15 Cemeti Artists

Reprinted from Gaya Art News (June 2008)

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11 Totems

gayamustica150Reprinted from Gaya Art News (July 2008).

“We must arrive at a dynamic conception of forms, we must face the fact that all human forms are in a constant state of transformation,” Asger Jorn wrote in 1954. “Architecture is always the ultimate achievement of intellectual and artistic evolution. It is the final point in the achievement of any artistic endeavour because the creation of architecture implies the construction of an environment and the establishment of a way of life.”

Few artists have devoted as much energy as Nino Mustica to this sort of research into the evolving power of transformations. Though his roots are solidly within painting – and, if you had to choose one aspect, within the emotive impact of colour – Mustica’s natural sensibility is one of constant change, constant growth, constant evolution. He is a painter, but without the limitations of canvas or delineations between sign, gesture, colour, material – or volume.

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Yellow, But Not The Sun (Gaya Art News)

Reprinted from Gaya Art News (October 2008).

Review of Michelle Swayne’s show, Yellow, But Not The Sun.

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Made Wianta: Sharp

wianta-sharp-faceReprinted from Gaya Art News (December 2007).

The demiurge turns demoniac to rip, slit, and slash the thin veneer of civilized society with which we dull ourselves into submission. He’ll stab, shear, cleave, rend, gash, chop, wound, jab, prick and amputate — slicing and cutting to make us whole again. Alive.

In Sharp, he fucks us with fifty pierced phalluses, he cuts us into strips and eat us. Vomits and bites us again, to pierce our imbecile parents, legal hypocrisies, and slave-morality religions — all the scaffolding we’ve erected to make ourselves flaccid, drained of strength. This is our safety: a tired vagina, a tired anus, sewed up by our daughter to keep the polluted seed inside. Sent home in tears. Something sharp is necessary.

The demon has a hard on. He has fifty hanging from the wall, each pierced by a cockring. Named, one for each of his friends — mine will be named Aleko (Alex + kontol) — because his violence is care. Love in death. Killing, power, strength. These were once life. We grabbed the intestines and sometimes disgorged them onto the floor. Now we have perusal and market analysis.

Like the old kings who sliced themselves to bits in ritualized regicides to revive the land, the demon does to the viewer what his razors and pins and swords do to the canvas. Cut, mangle, destroy, and make, in the end and almost by happenstance, beautiful.

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Suklu: Reading Objects

Reading Objects, in Gaya Art News (July 2008)

Reading Objects, in Gaya Art News (July 2008)

Reprinted from Gaya Art News (July 2008).

“His spirit moves in the rhythm of things. It is thus that art becomes akin to religion and ennobles mankind.” – Okakura Kazue, The Book of Tea (1906)

If Suklu were a peanut, he would not be one of those peanuts that forgets its skin. “I want to be a farmer,” he says. “I want a farmer’s way of responding to materials and objects.”

Not a farmer from 2008, but rather one of the ancient ones, perhaps half-mythical, perhaps real. One of the farmers who made art in the everyday-sculptures in the form of scarecrows; landscaped rice terraces; sculpted ladles and plates and bowls and water scoops out of coconuts, tongs out of bamboo, or cheese graters from duri plants; complex installations out of wind-powered soundmakers; or performance art within Bali’s religious-animist ceremonies.

The dominant characteristics to Suklu’s work-a sense of purity and a rootedness of the work within Bali-make it awkward, artificial, to graft an exogenous analysis or philosophical framework onto it. A perfect review of his work might not include any names other than Suklu, Bali, and the farmer. But Suklu’s work is also such a rare living example of Heidegger’s concepts of authenticity and groundedness, not to mention his postwar agrarian nostalgia, that leaving out the comparison would be a disservice to both.

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