A collaboration by Bale Project and Wot Batu,
As a part of the celebration for Selasar Sunaryo Art Space 20th Anniversary
Coordinated with media partnership from IndoArtNow.
Sabtu | 7th of September 2018
03.00 p.m – 06.00 p.m
7th of September – 7th of October 2018
Tuesday – Sunday | 10.00 a.m – 06.00 p.m
Artist and Curator Tour:
22nd of September 2018
Jl. Bukit Pakar Timur No. 98 #1, Ciburial, Bandung
Wot Batu serves as the foundation of Septian Harriyoga’s kinetic artworks here at Circle. Septian is a sculptor who works intensively to create kinetic art, although this will be his first time creating site-specific works as shown here at Wot Batu. To this end, Septian’s reading of or response to the ‘space’ of Wot Batu becomes important.
Wot Batu itself can be categorized as land art, that is, a form of artwork that takes and uses nature and other environmental components as part of the work itself. With careful planning and execution, Wot Batu feels very natural. This is perhaps Sunaryo’s main aim all along when he composed Wot Batu—to make nature into the main character or even the driving force of his composition. As a work of art, Wot Batu opens itself up to a wide range of interpretations, especially concerning the relationship between people and nature. It can also be taken as a symbol of the relationship between nature and culture. These days, as more people live in urban spaces, there is a sense that humankind is becoming less attuned to nature. We are no longer able to read nature as astutely or handily as we should.
We call it a ‘friendly’ nature when nature exists in harmony with human life, when its cycles are known and are predictable. Meanwhile, ecosystems are the loci of complex interactions between living things and their natural environment. A good ecosystem is a balanced one. These days, however, nature feels quite ‘hostile’; it is often unpredictable. Climate chaos, global warming, and natural disasters—these calamities undoubtedly occur due to humanity’s willful excesses and our mismanagement of the natural world. Wot Batu seems to stand as a reminder, so that we can once again seek a harmonious existence with nature and respect the natural cycle. This is also the reason why circular forms have been adopted widely across Wot Batu, which in turn becomes the seed of Septian’s concept for his exhibition here.
Nature shapes culture, and perhaps also vice versa. Both exist in harmony here at Wot Batu. The great stones that are composed in such a way at Wot Batu seems to harken back to a civilization that once existed in our distant past, a civilization that once thrived amidst great nature. Although Wot Batu reflects the passage of time and the changes that time brings, in the short span of the exhibition’s visiting time (of mere hours per visit, if that), Wot Batu may seem static and immovable to the visitors. Perhaps this [paradox] is the reason behind Septian’s desire to emphasize and amplify Wot Batu’s concept and message.
As a representation of culture—in this case: of technology—Septian’s kinetic works are specimens of humble technologies that do not threaten nature’s existence. In fact, Septian’s works try to fit themselves to nature. Despite the use of motors to propel their movements, their oft bare-faced appearance and visible gears communicate their humble and unpretentious characters. Furthermore, these simple machines are made from aluminum, a very common material used in a wide range of utensils and objects, from the humble cooking pot to state-of-the-art airplanes. Aluminum itself only came into widespread use in the last 200 years or so, much later than iron/steel or bronze. Industrial-scale production of aluminum only emerged around 150 years ago. As raw material, aluminum is one of the most abundantly available on earth.
Septian’s work exist on a human scale, seemingly without desire to coopt the natural landscape. As humble homages to Wot Batu, Septian’s works adjust and align themselves to their surroundings. These kinetic works, which augment Wot Batu’s meaning, can even be considered performative. With their movements, these works perform their “duty” to communicate the patterns and symbolisms found at Wot Batu. When witnessing Septian’s works and their seemingly eternal movement, the audience might also move toward an understanding about nature’s cycle itself, one that seem to go on and on without stopping, until the very end (though who knows when that will be).
Asmudjo J. Irianto