City turns into inspirations in exhibition of “Pelicin”. Eight artists, 7 individual artists and a group, using city’s interaction model as the basis.

Brian Suryajaya Gautama
Brian Suryajaya Gautama, Cashflow Quadrant, Mixed media, 2013

City and materialism are inseparable. City is built of bunches of materials. Whilst other instruments in a city namely city’s authority policy, art and religion are the complement factors. Doesn’t make sense? Let’s take a glance to an exhibition titled Pelicin in Salihara Gallery from November 19th – 30th 2013. The exhibition is a part of Jakarta Biennale 2013.

The exhibition displayed artworks based on the artists’ cities of origin. The interaction, besides being felt strongly, also becomes the initiator of these artworks. There are nine artworks from the artists with average age below 25 years. The artists’ educational backgrounds are varied, from Institut Kesenian Jakarta / Jakarta Art Institute (IKJ), Jakarta State University (UNJ), Bandung technological Institute (ITB), Indonesian Art Institute (ISI) Yogyakarta, Tarumanegara University, London Institute of Communications, Universitas Pelita Harapan and Universitas Padjajaran, Bandung.

What actually happens in this exhibition is the tendencies of the community to raise material things above else. City, as we know, owns no production field in food matters. The food is imported from out of the city. Thus, the city inhabitants resort to anything to fulfill their needs.


Putri Ayu Lestari
Putri Ayu Lestari, Joki-jokian, Journal-video-sticker, variable dimension, 2013

An artwork titled Tilep Jaya of Faisal Yeroushalaim is the prime example of that. The objects are gathered from senders, who acquired the objects through stealing. Book, ATM planks even motorcycles. On the objects treated as artworks is a big inscription: “The bad artist imitate, the great artist steal”. The motto is taken from the art world with a distorted meaning. Faisal made a special page in internet to gather stolen goods. The goods gathered are quite much, including those he used in his artwork.


The same thing can be said to Sulaiman Said’s artwork titled Dana Tunai Cepat (Fast Cash). The artwork is a response of strayed leaflets found in many electrical poles, empty walls and electrical substations. The leaflets’ contents are offers of fast cash through debts with vehicle license or house/land ownership deeds. Besides gluing various leaflets with funny words as the parody of real strayed leaflets, Sulaiman also records himself gluing the parody leaflets in a video.

Take a leaflet with an inscription: “Butuh Dana Segera (Need Immediate Fast Cash)” with another after that “Hubungi: Keluarga terdekat Anda (Call: Your Closest Relatives)”. Another inscription is “Ingin Cepat Dana Cair (Want Direct, Fast Cash) ” with an inscription after that “Emang es batu bisa mencair (That’s not a fast-melt ice). The artist’s parody may turn people laughing or sulking. Laughing if the people in question have no immediate financial problems, whilst sulking if the people in question are the people frequently ‘seeing’ the actors behind the strayed leaflets. The strayed leaflets, of course, are intended for the middle-lower class community. As a suggestion though, the artist should have recorded a real transaction of these strayed leaflets’ clients. Besides fascinating, the information gathered for the phenomenon in Jakarta will be more valuable.

Sulaiman Said
Sulaiman Said, Dana Tunai Cepat (Fast Cash), Newspaper classified adds-text messages-tablet PC, variable dimension, 2013

Siksa Anak Soleh (Tortures for Soleh’s Son) is a comic artwork of a group named Cut & Rescue. The artworks are stripes of comic glued on the long board pane using black pens. The story is not completely remarkable, but the usage of media is. The use of comic stripes on paper amidst the high-tech world is a sensation on its own. The story, though not remarkable, is given an oldie background. Imron, a son of deceased Soleh, works as a staff in a mosque.

He was drawn as stealing the mosque’s charity money. As what a corruptor do, the charity money is spent on free sex and booze. One time, his act arouse suspicions thus a man named Rohim comes and beats him to death. Rohim does that since a quest to catch the stealing culprit is held. Besides acts of corruption, drunk behavior, free sex, murder until fraud placed close to a mosque as the symbol of religion, Satan and Devil are also drawn to be rejoicing over the evil deed of Imron and Rohim. After they enter the realm of death, they are placed in Hell instead of Heaven despite their occupancy at the mosque. The message of this artwork is crystal, money does not help, it controls the users. Mosque and social context of Soleh and Mukmin is city.

City and material are the main elements in Cashflow Quadrant, an artwork of Brian Suryajaya Gautama; Rezeki Anak Nakal & uang Ghoib (Luck of Naugthy Kids & Sleazy Money) with 4 others artworks of the group Cut and Rescue; Jinzhi of Ika Vantiani; Jika Aku Menjadi (If I Become); Serba-serbi Uang (Money and Its Perks) of Natasha Gabriella Tontey; and Joki-jokian of Putri Ayu Lestari.

Socially viewed, the artworks in this exhibition put their messages above freezing art form immune to time. A choice quite creative that it becomes a famous way to talk about cities in Indonesia. Nevertheless, the increasingly-complicated Jakarta.