SOAS University of London

Department of the History of Art and Archaeology, School of Arts

Memory and the Avant-Garde: An Exploration of Trauma in Indonesian Conceptual Art Practices, 1970s-1980s

Wulan Dirgantoro

Date: 23 November 2016Time: 5:15 PM

Finishes: 23 November 2016Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: 116

Type of Event: Seminar

As the biggest democracy in Southeast Asia and the world’s most populous Muslim country, Indonesia has a vibrant art scene that draws its roots from traditional cultures, colonialism, religion and nationalist movements. Over the last decade Indonesian contemporary art has risen to be one of the key players in Southeast Asia’s regional art scene and, more recently, the global scene. Scholars on Indonesian art, however, have questioned whether the current positive atmosphere for Indonesian modern and contemporary art really illustrates a smooth transition between the global and the local in Indonesia and whether the interest in the here and now, conveniently put aside historical and political trauma that shaped Indonesian art history.

This presentation intends to address these questions through a preliminary exploration of the works of conceptual groups such as Gerakan Seni Rupa Baru Indonesia (Indonesian New Art Movement) and PIPA that were active in the mid-1970s to mid-1980s. In particular, how has the historical trauma of the anti-communist killings of 1965/66 affected the artists and their art making? In what ways have Indonesian artists engaged with the historical trauma during the height of the authoritarian regime?

Wulan Dirgantoro is a researcher on Indonesian modern and contemporary art. Her research interests are transnational feminisms, and trauma and memory in Indonesian modern and contemporary art. Her PhD dissertation on feminism and the writing of art history in Indonesia will be published by Amsterdam University Press under the title of “Feminism and Indonesian Contemporary Art: Defining Experiences” in Fall 2016. She has contributed to various art publications in Asia, Australia and UK on Indonesian modern and contemporary art. Formerly Lecturer of Art History & Theory at LASALLE College of the Arts in Singapore, she is currently a Fellow of Art Histories and Aesthetic Practices 2016/2017, at the Forum Transregionale Studien and Institute for Cultural Inquiry (ICI), Berlin.

Co-sponsored by the Contemporary Arts Research Seminar and the Centre for South East Asian Studies.