Intervention #1’ “Violent Bali”, open 10 November at the Tony Raka Art Gallery in Ubud, featured the work of 60 artists, and was the strongest collective showing of contemporary art in Bali since July 2013’s “Irony in Paradise” by Sanggar Dewata Indonesia at ARMA. Slated to run for a month the exhibition continued into the new year and works by Citra Samsita, Wayan Wirawan, Agus Cahaya, Ida Bagus Putra Adnyana, Pandi Acmadi, Tatang BSP, amongst many others were worthy of mention.

Made Budhiana. "In the Darkness of Night" Image M. O'Riordan “In the Darkness of Night” 2015 – Made Budhiana from the “Cruise Control” Exhibition

“Cruise Control Indonesia – Top End Artist’s Camp Exhibition” 23 January – 13 February 2016 at the Northern Center of Contemporary Art (NCCA) in Darwin, Australia showcased the some of the fruits of the 2015 Artist’s Camp, an engagement by 6 Indonesian artists in the Northern Territory (NT). For five weeks Made Budhiana, Wayan Wirawan, Made Sudibia, Made ‘Dalbo’ Suarimbawa and Ni Nyoman Sani from Bali, and East Javanese artist Suryani were guests of the government of Northern Territory and were exposed to foreign lands and societies, and delved creatively into new visual and conceptual territories.

The biannual Artists Camp, which was first held in 2012 in the NT, and then with two subsequent Camps in Bali (2012 & 2014) is the initiative of Australian art lover Colin MacDonald and Made Budhiana, working with the NCCA, expanding upon the original modal of the Artists Camp that first began back in 1978. The exhibition displayed some outstanding works of cross-cultural engagement and its success in underlined by the support the Chief Minister of the NT government and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. Despite international political relations between Indonesia and Australia recently weathering stormy seas, art and cultural remain the most important and enduring engagements between the two countries.

TiTian Art Space. Image by Richard Horstman                 TiTian Art Space – Image Featuring works by Teja Astawa & I.B. Purwa

Merging perceptions and practices from the past with the present, along with an innovative vision for the future, Yayasan TiTian Bali (YTB), a new art foundation launched 29 January 2016 at Bentara Budaya Bali cultural center, is setting out to revolutionize Balinese art. Inaugurated on the 80th anniversary of the founding of the Pitamaha artists collective in Ubud, the Balinese artist co-operative TiTian Art Space, located on Jalan Bisma Ubud, will help transform artists into art entrepreneurs within the creative economies.

The brain child of the former 20 years volunteer curator and international liaison officer for Puri Lukisan Museum, Soemantri Widagdo, exhibitions hosted this year have showcased some of the finest Balinese traditional and contemporary artists such as Teja Astawa, Ida Bagus Putu Purwa, Made Griyawan, Aris Sumanta and Gede Widyantara to name a few. The June “Traces Under the Surface – Batuan Painting Exhibition” set 3 generations of Batuan painters from one family side-by-side in a unique expose into the development of Batuan painting. The regular series of exhibitions and workshops along with the revolutionary vision of YTB are an exciting and important addition to the Bali art infrastructure.

With plans to build a Museum of Contemporary Art (Bali MOCA), an international class museum located in Ubud, within the next ten years, exhibiting both old and new work of the highest quality, YTB expects to inspire new directions and achievements in Balinese art, while being the premier hub for Balinese visual arts by 2021.  Balinese traditional art is undergoing an exciting revival underpinned by fresh young talent and strategic collective activity, for example in Batuan led by the formation of the Baturlangan Artist Collective of Batuan.

With the mission to place Balinese art on global platforms the welcome addition of  YTB to the Bali art scene will aid in future consolidation of the current flourishing of Balinese traditional painting. The 21st century ushers in a new paradigm of global thinking and the art world is responding and evolving especially due to the impact of the internet and social media which is empowering individuals to develop global brands and presence. Yayasan TiTian Bali is building a new eco system for Balinese art for the 21st Century.

