“With a presentation of truth, it invites others to observe, understand and be interested in reading and learning, guiding them along the path of intelligence, civilisation and culture.”
-Yuswantoro Adi, ‘Membaca’ (2020)
Events of the late 20th century have been pivotal for the growth and development of Indonesian contemporary art, as artists of all stripes began to respond to large-scale political and social changes in Indonesia throughout the developmentalist decades of the 1970s and 1980s, culminating in the dominance of socially conscious art in the 1990s.
Artists born in the 1950s and 1960s came to the fore in the last decade of the 20th century. From a historical standpoint, they were critical contributors to distinct art forms and styles in the 1990s that responded to the works of artists from preceding generations.
They advanced an aesthetic shift that not only revealed a desire to overturn the values of high modernist art but more importantly, defined the direction and development of Indonesian contemporary art for the future.
The displayed artworks are created by 12 artists who, by virtue of being from a particular generation, share conceptual and aesthetic similarities. In featuring them, our overriding intent is to present a snapshot of a pivotal moment in Indonesian contemporary art history, one that painter Yuswantoro Adi elaborates upon and encourages viewers to not just view, but ‘read’ closely.
Arus Zaman alludes to the ebb and flow of generations, and the chapters of art history that can be written from a generational perspective. Their quest was underpinned by a rapidly evolving social and political climate that cemented their role as flag bearers of an entire generation of Indonesians in pursuit of freedom, unity and success.