Mujahhidin Nurrahman, Layer, 2012, paper cutting manual, 69 x 69 x 7 cm
Back for the third year, the Bandung Contemporary Art Awards (BaCAA) announced their winners in front of 150 art lovers, students, and artists at the Galeri Seni Lawang Wangi on 10 May 2013. This year’s jurors, which included Asmudjo Jono Irianto (Curator), Carla Bianpoen (Art Reporter), Mella Jaarsma (Artist), Tan Siuli (Assistant Director and Curator of the Singapore Art Museum), and Wiyu Wahono (Art Collector), selected a mere 17 finalists who went on to the next round of judging. That number is much lower when compared to last year’s 25 finalists.
The judges’ decision to decrease the number of finalists at the BaCAA #3 was a result of the decline in the number of artists who qualified for the prerequisites as set by members of the jury. That decision put wind to the rumors that artists not from the city of Bandung were abandoning the BaCAA. At the BaCAA #2 there had been 400 participating artists. That number is now halved to 200.
Andonowati of ArtSociates, the event’s organizer, attempted to damp the unwanted news. According to her, the decline in participation came as a result of the tougher requirements set in BaCAA #3. For example, applicants now need to provide photo documentation of their artworks for the past three years and ten of their new art creations. In reality, not all participants had been active during the given timeframe, hence, despite the quality of their work many were precluded from the selection.
The number of jury was also reduced, now to five people in contrast with previous BaCAAs with their 7-strong judges. “It was just numbers. The mix of skills, however, remain the same as in past years. The members of the jury represented all arts stakeholders: dealers, academicians, critics, and promoters,” explained Andonowati.
Rather than entertaining rumors, Andonowati encouraged everyone to focus back on the initial objective of the BaCAA, which was to stimulate the formation of young talents with great potentials to be developed as artists on the international stage.
ArtSociates have since established collaboration with Centre Intermodes, La Rochelle, France, for a residential exchange program. Two BaCAA #02 winners – Bagus Pandega and Octora Chan – have already participated in the three-month residential program in October-December 2012.
This year, the judges selected Leonardiansyah Allenda with his installation work Untitled as the winner of BaCAA #03. Leo’s artwork was the one of the results that came out of his Cemeti Art House residency in Yogyakarta in 2011. A number of his installations and Video Mapping are now in the private collection of Andonowati.
In the accompanying texts, Leo wrote that his winning piece – a traditional Chinese paper umbrella with an inversed top – represents of convensions that weighs on modern Indonesian society. On the one hand, the opened umbrella that was hung close to the ceiling provides a sense of protection. Yet, needles hung in-between the umbrella’s frame. It seemed that Leo wanted to present it as a form of intimidation to whoever stood underneath it.
Three other winning entries were the video art of Muhammad Akbar entitled In Gaze Control # 2, which presented a woman with a warm smile. Slowly, the smile became enforced and provoked a sense of unease and guilt in the viewer. Through his work, Akbar wanted to show the problems of “ogling” in the politics of identity of a patriarchal society. Generally, men are the subjects who have the power to ogle while women became the objects of their gaze.
The next winner was Mujahhidin Nurrahman with his paper cutting manual, Layers. Usually, paper as medium and paper cutting technique would be categorized as craft. In Mujahhidin’s hands paper cutting became the equal of any other contemporary art piece.
In his work, Mujahhidin attempted to convey the stereotypical view of the world of Islam that is often associated with violence and terror. At first look his piece seemed ordinary, yet on closer inspection the patterns he created made out the shape of an AK-47 machine gun.
Lastly, Syaiful Aulia Garibaldi’s installation entitled Atoah epok: Ehoor Lamura (Like Art: Fungal Statement) showcased a glass box 200 by 300 cm containing mushrooms of all sizes. The mushrooms illustrated beginnings and ends, birth and death, in all processes. His work crossed interdisciplinary boundaries of art and mycology (the science of fungi).
With the success of the four winners, the reduction in participant numbers at BaCAA #3 clearly was no indication of any decline in interest towards a competition whose purpose is to encourage the spirit of young artists to create.
Muhammad Akbar, In Gaze Control #2, 2011, high definition video 1080p. 42″ HDTV, duration 10 minutes