A.A Gede Anom Sukawati-"Tari Joged Bumbung". Image courtesy of Larasati“Joged Bumbung” 2008 – A.A Gede Anom Sukawati featured in the 1oth Anniversary Larasati Balinese Modern Traditional & Contemporary Art Auction at ARMA Ubud.

Results of the special 10th anniversary Larasati Balinese Modern Traditional & Contemporary Art auction at ARMA 28 February confirm that the market for Balinese traditional art is growing steadily while providing excellent value through the low to medium and high price ranges. Emphasizing quality over quantity the 81 items birthday sale featured a parade of beautiful works including sketches, watercolors, wood carvings and paintings by “Old & Young” Balinese masters.

During the past decade, with two auctions per year in Ubud Larasati have opened up an international forum for the trade of high quality traditional Balinese works, especially paintings. By introducing professionalism of an international standard that Bali had yet to experience in its art dealings Larasati has helped create a real, healthy market for traditional Balinese art. The auction included works by popular artists I.B Made Poleng, Gusti Lempad, Made Sukada, A.A Gede Anom Sukawati, and I.B Nyana to name a few.

A feature of the sale was Larasati Auctioneers providing for the first ever real-time data over the internet allowing easy, direct access to buying opportunities for a global audience. The auction audience revealed more foreigners in attendance than Indonesians being a testament to the developing international market of the Balinese art which is considered by experts to be undervalued. Larasati CEO Daniel Komala confirmed that the outcome of first ten years of auctions have exceeded all expectations.

I GAK MURNIASIH - SEDANG ACTION - AOC - 100 x 100cm - 2003                                                  “Sedang Action” –  I GAK Murniasih

“Merayakan Murni / Celebrating Murni”, a project gathering local and regional artists to create works in response to the legacy of the iconic female Balinese artist I GAK Murniasih (1966-2006) “Murni” started 8 December 2015 at the innovative new art space Ketemu Project Space in Sukawati. Punctuating the beginning of the 6 month plus program of events, culminating with the group exhibition at Sudakara Art Space Sanur 16 July 2016, the 8 December event was an intimate evening of discussions.  Featuring friends and colleagues of Murni’s, while introducing some of the breadth of her work, and the schedule of up coming events was reveled that included artist in residency programs and curator discussions. This highly anticipated exhibition will be the most important of the 2016 art calendar.

AJI02649_1-1_LR“Forgotten Optical Satsuma Filters” – Ashley Bickerton at Rumah Topeng dan Wayang Setiadharma

Kayu, a series of exhibitions that began in 2014 presented by French art worker Lucie Fontaine at Rumah Topeng dan Wayang Setiadharma in Mas, has been a highly valuable contribution to the appreciation of contemporary art in Bali. Organized and curated by Italian artist and Ubud resident Marco Cassani, Kayu showcased both local and international artist in cross cultural collaborations, group and solo exhibitions. Kayu aims to support the growth and awareness of contemporary art in Indonesia through experimental and conceptual projects and operations as an incubation facility to give the opportunity for information and knowledge exchange between Bali and Indonesia with the outside art world. Projects have included artists Corrado Levi, Radu Cosma, Entang Wiharso and Luigi Ontani.

The exhibition space at Rumah Topeng, a traditional Javanese teak warehouse is a unique setting for the presentation of contemporary art allowing the ambience of cultural design elements and raw timber to enhance the presence of the art. Despite not being well attended by the local art community, importantly Kayu allowed an opportunity for people to enjoy art in an alternative exhibition setting, in contrast to the often “sterile” gallery spaces, while positively contributing to the viewer experience. The program culminated in April with Ashley Bickerton’s first ever solo exhibition in Indonesia “Forgotten Optical Satsuma Filters” that featured his experimental “non commercial” color creations.

DSCF4872             “King Udayana : A Visual Epic” 2016 – Ketut Budiana at Bentara Budaya Bali

The historical collaboration between the Udayana University of Bali and the Bentara Budaya Bali Cultural Center, Denpasar on Friday 15 April highlighted a landmark event in Balinese painting, presenting the works of Balinese master artist Ketut Budiana. Officiated by the Governor of Bali, Made Mangku Pastika, the exhibition “King Udayana : A Visual Epic” featured an enormous narrative canvas, 8339 x 140 cm spanning the walls of the pavilion paying homage to the lifetime journey of the 10th century Balinese King Udayana.

