Pick of the Week: Art Jog at Jogja National Museum, Yogyakarta

By Adeline Chia

Mulyana, Sea Remembers, 2018, installation view at Art Jog, Yogyakarta


An art fair that cuts out the galleries. Curated like a biennale, but everything’s for sale. Art Jog, the latest edition of which opened last week, started 11 years ago as part of the Yogyakarta Arts Festival as a grungy showcase of young artists, mostly from the Javanese city and mostly without gallery representation. In 2010 it span off and grew into a curated platform with a mix of new and established names, a line-up of live performances and a Young Artist Award. Numerous satellite events, under the ‘Jogja Art Weeks’ umbrella, have sprung up to coincide with it.

Now that the fair is in its second weekend, the crowds should be less congested. And in general, the scale of this year’s show is manageable; with 54 artists and a tidy exhibition design, many of the participants have a room to themselves. (The venue was previously the Indonesian Fine Arts Academy, Indonesia’s first art college, so is divided into classroom-like spaces.) The roster is still chiefly Indonesian, including established practitioners like Heri Dono, Entang Wiharso and the Indonesia-based Dutch artist Mella Jaarsma, as well as a smattering of overseas names such as Indonesian blue-chip artist Ronald Ventura and Japanese-Australian artist Hiromi Tango.

The theme is Enlightenment: Toward Various Futures. While you might not observe any heavyweight philosophical wrestling with eighteenth-century Western ideals, you can expect a variety of generally optimistic visions of what is to come. Setting the tone is the specially commissioned ‘underwater world’ installation of colourful crochet corals, anemone and fish made from yarn by Mulyana titled Sea Remembers (2018). If this is what the posthuman future looks like after the entire world is submerged, I can live with it. Meanwhile, Tango invites viewers to get hands-on with an interactive installation, Healing Garden (2018), which involves folding tissue paper into flowers. The shapes and colours of the blooms are inspired by local species such as the rose, jasmine, amaryllis and kenanga.

Art Jog is at Jogja National Museum, Yogyakarta, through June 4