This exhibition is surely an unusual case. There are maybe some, not many, married couple who are able to work actively and showcase their work together like these artists. In a case like this, people would usually be more interested in trying to find similarities, instead of trying to find the contrasting elements between their works. Surely, both of them are indeed different. On the one hand, Windi’s work has a mimetic quality, and on the other hand, Agung’s work is more abstract. They both consciously strive to work together with different mediums, and different ways of saying things. Any similarities are arbitrary to their artistic process. Such is life, nothing is ever set in stone, no matter how much we try to control it. Every events or occurrences in life, always have its own meanings, its own depth and dimensions, even way more than our own limited conceptions about it. If we could understand paintings as an event, then we could unfold more meanings produced by it.
If we look closely to the body of works that Agung and Windi has produced, we could see an ‘encounter’ of the passion generated by two different artistic approach. Both Windi’s and Agung’s paintings show almost the same tendency to treat the field of canvas that they’re working on, as layers of intense lights; both also tend to display spaces, which looks almost empty, to give more strength and depth. Windi and Agung also have a penchant for making color and appearance that tends to be thin and gradate (both achieved through brush strokes as well as the emphasis of hatching lines). The ‘encounter’ then ended, because Windi then makes a representational form as a statement, through the construction of shaded abstract lines that are of a nature; while Agung cultivates fields of form until it becomes ‘Amorphous form’ (amorphous form).
At first glance, perhaps, most people consider the trend between these paintings are not the same, but in fact they are not really true. Theoretically, a fine art researcher Ernst H.J Gombrich explains that visual representations that appear to be the same and considered resembles the image of the objects or environments it describes does not occur as a result of simple imitation, like a mirror reflecting the various objects placed in front of him, but rather occurs as a result of ‘connecting models’ (relational models) of the process of observation and consideration of thought. A painter who makes a picture of a realistic form—as Windi does—not only pay attention to form (object) that she/he wanted to do, but also considering how the form appears, in her/his own consideration. Furthermore Gombrich said: “An artist actually describes the light of the sun that shadows the dark shadows in each-every object surface; [artists organize it] Mix it so it will not only be a dark shadow. The result of illusion the form that is clear [due to the arrangement of dark shadows] is what is radiating gently the bright qualities of the later object contribute to the persuasive power of an image [about object in question] “(2). How Windi Apriani decided to show an image of an object which is realistic (or mimetic), in the end, is a part of working stage that can also be understood and felt by Agung Fitriana, who religiously worked on the ‘form’ subject matter of a more abstract work.
Agung Fitriana is interested in avoiding the realistic picture. His paintings obscure the explanation of everything that can considered natural. Agung Fitriana’s abstract work, though it is separated from our daily experience, does not mean just a form of painting itself. Every work of art, is a symbol. For philosopher Martin Heidegger, every work of art has a certain conceptual framework in the aesthetic discourse, because each work brings with it another matter. He explains that a work “says something other than the mere thing itself is, allo agoreuei. The work makes public something other than itself; it manifest something other; it is an allegory. In the work of art something other is brought together with the thing that is made. To bring together is, in Greek, sumballein “(3). The work of art, however, is a symbol. Many people think that a symbol is about images (animals, plants, people, or goods, etc.) that are greatly simplified to represent certain stories or concepts, whereas allegory is a matter of ‘something that refers to the other, who is not himself ‘. ‘Formless form’ (amorphous form) in the work of Agung is also functioning as a symbol, just like the image of the object made by Windi. Painting is a symbolic form that has its own characteristic. We have to try to separate it in order to understand it as a manifestation of a symbolic expression (symbolic expression). Critics Arthur C. Danto explains, that: “symbolic expressions share borderlines in one direction with non-symbolic expression, such as the natural expressions of feeling, which might just as well be classed as manifestations, and, in other direction, with symbols as such “(4). As a sign, a symbol is not merely about the picture represented but also other problems such as: the expression of feelings experienced someone in his life experience. Windi’s and Agung’s paintings may be just one example of the expression of feelings that can also be experienced by most parties; even if they have their own interpretation of the symbol, we share experiences with the embodied [form] of the symbols. A sign that is visual, in fact, has two facets: the first is the signified or its image; the second is its appearing form, called the signifier or wimba. Regarding to Windi’s and Agung’s paintings in this exhibition, it is a matter of ‘wimba rasa‘ (visible form of feelings) of their symbolic expressions that they recognize closely. Everyone can of course entitled to their own opinion. Some of them are perhaps more familiar with how Windi expresses her feelings; and on the other hand, some of them are more fond to how Agung chooses to express his feelings and inner experiences through shapeless forms. Both ways, though not the same, now both appear to be connected together before us.
