ARNDT Berlin is proud to present Cycle No. 3, the first solo exhibition of Indonesian artist Agus Suwage in the city of Berlin.
Agus Suwage is one of the most important Indonesian contemporary artists. He has been actively engaged in local and international art scenes since the late 1980’s. His works have been shown in many major art events in Indonesia and abroad. He is prolific and expansive in his artistic practice, making drawings, paintings, sculpture, installations, using various kinds of medium and materials.
CYCLE #3 is the final part of an exhibition showing a series of Agus Suwage’s works entitled CYCLE. Two preceding parts have been exhibited in Jakarta (Nadi Gallery, 17-30 Apr 2012) and New York (Tyler Rollins Fine Art, 28 Feb-13 Apr 2013).
The exhibition title and the works presented here relate to three aspects of a cycle. Firstly: the circle of life as a theme. Life and death has been a major underlying theme addressed in Suwage’s earlier work and continues to figure strongly in his recent works. Departing from this, the second aspect of cycle relates to the notion of rotation: the visual motifs that the artist has worked with in the past, and still currently being redeveloped, and perhaps will be in the future. And finally, cycle (or recycle rather) as the artist’s predilection for incorporating found materials or used objects in his work.
Figures of skulls, skeletons, and black out of charcoal dominate the works in this exhibition. But of course, in the façade of death, we are actually having a chance to gaze at life, face to face. This is Suwage’s way to confront the act of living with its end point, when all action, belief and faith in life shall meet the final condition to be faced whether we like it or not.
A series of works in CYCLE were indeed asserting Agus Suwage’s main modus of working all this time: to deliver various personal reflections toward myriad social situations surrounding him. He is not analyzing it, to hastily give opinion and solution at the end. As he is not judging all he had perceived and discussed. On the other hand, he invites us to follow his contemplation by arraying various problems at once in a seemingly ironic, even incoherent relationship. All he delivers in a mere dark visualization, shrouded by a bitter sense of humor.
Anxiety toward numerous matters in life confronting the personal with the social in this sort of tension is certainly neither a unique nor exclusive experience that can only be found in Indonesia. Up to this day, various conflicts and illogical atrocities are constantly recurring: from the shooting of a young girl Malala Yousufzai in Pakistan, bombing at Boston Marathon, to the death of a number of people caused only by careless and messy building and workplace arrangement in Bangladesh. These sorts of incidents are indeed not elating, nor nourishing our faith of human savvy and conscience, able to construct a life together. In front of these myriad violence affairs and victims that are continuously tumbling following the absurdity of life, we are all in fact facing an identical destiny. We may wish that life would take another path, to undergo a new cycle.
In facing all of it, Suwage seems to be skeptical, also towards himself that keep questioning and concerning any kinds of things. What if what he seeks and waits for, say it an enlightenment of together life, is an ideal that continuously hiding in nowhere afar? Should we be sustained and faithful as Estragon and Vladimir awaited the still-not-coming Godot, just like in the play by Samuel Beckett. Or should we need to promptly gritty seeking the eternal flame of truth, flying close even to the sun, and in the end burn and fall, like Icarus?