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Indra Wahyu

Urban Dreamtime

Indra Wahyu

Urban Dreamtime

Urban Dreamtime



Indra Wahyu Amongst whirlwind colour and dizzying brushstroke illusions lie the astute observations of a social thinker, observing the modern world from eyes that acutely bring to life the vistas behind streams of consciousness. Moulding representation into painterly abstract, the experienced hand of Indra Wahyu channels emotion and energy through composition and subject with a raw truth that has become the trademark of the present age of firebrand Indonesian artists. Insightful, honest, and yet filled with the cascading motion of esthetic flow, the art of Indra Wahyu is a flurry of snapshot reality, encased in fantastical imagery. Born in Lampung, Indonesia in 1977, Indra Wahyu graduated from the Indonesia Institute of Art with a specialization in Fine Arts and immersed himself in the thriving Indonesian Art scene, receiving multiple awards from his Alma Mater and eventually landing himself the prestigious Grand Regional Award for the UOB Painting of the year (2012, Singapore). His award winning work, ‘School Hymns’, which depicts a school choir, is defining of the numerous commentaries the artist bestows upon his art, elevating societal triumphs to celebratory tribute, while throwing scathing light on its corrupt underbelly. Using children as his primary characters of expression, the artist uses the veil of childish naivety and innocence to uncover present states of covert societal influences, beliefs and norms. Occasionally including animals in his imagery as well, the artist further emphasizes his perspective as detached of the logics and understandings of the adult world and exposed in the guileless honesty held by those most innocent, or as some would say, ignorant. The conceptual aftermath of Wahyu’s work is one that warrants a deep set introspection, brought straight to the viewer’s centre of thought thorough the utilization of powerful visuals. Wielding acrylic colour and brush as his arms of conceptual warfare, the strong themes behind the artist’s work give way to surprisingly fluid aesthetics, often artfully compiled in a striking image pastiche that belay notional processes for stand-still visual sensations. Manifesting the power and energy of progressive thought through vivid colour and the melding of distinct stroke and style, the artist provides fantastical-even bordering on surrealist- imagery, creating


Urban Dreamtime immersive imagery that simultaneously creates a detached context for interpretation. Meandering through mild hue and impactful colour, capturing light and shade, and showcasing both precision and action-like expression, the visual contrasts held within Wahyu’s art are considerable in themselves, revealing the workings of a dedicated and focussed artistic hand. Be it the stirring of established social roots, the inception of perspective, or the complex implication of emotion, the art of Indra Wahyu remains a visual coalescence that mandates the attention of all who view it. It is to this aesthetic and conceptual revival, that I now invite you. Join us as we see the modern world anew, brought to fiery life through the skilled strokes of a man moved by the passion of change, inextricably interwoven into the liberation of expression.

Jazz Chong Director, Ode to Art


Indra Wahyu

Hopes and Dreams – Spirit and Aspirations “Urban Dreamtime” – Solo Exhibition by Y. Indra Wahyu “When a human being becomes a set of data on a website like Facebook, he or she is reduced…Everything shrinks. Individual character. Friendships. Language. Sensibility. Facebook, though it binds us together, cares not for the quality of that connection, the quality of the information that passes through it, the quality of the relationship that connection permits.” — Zadie Smith “You have to be somebody, before you can share yourself.” — Jaron Lanier Indonesia is in a period of transition again. With the new president Joko Widodo and his intention to start a “Mental Revolution” the Indonesian society will face many changes in the foreseeable future. The new government wants to reform the educational sector to assure a better future for the Indonesian people, and especially the young generation. This turn toward an improved quality of education goes hand in hand with a tendency to promote digital communication technology for strengthening the economy and building new and more efficient infrastructure. Even before Joko Widodo was inaugurated as president, he met with Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of the social network Facebook, to talk about possible cooperations; thus indicating Joko Widodo’s determination to make fast steps forward. Very soon Indonesia will experience immense changes within a short span of time- especially the younger generations. 5