Budiana invited the audience to wonder clockwise around the pavilion to engage with this poetic work laid out in such as way as to occupy the four directions of the compass, with their respective gods, and colors, symbolically linking the human existence with the cosmos. Often described as a “fantastic’ painter” Budiana communicates stories that appear to come from the subconscious in dream like imagery that often evolves from swirling clouds of energy. Post exhibition the work was installed within the Rectorate’s hall of the Udayana University in Jimbaran.

13173813_10153830185898778_8308656514481768488_n     “Kartini” – Cherographed by Jasmine Okubo, May 2016, image by Dewandra Djelantik

Long time collaborator with Indonesian artists, Japanese choreographer, dancer and performer Jasmine Okubo continues to push the art performance genre into new and exciting realms. Her performance during the opening of Rie m’s April exhibition “Conexion & Contradiccion” at the Villa Pandan Harum, Ubud was captivating, as were other during the year. While Rie’s exhibition of cross cultural infusions was outstanding, and importantly introducing the art of collage in a fresh and highly sensitive manner to the local art community, Jasmine’s performance, melding the futuristic aesthetics with Balinese and Japanese flavors typifies her extraordinary talent.

Okubo’s 5 June performance at Rumah Sanur in a silent enclosed space brought into dynamic, otherworldly life with excellent visual aesthetics via video mapping during the Art Ritual, themed about the transition from WATER to AGNI for the 2017 Sprites Bali Art & Creative Biennale broke new ground for the performer and the audience alike.

DSCF5736                               “Questioning Balinese Painting” 2016 – Kemal Ezedine


Neo Pitamaha art collective headed by Gede Mahendra Yasa and Kemal Ezedine brings a fresh, strategic, intellectual approach to the art explorations in the historical development of Balinese traditional painting. Beginning in 2013, inspired to investigate a new paradigm of Balinese painting, since 2014 they have been exhibiting in high-profile events in Bandung, Semarang and ArtJog in Yogyakarta. During 2016 they have been increasingly focusing their attention outside of Bali especially engaging with curators, collectors, along with larger audiences. Mahendra Yasa and Ezedine both held solo exhibitions at Langgeng Art Foundation, during the Jogja Art Weeks June/July art extravaganza for the local and international audiences gathered in Yogyakarta for the opening of ArtJog9.

The Neo Pitamaha’s critical and strategic approach is building positive momentum, importantly raising the bar of what Bali based collectives may achieve, while setting a potent example for others to learn from. Ezedine’s enormous 2016 mural project, highlighting his graphic illustration and dynamic color design skills, upon ceiling panels of the café dining area the new Artotel in Sanur is a visual feast for the eyes while helping to define the uniqueness of Bali’s first art themed hotel.

DSCF4884Detail from Gusti Agung Mangu  Putra’s 2016 painting of the 1906 Pupatan in Denpasar at Gwangju Art Museum, South Korea

Social issues and important Balinese historical events are themes close to Gusti Agung Mangu Putra’s heart. In the May 2016 “In Commemoration of the 36th Anniversary of the May 18th Democratization Movement 2016 Asian Democracy, Human Rights, Peace Exhibition – The Truth To Turn it Over” at the Gwangju Art Museum, South Korea he exhibited his painting of the 1906 Pupatan in Denpasar  Bali. Following from his research early in 2016 he reconstructed a scene post puputan killings that depicts leaders of the Dutch military battalion posing with the body of the Raja of Denpasar.

