The third edition of ARTmosphere will take place at the Galeries Lafayette in South Jakarta on Aug. 1-31. (JG Photo/Dhania Putri Sarahtika)

ARTmosphere Returns to Galeries Lafayette Jakarta

JULY 18, 2017

Jakarta. The local outlet of French department store chain Galeries Lafayette at the Pacific Place mall in South Jakarta held a special one-day-only preview of its upcoming art exhibition, ARTmosphere, on Monday (17/07).

Slated for Aug. 1-31, the third edition of ARTmosphere aims promote Indonesia's contemporary art scene.

"With our commitment to support the creative industry, the Galeries Lafayette is absolutely the best platform for outstanding artists, collectors, gallerists and art lovers. This year, ARTmosphere will explore the diverse and distinct local art scene, which is ready to compete on the global art stage," said Arnolda Ratnawati, sales director at Panen Lestari Internusa, a retailer company that operates the Galeries in Indonesia.

The exhibition, organized in collaboration with international art fair Art Stage Jakarta, is one of the events preceding the main fair scheduled for Aug. 11-13.

The extensive experience and portfolio of the Art Stage Indonesia and Art Stage Singapore founder and president, Lorenzo Rudolf, played a big role in the Galeries Lafayette's decision to partner with the art fair.

Earlierm Rudolf served as director of Art Basel, the iconic art fair held annually in Switzerland, and initiated its branch in Miami Beach. He also started SH Contemporary, Asia's first international top contemporary art fair, in Shanghai, China.

He is no stranger to the Galeries Lafayette as he was based in Paris for several years. In 2010, he and Indonesian art patron Deddy Kusuma organized the first international exhibition of Indonesian contemporary art at the Grand Palais, featuring works of 20 leading artists.

Cooperating with Rudolf, the Galeries Lafayette believs that ARTmosphere will have a huge appeal and is likely to attract more than 300,000 visitors.

Rudolf expressed his enthusiasm about the ARTmosphere concept, which grants artistic value to a shopping venue.

"It takes art outside its typical museum and gallery infrastructure," he said.

Artworks

More than 20 paintings, sculptures and multimedia works will be showcased at the department store, including "Translucent" — resin installations by Meliantha Muliawan. The series comprises diverse artworks, all of them pertaining to childhood.

The idea emerged when Meliantha took part in a residency program at the Redbase Foundation in Yogyakarta, which organizes art programs involving children. Toys featured in the installation refer to the ways in which kids displace their powerlessness — this part was inspired by Qori, a daughter of the foundation's janitor.

"Kids always find something to play with and it seems to me that toys are their means to adapt, because they have no power to control things. What they can control are inanimate objects, so toys actually play a big part in their early lives," Meliantha told the Jakarta Globe.

She added that toys are also a medium for kids to create an ideal world.

"Sometimes children play house, one of them takes the role of mother. Perhaps she unconsciously portrays the kind of mother she would like to be. [But] I didn't interview children, that wouldn't be possible. They cannot answer objectively, so I just observed them and tried to empathize," said the graduate of the Faculty of Visual Arts and Design of the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB).

Another installation was inspired by "Sekaten" night fair in Yogyakarta, which is famous for bright colors and neon lights.

Part of 'Translucent' was inspired by a night fair in Yogyakarta. (JG Photo/Dhania Putri Sarahtika)

On her choice of resin as primary medium, Meliantha says she was bored with the standard ones, like paper and canvas. She found them not neutral enough.

"In the beginning I was bored with canvas, paper and others, because the backgrounds were already white. There's already a color in them. I was wondering if I could utilize another medium, a neutral one. I found resin. It is transparent, but when illuminated it refracts colors. The shadow [produced] can make people see what the main object really is, and can let them focus on it," she said.

"It's like a mirror for self-reflection."

Another artist, Raul Renanda, combined his paintings and installations in a work titled "Layers of the Secret Self."

It is always a challenge, the architectural and interior designer said, to turn the creative processes from design to art. He wants his works, particularly paintings, to convey the very essence of himself, without interference from anything else.

This is why his way of painting is spontaneous. He meditates and then allows the ideas to flow through him in a trance-like state. When he feels something is wrong, he just throws away the canvas. It often takes two or three canvases to finish one work.

"Whatever I do, it's always opposite to my work as designer. It's all about spontaneity, abstract painting. I neither think about it, nor make any concepts. All I control is just colors. Then again, the colors I use are usually basic colors," he told the Jakarta Globe.

When it comes to sculptures, however, Raul applies an in-between method. He makes research to produce an ideal object in his mind, but then carves it spontaneously.

"The approach is different, but what remains is the spontaneity. There is no concept draft. I just go straight to the cutting machine and arrange everything to pre-conceptualize what I want to do, and see how it turns out," he said.

His constructionist sculptures showcased at the ARTmosphere exhibition are open to interpretation. Based on the shape of a sailing boat, they convey the motif of of a journey and movement, as well as Indonesia's maritime history.

'Layers of the Secret Self' by Raul Renanda. (JG Photo/Dhania Putri Sarahtika)

Both Meliantha and Raul are excited their works will reach wider audience in the Galeries Lafayette.

"The place doesn't matter. It would be too exclusive if they were showcased in museums and artspaces. To me, art is for everyone and in malls it can reach more people," Meliantha said.

Raul considers the exhibition an opportunity to make use of his design skills to arrange the space for his paintings and sculptures. He also chose works which he considers less abstract than what he usually does.

"Here I show those of my works that can have a wider appeal. My other paintings are more intense. I'm like a singer who decides which songs to play depending on the audience and setting," said the Djakarta Theater designer.

ARTmosphere will be open for public on Aug. 1-31.

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