Panel Discussion Form follows concept

Form follows concept ©

2 - 4 PM (GMT+7)

Online GoetheHaus

Trace the footsteps of Indonesian conceptual art with Asep Topan, Duto Hardono, Hendro Wiyanto, and Mella Jaarsma.

The term “conceptual art” is closely connected to Joseph Beuys. Conceptual art began to develop as a movement in Europe and the USA in the 1960s. Its representatives attach greater importance to the idea or concept of a work of art than to the artistic skill or form of a work of art. The artist Marcel Duchamp is considered one of its pioneers, and like him, conceptual artists generally do not use the criteria of beauty, uniqueness, or skill when judging the quality of an artwork. In this respect, conceptual art expanded the boundaries and definitions of the prevailing concept of art at the time. To underscore this, quite a few of these artists reduced the material presence of their works to a minimum; this is widely known as the “dematerialization” of art.

Inspired by this spirit, this event aims to trace the footsteps of Indonesian conceptual art, or conceptualism, from diverse perspectives. Even if the question of when these terms were first used in Indonesia cannot be answered precisely, certain manifestations of conceptualism appeared in the “Indonesian New Art Movement” (Gerakan Seni Rupa Baru Indonesia, GSRBI) in the 1970s. Painting was dominant at the time, and representatives of the GSRBI attached greater importance to the concept or idea of a work of art than to the “skill” of conventional art.

Physically attend the event Participate via livestream

Institutionally, the establishment of Rumah Seni Cemeti in 1988 (today Cemeti - Institute for Art and Society) was an important event that marked the continuation of the tradition of conceptualism in art in Indonesia. Since its inception, Cemeti has presented artists who foreground the concept of their work. Further, the presentation of various unconventional media—installation, media art, and performance—have been of great importance. This coincided closely with the development of contemporary art in the 1990s, which was primarily shaped by the social, economic and political turmoil in Indonesia.

In current developments, conceptualism appears in its more substantial “form”; this is because here the literal form of art disappears and the focus is on “situations” and “instructions” with the aim of creating a specific audience experience. This demonstrates an additional differentiation of the term “dematerialization” of art, the main approach in conceptual art.

Some of the questions that will be addressed in the course of the discussion:
  • Besides the work of the “New Indonesian Art Movement” (Gerakan Seni Rupa Baru Indonesia), what are other sources for researching the development of conceptualism?
  • What role do art institutions play in the spread of conceptualism in Indonesia and how do they influence the development of contemporary art today?
  • What importance do Indonesian artists attach to the term “dematerialization” in their works?

Asep Topan

is an independent curator and writer based in Jakarta, where he lectures at the Jakarta Institute of Arts. Educated as an artist, he curates contemporary art with a focus on sociopolitical subjects and transdisciplinary formats. He attended the de Appel Curatorial Programme, Amsterdam (2015-16), holds an MA in Curatorship from Bandung Institute of Technology (2017) and a BA in Fine Art from Jakarta Institute of Arts (2011). In 2015 he curated the Jakarta Biennale with six Indonesian colleagues led by Charles Esche, and in 2016 he curated the project “Young Must Make Your Death Public” at de Appel arts center in Amsterdam with a team of three. Most recently he worked as curator and Head of the Curatorial and Collection department at Museum MACAN, Jakarta (2018-21).

Duto Hardono

is an artist, experimental musician and university lecturer based in Bandung, Indonesia. He has exhibited his works and performed internationally in notable spaces including Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (Belgium), Hara Museum of Contemporary Art (Japan), Haus der Kulturen der Welt (Germany), and National Gallery of Australia (Australia). He has taken part in many recognized exhibitions and events including Shanghai Biennale (2012), Biennale Jogja (2013), Saitama Triennale (2016), Europalia Festival (2017), Contemporary Worlds: Indonesia (2019), Asia TOPA (2020), presented sound installations, collages, site-specific works and his more recent immaterial works based on text and instruction scores. He teaches Sound Art and Performance in Fakultas Seni Rupa dan Desain, Institut Teknologi Bandung and runs a publication platform and music label called Hasana Editions.

Hendro Wiyanto

studied art at the Indonesian Art Institute (Yogyakarta) and philosophy at the Driyarkara School of Philosophy (Jakarta). He has curated several exhibitions in Indonesia and written about numerous artists: Alit Sembodo, Dolorosa Sinaga, F.X. Harsono, Gerakan Seni Rupa Baru, Heri Dono, Jim Allen Abel, Jogja Agropop, Mahendra Yasa, Melati Suryodarmo, Theresia Agustina, Tisna Sanjaya, S. Teddy D., and Ugo Untoro.

Mella Jaarsma

studied visual art at Minerva Academy in Groningen (1978-1984), after which she left the Netherlands to study at the Art Institute of Jakarta (1984) and the Indonesian Institute of the Arts in Yogyakarta (1985-1986). In 1988 she co-founded Cemeti Art House, now called Cemeti Institute for Art & Society with Nindityo Adipurnomo. It was one of the first spaces in Indonesia dedicated to contemporary art. To this day it remains an important platform for young artists and art workers in the country and region. She is also an active contemporary artist and has become known for her complex costume installations and her focus on forms of cultural and racial diversity embedded within clothing, the body and food.