IMG-20160609-WA003       The WOI (Wall of Indonesia) Exhibition at Bloo Art Space, Padang Bai, East Bali

The prevalence of artist run initiatives such as Cata Odata in Ubud, Ketemu Project Space (who via their regional approach, professionalism and highly structured methodology have raised the bar high in Bali for others to be inspired), Luden House in Ubud, and the recently renamed Bloo Art Space located at the Bloo Lagoon Eco Resort and Villas in Padang Bai (also managed by Cata Odata), have become major forces within the development of art in Bali. While these community focused organizations embrace and grow through the dynamic connectivity of social media and the internet what is essential is that there are venues outside of the gallery commercial modal that continue to grow and survive as essential pillars of the art infrastructure in Bali.






WOI – Wall of Indonesia

IMG-20160609-WA003                                                        WOI Display at Bloo Art Space

Bloo Art Space, located at the Bloo Lagoon Bali Villas and Resort for Sustainable Tourism in Padang Bai, Karangasem, has become THE center for art in East Bali. Based on an eco artists village concept, the resort is the brainchild of architect owners Tony G. William and his wife Marita, and its gallery has been presenting regular programs of events over the past four years. This year, however the gallery has become known as Bloo Art Space, under management by Ratna Odata and Kenyut of Cata Odata in Ubud (who have steering the venues artistic vision for the past three years).

WOI – Wall of Indonesia, a Progressive Art Exhibition 7 May until 14 July culminating with an Artist’s Conversation brings together the work of 18 Indonesian artists, communicating about identity and what it means to be an Indonesian artist, is the current Bloo Art Space event.

20160702_132305#1Art works by DP Arsa, Koman Sindu Putra, Wai Santy, Citra Sashima & Nyoman Suyadnya

The WOI curatorial statement posed the following:

“Is it appropriate for an artist to bear a geographical title where the socio eco political climates must put into context in order to appreciate the work of art? This question becomes more perplexing by the fact that the Indonesian visual arts were built on the basis of western theory being taught in every formal art institution in Indonesia.”

““The Living Wall” within the Bloo Art Space will gradually be filled with artworks by the WOI artists during the duration of the exhibition. Dubbed ‘living’, the WOI shows the steps taken within the 2 month journey starting from the artists’ studio all the way to exhibiting at Bloo Art Space,” said Ratna Odata.

20160702_132202#1                                      Dibal Ranuh – ‘Tambora Tersenyum’ Digital Phtography

Beginning with the 1st wave on 7 May when the WOI opened, empty walls were the feature of the Bloo Art Space. Endeavoring to encourage casual and spontaneous dialog between the artists and audiences, the audience were invited to be participants with the artists Wai Santy, Gede Sayur, Agustian, Budi Agung Kuswara and Nyoman Suyadnya in the process of displaying the works on the walls under the guidance of the Cata Odata curatorial team which included writer Dwi Wibowo.

The artworks from each artist were not be placed together, instead were spread throughout the gallery adopting the visual style of a salon art display were works cover the entire wall space from floor to ceiling. During the proceedings of the event other 3 dimensional art works are placed on the floor allowing WOI to take on a larger art perspective.

“During this unique process we are inviting the artists to synergize and work together as a community, suspending their egos of seniority and juniority,” said Ratna. “The placement of the art works is not based on, or neither reflects the artist’s career achievements.”

20160704_180611Figurative Sketches on Paper by Koman Sindu Putra, Sketches Upper Right by Diyano Purwadi & Abstract composition by Ketut “Kaprus” Jaya.

As a part of the process from the artist’s studio to the Bloo Art Space each of the artists is filmed and a one-minute video clip posted on Facebook granting interesting insights into the artists creative process, and their identity as an Indonesian artist.

“Art is abstract, universal, and liberal. When an artwork speaks for its author we will realize that the taste and experience portrayed in it is relative,” says DP Arsa. “Because all these are liberated by the artist the idea of beauty becomes something that is subjective.” One of Bali’s leading contemporary art photographers and based in Denpasar, Arsa presents his art 3 works which are a fusion of images processed on Photoshop.

Another photographer, Dibal Ranuh, on the other hand, presents a display of black and white digital images, a photo essay investigating identity featuring the smiling faces of over 300 people (and one horse and goat) that he met during his recent visit to the East Indonesian island of Tambora.