Urban Dreamtime This newly evolving spirit in Indonesia can be seen in the works of Y. Indra Wahyu, an emerging painter who is living and working in Yogyakarta. He invites the viewers to share his views about questions concerning the prospects of the young generations not only in Indonesia, but in a wider scope as well- viewing a modernisation and technology oriented urban generation of young Asian peoples, living next to each other in the same region of the world. Since the world is continually becoming more and more globalized, the tremendously increased flow of information through the internet passes through everywhere and influences the future destinies of everybody. Y. Indra Wahyu, originally from Lampung province, had moved to Yogyakarta where he started to study at the Academy of Fine Arts in 1997. This coincided with a time of political tensions during the so-called period of “reformasi” in 1998, after the fall of the Soeharto regime. Among the art students many discussions came up about the function of arts in the political arena and the responsibility of an artist to the society. Intense debates about their own aspirations as artists and their roles in the political struggle were thematized through artworks. Of course Y. Indra Wahyu was influenced by this process. During the first years of his career as an artist he was drawn to a style that is called ‘social realism’, which means generally addressing social and political realities through art, in a realist style or even cartoon-like. When the times of ‘reformasi’ had come to an end, many students and artists felt disappointed and frustrated, their hopes not being seen fulfilled. As a way out of this dilemma most of the formerly politically engaged artists chose to return to their more private concerns, exploring themselves and processing the experiences they had collected. Y. Indra Wahyu began to delve into the imaginary spheres of childhood reminescences, changing his style and technique completely, but still keeping his eyes open to detect and comment societal developments. For the works of this period he was even awarded twice, making his works better known by this public success. 6

For this new solo exhibition Y. Indra Wahyu decided to focus on the life situations of young people or adolescents in a modern, or

Indra Wahyu modernizing society. “Urban Dreamtime” tells about the pressures of modern life where young individuals have to move constantly to secure their place in the market economy. This involves high ambitions, to aspire for success and to compete with other also highly qualified, ambitious and motivated players in the field. For example the painting “Great News” shows a group of young people studying the job advertisements in the papers, hoping to reach a good position after having sent their job applications to the company. There is also lightness visible during this endeavor, people seem quite opitimistic about reaching what they dream of. Generation Y and Its Struggle for The Future Young generations have always tried to find their own ways to adapt to the changes occurring in society. This has been expressed through the emergence of many different youth cultures, where a new discourse is created through the use of unique symbols like, for example, the hippies in the sixties in America or, as a more recent example, the punk generation. These movements were also connected with popular music, spreading their message through images and songs all over the world, eventually forming a doorway for the spread of globalization according to Western models. The often rebellious character of youth movements was finally absorbed by the industry which commercialized the once imminent spirit of protest. The “No Future”-attitude of the punks was finally revealed as another strategy of consumerism, as “The Great Rock’n Roll swindle”, only made for attracting young people to buy products like fashion items and music CDs. Generations – and also the names of them – come and go. Generation Y includes young people who were born at the end of the seventies until the beginnings of the nineties; this generation has grown up under the signs of consumerism, being used to all kinds of technogical gadgets from iPad/iPhone to the latest laptop model, communicating by cell phones and accessing social networks like Facebook and Twitter regularly as well as other kinds of digital media. Through this experience their sense of connecting with each other has a different dimension from the other generations before them. On the one


