ARTJOG is an annual contemporary art exhibition in the city of Yogyakarta, which is usually held for one whole month in the period between May and July. ARTJOG is regarded as barometer of contemporary art in Indonesia as it always showcases both local and international artists from various circles and their works – from two-dimensional and three-dimensional artworks to performance art and art installations.
Over the years, ARTJOG never ran short of visitors, on the contrary, with every year, more and more art enthusiasts came to either see or even participate in the exhibition. At the beginning, ARTJOG was a part of the annual Festival Kesenian Yogya (FKY), or Yogya Art Festival. Since 2010, it has been a stand-alone event under the name of ARTJOG. The success of ARTJOG even resulted in another art exhibition program, Jogja Art Week, which was a fringe event of ARTJOG itself. It is held to accommodate artworks that did not pass the initial selection of ARTJOG, and that are exhibited in selected showrooms in Yogyakarta.
Romuald Karmakar, BYZANTION (2017). Installation view at documenta 14, Kassel, 2017 | Photo by Benjamin Westoby for Artsy
ARTJOG was initiated by Heri Pemad, an art manager who graduated from Seni Lukis (painting) ISI Yogyakarta and founded his art management company in 2004. Until now, Heri Pemad still serves as ARTJOG’s CEO, with Bambang “Toko” Witjaksono as his curator. Actually, Yogyakarta never had a shortage of visitors interested in contemporary art in its galleries and showrooms. Nevertheless, ARTJOG is one of the most-anticipated art events in Indonesia and attracts visitors from all over the world. The magical aura of ARTJOG increasingly piques the interest of art lovers and observers. It is not only attended by curators, artists and art enthusiasts - which is often the case at other exhibitions – but even the “ordinary” people do not hesitate and are often very enthusiastic to participate and appreciate the artworks that are shown during the event: they do so either by trying to understand each exhibited artwork through reading the explanation on the captions; by choosing to look at the works of renowned artists only or artworks they usually don’t get to see in exhibitions; sometimes, they are content just taking a selfie or a wefie.
The success of ARTJOG is rather astonishing when it comes to attracting visitors and presenting exhibition rooms and spaces that are unique, artistic, comfortable and visitor-friendly, leaving visitors amazed. But what makes ARTJOG stand out from other art events?
Roee Rosen, Live and Die as Eva Braun (1995-1997). Installation view at documenta 14, Athens, 2017 | Photo by Sabine B. Vogel for Kunstforum
ARTJOG always carries special themes, and the event space is always representing these themes, including the exhibited artworks that have been carefully selected. Sometimes, the artists are chosen directly by the management, at other times, organizers give other artists the opportunity to participate through an open application. Over the years, ARTJOG has become more selective in choosing between hundreds, even thousands of incoming artworks, as artists’ enthusiasm to participate in this event is very high. Additionally, ARTJOG usually also prepares a Special Presentation Artist, that sometimes includes foreign artists, such as Yoko Ono who participated as both artist and activist in ARTJOG8, 2015 at Taman Budaya Yogyakarta. In previous editions, the works of other renowned artists, such as Marina Abramovic (United States), Team Lab (Japan), Stefan Sagmeister (Austria), Wim Delfoye (Belgium) and Ashley Bickerton (United States) have been exhibited.
ARTJOG’s iconic trademark is its main venue, where commissioned artists showcase their thematic, commissioned works. Individuals and art collectives that have been commissioned by ARTJOG are expected to respond to the theme given to them accordingly and translate it into a stunning visual display, like in 2014, when the theme was “Legacies of Power” and Samsul Arifin prepared a row of puppets made of gunny in various sizes – some of them gigantic – on a big stage to greet the visitors coming to Taman Budaya Yogyakarta. In 2017, Wedhar Riyadi was appointed commissioned artist for ARTJOG10 with the theme “Changing Perspective”. He presented an art installation consisting of eyeballs in different shapes and colors as a response to today’s digital era. In addition to the unique display at the main venue, ARTJOG also embraces all kinds of artworks, including paintings, sculptures, crafts, graphics, photography, film, performance art and installations, from mainstream works to those who follow an out-of-the-box concept.
ARTJOG10 -2017 | © Therra Bajraghosa
Since 2013, ARTJOG has been giving out the Young Artist Award (YAA) to young artists who are up to 33 years old with the aim to encourage and nurture a passion for art among young artists and trigger more growth and a wider network to further enlighten the art world. In 2017, the Young Artist Award was given to Syaiful Aulia Garibaldi and Bagus Pandega
Another special feature of ARTJOG are the very well organized fringe events that include curatorial tours, meet-the-artist sessions, art performances and even a historical tour of ASRI when the event takes place at the Jogja National Museum, which used to be the art school ASRI – the predecessor of Institut Seni Indonesia Yogyakarta (The Indonesian Institute of Art Yogyakarta). In addition, there is a special “viewing” for art collectors at the beginning of the event, so they can learn about the prize and the artworks in detail.
One Decade of ARTJOG
ARTJOG10-2017 | © Therra Bajraghosa
In 2017, ARTJOG entered its first decade, and therefore ARTJOG was presented a little bit differently in terms of concept and selection of the artists and their works: this time, not only the works of great artists were displayed, but also the oeuvres of many young artists making their debut. Additionally, two Indonesian public figures joined the event, namely jazz singer Tompi and actor Nicholas Saputra, known for his role in the film “Ada Apa Dengan Cinta”, who presented a collaboration with artist Angky Purbandono.
“Floating Eyes” was a sculpture made of resin that visualized big eyeballs at the ARTJOG10 main venue. Commissioned artist Wedhar Riyadi wanted to convey through his work that it is about time the people change their perspective in today’s digital era. Another novelty at this year’s event at the Jogja National Museum – which previously was the art school ASRI (Fine Arts Academy Indonesia), now named Faculty of Fine Arts ISI Yogyakarta – was the display of the statue of ASRI founder R.J. Katamsi, an artwork by sculptor Wahyu Santoso...