20160702_132437#1Metal Sculpture by Agustian, paintings by Made Bayak, Citra Sasmita, Made Griyawan, Budi Agung Kuswara, Anwar Djuliadi, Wai Santy and  Nyoman Suyadnya

Colorful, mixed media three-dimensional wall hangings in the form of masks are by Balinese artist Rio Saren. Citra Sasmita’s presents both paintings and one figurative aluminum cut out form in her characteristic styles that ‘talks” of the plight of women in Bali. Batuan traditional artist Made Griyawan exhibits some of the exciting new wave of traditional art that is evolving in Bali.

Three cut out wood prints on cloth displayed on bamboo frames to represent figurative forms are the contribution by female artists Ni Luh Pangestu from Denpasar, who is currently studying at the Indonesian Art Institute (ISI) Yogyakarta. Three dimensional metal sculptures by Agustian taking the form of four legged animals made from scrap metal, car parts, tools, bolts, spark plugs, springs and pedals, featuring heads made from type writer keyboards are a special feature of WOI and both artists works add an extra, interesting dimension to the exhibition.

20160704_201731                   Artworks by Nyoman Suyadnya, Rio Saren and Anwar Djuliadi

Made Bayak presents works in a new series of creations under his multi dimensional theme “Plasticology” whereby his works are made from plastic trash that are layered then painted over with stencils and acrylic paints. “Plasticolgy” also includes workshops focusing on the environmental issue of discarded trash in Bali which he presents to schoolchildren throughout the island, along with other groups. also involving area trash clean ups, then making art works from trash.

Koman Sindu Putra presents two large figurative sketches in charcoal on paper that are spontaneous studies of people dressed in traditional attire and reveal his strong sketching skills. He also exhibits two works in his trademark style in which he builds the surface of the canvas with the embossing technique and recreates portraiture images of Bali’s past eras. Wai Santy, a female artist from Denpasar who has been studying European techniques of figurative and portraiture oil painting presents three compositions that feature her painterly style and add an important emphasis to painting based on strong, skilled techniques.

20160704_184436                               Cut Out Wood Print on Cloth by Ni Luh PAngestu

The artist’s conversation on the afternoon of 2 July featured the 18 WOI participating artists, the theme concerning the identity of Indonesian artists was explored, the goal being to enrich the dialog about art in Indonesian so that it can contribute to the search of the Indonesian visual art identity.

“Advances in modern technological have enabled us to see, hear, do and learn more than our predecessors. These shifts have led us to become globalized where we share something in common with the rest of the world, be it economically and culturally,” said Ratna Odata, summing up one agreed outcome of the artist’s discussion.

“This was the first time all 18 artists met each other and shared their perspective of Indonesia and their artistic journey. Even though 2 months is too short to answer all the questions we’ve raised about Indonesia, we should see the conversation as part of the research that can be used to determine our next step.”

“Globalization is not an excuse to forget and abandon what we already have and learned in almost 71 years that unity has been achieved in diversity. We believe that being local is already being global, that differences should not be seen as a menace, but as a blessing.”


WOI Schedule:

1st Wave of the ‘Living Wall’, Saturday 7 May: Wai Santy, Gede Sayur, Agustian, Nyoman suyadnya & Budi Agung Kuswara.

2nd Wave of the ‘Living Wall’, Friday 20 May: Oka Astawa, DP Arsa, Ketut ‘Kaprus’ Jaya & Anwar Bjuliadi.

3rd Wave of the ‘Living Wall’, Saturday 4 June: Rio Saren, Ni Luh Pangestu, Diyano Purwadi & Made Griyawan.

4th Wave of the ‘Living Wall’ Thursday 9 June: Koman Sindu Putra, Citra Sasmita, Dibal Ranuh & Cahyo Basuki ‘Yopi’.

WOI continues through until 14 July 2016.

The Bloo Art Space, located in the Bloo Lagoon Bali Villas

and Resort for Sustainable Tourism

Jalan Silyakuti Padang Bai, Karangasem

Ph: 036341211

Open Daily 9:00 – 21:00