Urban Dreamtime hand there is the possibility to communicate with all corners of the world, but on the other hand the wish to connect directly with other people seems more limited now. There is also another kind of visuality implied through the use of these gadgets, of which the exchange of “selfies” is a prominent symbol. Among young people there is an observable shift of attitudes towards the expectations for the future. Adults in richer countries fear their nations’ best days are behind them, while adults in developing nations are more optimistic than those in rich countries (according to the Ipsos Mori survey). The OECD secretary-general, Ángel Gurría commented on this that there was nothing more dangerous and destabilising than an embedded sense of futility among young adults. The acceptance of a job below one’s skills makes striving for higher education futile. Paradoxically, in Japan, in one of the world’s wealthiest nations, the number of poor youth is growing. The reality to get only a McJob (1) is depressing, creating social phenomena like the so-called ‘otaku’ as new subcultural type. The ‘otaku’ is part of the Japanese pop culture, a person that is said to be interested mainly in manga comics and anime, being distant from society, socially akward and unable to relate to reality. This kind of life style implies the avoidance of responsibility. “Voices from behind the walls” shows the wish to agitate the outside world, using the speaker as symbol of demonstration with the intention to express a message so loudly, that it is being heard outside and taking over responsibility again.


The above mentioned optimism becomes obvious in “Flowers on the mud” which tells about a natural disaster that happened in Sidoarjo in Indonesia where floods of mud came out of the earth after some misplaced drilling works. Mud covers the surroundings and inhabitants of the area have been forced to move. Until now the flow of mud could not be stopped yet. This disaster belongs to the uncleared tragedies of the recent Indonesian history, altogether a scandal, environmentally and socially. The young woman seems to be totally absorbed by the view of the beautiful flowers which grow again on the muddy ground. There is hope... and optimism.

Indra Wahyu Finding Yourself Besides the outer components of life there is also the challenge of facing the inner life, of looking inward to discover one’s inner worlds. For finding ones own personhood, it is important to avoid being entrapped by somebody else’s thoughts, being transmitted and implanted through the social media and TV. “Entering TV” shows a kid holding the remote tool like a magic wand while floating through the almost unlimitedly accessible spaces of the TV channels. Information is valuable and could be received through the TV channels, but the loss of control endangers a safe return from this flight. The continous flow of bits of information, data sets or whatever is flooding our brains, intrudes into our unconscious. The realm of dreams might be a safe haven, but only until it is contaminated by images from the spheres of commercialism. “Camouflage” (!+2) and “Coloring Dreams” address the need to protect oneself, to keep the inner world intact, even with the risk of being exposed to trauma (or sweeter memories) from real life experience encapsulated deep within the mind and only accessible again while dreaming at night. Exploring such dreams is a possibility to find oneself, when processed and understood the old trauma might eventually disappear. “Stepped up” tells about the experience of loss, with an intense emotional level enhanced by the expression of the puppet in the foreground and the strong colors. Behind the puppet there is an animala dog, perching on the chair, barking and howling as if in great pain. The scene feels surreal and dreamlike, characterized by the strength of its impact and its intensity of feeling. Y. Indra Wahyu has achieved a new stage in his artistic journey. By combining elements from different art styles like Pop, Street Art, comic-like figurations and as well surrealist elements he has created a visual world that is at once imaginary but, at the same time, connected to the real, bridging the inner aspects of human life with outside realities. Urban realities and struggles are transformed into dreams, but dreaming as a guiding principle according to the surrealists just reveals a superior level of reality. His works show beautifully


Urban Dreamtime shaped compositions and bright colors, chosen with diligence. There is freshness and emotional power behind it. The paintings are visually charming although they refer to complex and controversial subjects. The artist has found a balance between the social issues he wants to talk about, with the desire to present them with “convulsing beauty” (to borrow here the words of the great surrealist Andre Breton). It is important to keep the dreams and hopes alive. Urban dreaming mirrors the needs of the dreamers, - achieving, struggling for success, being optimistic and hopeful when living in urban dream space. Still time for dreamtime… Because he has already become somebody – in the sense that he has developed himself as an artist – he can share his dreams and hopes with us.

