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Agung Kurniawan

 

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Born: 14 March, 1968 in Jember, Jawa Timur (East Java), Indonesia

Agung Kurniawan is one of the most important contemporary artists of Indonesia. He is an artist who works with a variety of media. Agung Kurniawan has developed his artistic work within the field of concrete socio-cultural activism; he believes an artist has more and larger social responsibilities than simply producing artistic work. His traditional medium is drawing, but lately he works actively with performance art and videography. Although he works with performance art, he refuses to be called as a performer, and preferred to call himself as the director of the crowds in stead. Both as a studio artist and an art activist, he takes up clear positions and his approach often leads him either down to street level or to intervening in bureaucratic structures.

Agung Kurniawan’s work is reputed to be fairly “coarse” due to themes of violence, controversial politics and taboo subjects. The artist started out with book illustrations, drawings and comics, which offered a harsh, often satirical critique of Indonesian society at that time. With his drawing Happy Victim (1996), depicting people hanging upside down while laughing cheerfully, he won a 1996 Philip Morris Art Award and gained international recognition.

His famous trellis works series started in 2006. The series was inspired by an old family photo album from 1974, consisting of a photo diary of the artist’s mother during the last days of her dying father. Agung tried to recreate the personal as well collective memories by working the panels as a kind of comic book where the trellises are the contours of the figures and the shadows cast the blurred memory.

Agung Kurniawan co-founded “Indonesian Visual Art Archive” (IVAA) and co-owner of Kedai Kebun Forum (KKF) in Yogyakarta. His works are to be found worldwide mostly in museums e.g. Singapore Art Museum & permanent loan at Van Abbe Museum Eindhoven, as well as in private collection. His recent works include his performance in The Netherlands “Remember Day Parade and after”, during the so-called transHISTORY (Arnhem June 2016) and his video art during the Europalia Festival 2017 (Paleis voor Schone Kunsten / BOZAR / Centre for Fine Art Brussels, Belgium).

Artist Statement 2015 (in Bahasa Indonesia, freely translated)

– Tidak ada yang lebih berharga dari seni, kalau ada itupun pasti palsu (Nothing is more truthful than art, if there is any, then it is false)
– Cinta itu sementara, kesepian itu abadi (Love is temporary, Loneliness is forever)
– Kemiskinan adalah ibu tiri seni kontemporer (Poverty is the stepmother of contemporary art)


Education and Experiences

1987-1991
Archeology, Faculty of Cultural Sciences, Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia (not graduated)

1991-1995
Graphic Art, Faculty of Fine Arts, Indonesia Institute of the Arts, Yogyakarta, Indonesia (not graduated)
Publication/Book

2015
Lubricant, Agung Kurniawan, Brigitta Isabella, Farah Wardani, Umah Seni, Jakarta

Solo Exhibition

2015
Hanya Kematian Yang Setia Menunggu, performance at Indonesian French Institute (IFI), Yogyakarta Continue reading →

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