December 2014 Anton Larenz, art writer

Notes: 1. “McJob: A low-pay, low-prestige, low-dignity, low-benefit, no-future job in the service sector. Frequently considered a satisfying career choice by people who have never had one.” In: Douglas Coupland: Generation X References: ‘Adults in developing nations more optimistic than those in rich countries’,, Monday 14 April 2014 Coupland, Douglas: Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture. 1991 Lanier, Jaron: You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto. New York, 2010


Smith, Zadie: Generation Why?, The New York Review of Books, November 25, 2010

Indra Wahyu Coloring Dreams, 2014 Acrylic on canvas, 165cm x 125cm


Urban Dreamtime

A Great News, 2014 Acrylic on canvas, 120 x 150cm


Indra Wahyu


Urban Dreamtime

About knowledge, 2014 Acrylic on canvas, 130 x 150cm


Indra Wahyu


Urban Dreamtime

Juvenille In Last Supper, 2013 Acrylic on canvas, 150 x 250cm


Indra Wahyu


Urban Dreamtime

Camouflage No.1, 2014 Acrylic on canvas, 120 x 120cm


Indra Wahyu


Urban Dreamtime

Camouflage No.2, 2014 Acrylic on canvas, 120 x 120cm


Indra Wahyu


Urban Dreamtime

Entering Tv, 2014 Acrylic on canvas, 100 x 120cm


Indra Wahyu


Urban Dreamtime


Indra Wahyu

Flowers on The mud, 2014 Acrylic on canvas, 150 x 150cm


Urban Dreamtime

Rereading Simulacrum, 2012 Acrylic on canvas, 190 x 200cm


Indra Wahyu


Urban Dreamtime

Drink Water While Diving, 2013 Acrylic on canvas, 200 x 235cm


Indra Wahyu


Urban Dreamtime

Sound of Heaven No.2 Acrylic on canvas, 150 x 160cm


Indra Wahyu


Urban Dreamtime

Stepped Up, 2014 Acrylic on canvas, 100 x 120cm


Indra Wahyu


Urban Dreamtime

Voices From Behind theWall, 2014 Acrylic on canvas, 150 x 150cm


Indra Wahyu


Urban Dreamtime

Biography Born in Lampung, Indonesia in 1977, Y. Indra Wahyu graduated from the Faculty of Fine Art of Indonesia Institute of Art (ISI) Yogyakarta, and has participated in numerous exhibitions in parts of Indonesia and museums during 1998-2011. In 1998 and 1999, Indra was awarded best watercolour and sketch by Faculty of Fine Art of Indonesia Institute of Art (ISI) Yogyakarta. He also emerged as Grand Regional Award winner for the 31st UOB painting of the year in 2012, Singapore. The award winning artwork, titled “School Hymms”, depicted a school choir and honoured the role of schools in imparting knowledge and creating a harmonious society. Indra Wahyu’s Paintings most often consist of children as subjects, who become metaphors for important figures in society and depict reality from a world view of innocence. Carrying powerful social messages, critique and commentary on education, society, and the modern world, every work by Indra Wahyu is steeped in deep conceptual backings. Aesthetically, the artist’s works carry stunning visuals and vivid uses of colour, with emphasis on motion and expressionistic uses of colour and patterns to convey conceptual thought.


Indra Wahyu Awards 2012

UOB Painting of the Year Award 2012, Indonesia Winner of the UOB Grand Regional Award, Singapore 2012 Finalist of Jakarta Art Award 2012


The Best Five of Visual Arts Competition, “100th Kebangkitan Nasional Setelah 20 Mei” ( A century of National Revival after 20 May), Jogja Gallery, Indonesia


The best Water Colour from Faculty of Fine Art of Indonesia Institute of Art (ISI) Yogyakarta. Indonesia


The best sketch from Faculty of Fine Art of Indonesia Institute of Art (ISI) Yogyakarta. Indonesia

Solo Exhibitions 2015

“Urban Dreamtime”, Ode to Art, Singapore


“Child’s Allegory”, Vanessa Art Link, Jakarta


Self Pleasure”, Roommate Visual Art Curatorial Lab. Yogyakarta. Indonesia “Human and Hope” – Complexity of the Urban, Painting - Final Art Work Exhibition, in Loby of Fine Art, Indonesia Institute of Art (ISI) Yogyakarta. 37

Urban Dreamtime Selected Exhibitions


Manifesto # 4, National Gallery of Indonesia. Jakarta Malaysia Art Expo, Malaysia ARTJOG’13 “Maritime culture”, Taman Budaya Yogyakarta Imagining Indonesia – Tribute to S. Sudjojono. Tonyraka Gallery. Bali




“Agitasi Garuda” (Agitation of Garuda), Jogja Gallery, Yogyakarta UOB Painting of the Year 2012, Jakarta Painting of the Year 2012, UOB Regional, Singapore “Dunia Ideal” (Ideal World), Jakarta Art Award 2012, Jakarta


“Life is Amazing”, Green Art Space, Jakarta “Child’s Allegory”, Vanessa Art Link, Jakarta Bazaar Art 2011, The Ritz Carlton Jakarta Pacific Place


“Imagination”, Vanessa Art Link, Jakarta “Pose~Historia”, Vanessa Art Link, Singapore Bazaar Art 2010, The Ritz Carlton Jakarta Pacific Place “Jogja Gumregah! Jogja Bangkit!” (Jogja Stretching! Jogja Revival) 2010, Yogyakarta National Museum. Indonesia


“Attachment”, Roomate Visual Art Curatorial Lab. Yogyakarta Jakarta Art Festival: Bazaar Art 2009, Ballroom 1 The Ritz Carlton Jakarta

Indra Wahyu Pacific Place. Indonesia ”Exposigns” Pameran Besar Seni Visual Indonesia ( Indonesia Big Exhibition of Visual art), Jogja Expo Centre” Yogyakarta 2008

2008 - “100th Kebangkitan Nasional Setelah 20 Mei” ( A century of National Revival after 20 May), Jogja Gallery. Indonesia Jogja Art Fair, Taman Budaya Yogyakarta. Indonesia “In Memorium Alit Sembodo”, Together to paint in Jogja National Museum,Yogyakarta “Self”, Philo Art Space, Jakarta “INDONESIA TODAY”, Linda Gallery, Singapore


“Djoempa Malioboro” (Malioboro meeting), Mpu Tantular Museum, Surabaya City. Indonesia Body Painting art, Solo city, Indonesia Fine arts exhibition “Tribute To Young Artist”, Sangkring Art Space, Yogyakarta “Behind The Horizon”, Srisasanti Galerry Yogyakarta “Tanda Mata IV” Bentara Budaya Yogyakarta


“RT 03”, Bentara Budaya, Yogyakarta. Indonesia “Art for Jogja” Taman Budaya Yogyakarta. Indonesia Together mural with Bamboo Community, Yamaha Music Center, Jakarta Body Painting art, Monas, Jakarta “Yang Error”,Yogyakarta Via-via Cafe. Indonesia Body Painting art, in Bandung City. Indonesia


Urban Dreamtime 2005


Dies Natalis ISI, (Anniversary of ISI), Indonesia Institute of Arts Gallery, YogyaYakarta. Final Art Work Exhibition in Loby of Fine Art Faculty, Indonesia Institute of Art, Yogyakarta. Indonesia [POST] GRADUATE, ISI Yk. “Jogjaku Ruwet” (Complicated of my Jogja),Yogyakarta Melia Purosani Hotel, Indonesia

Indra Wahyu


Urban Dreamtime Indra Wahyu First published 2015 Ode To Art Raffles City 252 North Bridge Road, Raffles City Shopping Centre, #01-36E/F, Singapore 179103 T +65 6250 1901 F +65 6250 5354 Ode To Art Kuala Lumpur 168 Jalan Bukit Bintang, The Pavilion, #06-24E/F, Kuala Lumpur 55100, Malaysia Tel: +603 2148 9816 Fax: +603 2142 6816 Š Ode To Art 2015 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or distributed in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher. Printed and bound in Singapore

Urban Dreamtime  

Amongst whirlwind colour and dizzying brushstroke illusions lie the astute observations of a social thinker, observing the modern world from...