The works of Windi and Agung articulate the meaning of painting, giving its field and space more strength; as a mystery of illusion, as well as a mystery of perception; here, the matter of painting is about [model] projection. Windi and Agung, did enjoy the way they create the depth of space: Windi explaining it through the power of objects and gestural effects, whereas Agung explained it through the game of distance and layer effects. Both show the painting case as a deep charismatic projection of the power of light. The projection is not only about connection, but also about interaction of two things, about what is in the inside (feelings) and on the outside (wimba, the visible form): Windi, through the shading lines of the gestural state of the white field and bright field (shading), while Agung regulates the appearance of ‘Dark’ layers through the way he made the tones of color (toning). Both of them could agree to reach their differences through their ways of expressing (projecting) their opinions each within the broad boundaries of the charisma of light.
Two different painting methods that are now exhibited in ‘wimba rasa‘ (visible form of feelings) seems to try to explain that matter of form (wimba, visible form) in the painting as a [model] projection is not always should be seen as a clear picture. If an image is often directly connected to the dimension of thought (thinking) and cognition (cognition), then the real thing is wimba also about feeling and sensation. If the symbol of an image often demands to be thought of; then the symbol of a wimba may just want to be felt. Painting as a [model] projection—exemplified in this particular exhibition—shows its potential beyond the habit of general assumption about the painting as a result of a copy of the outside world (reality). Windi and Agung seemed to agree on not wanting to look-out (outward looking), but rather, they are more fascinated to look-in (inward looking). Both, now, present their choices in front us.
Everyone, of course, can specifically and personally connect her/his personal experience with a work of art that she/he likes, liven up to the feelings she/he experiences with symbols expression done by artists on their works. That’s what I refer to as the depth of one’s appreciation towards a work of art. It is not just a matter of being able to know or to ‘understand’ it. That aspect is what will then create an understanding of a work of art as a manifestation of the value of art (rupa) which expand and explore the depth of our life experience. Such an attitude can be considered to have no difference in value, compared with the attitude of the artists in their creative process, respectively, and both can be understood the same way that enables art expression as part of the structure of human knowledge in the depth of meaning and in the life it faces. If the second contemplation (creation and appreciation of the art) is continued, then someone (artist or appreciator) will arrive at a situation, or a process that scholars think as an intellectual search structure. This initiative and pre-emptive move by Windi and Agung, opens opportunities for us to interact with each other and ‘connect’ ourselves—it is not just about how they interact with each other, but also how we witness the result in what they do. This exhibition at least opens up the space of experience, for our individual souls, so that we won’t be confined only to ourselves, and to live it up as part of the search structure of meaning in life. The intellectual search structure not only emphasizes on the acquisition of correct knowledge through the unification of subjects and object, but also about the actualization of moral character and the development of nature’s holiness. The search is aimed at overcoming concentration in the self, to break away from the individualistic tendency, and to show a way to bridge the gap between self and others (outside the self) (5).
For me, the paintings of Windi Apriani and Agung Fitriana show an example of how inequality is actually present in a closely connected relation. In these two types of paintings, I found dimensional effects of motion present in both of them in a way that is not the same. Both types of motion seemed to be integrated into one, because both understand the role of light charisma in each field Canvas—Windi makes it, in a more monochromatic color while Agung makes it all colored with a white coat; it serves to restore the game of those colored fields back to the white field of the empty canvas. It seemed, the motion, without each of them realizing, moving in the inequalities in the way they work. The motion is so important. To understand the views of Mulla Shadra, the matter of motion and change can be regarded as a manifestation of the life of [man] itself. He said, “all substances and things are constantly changing—change in such a way that everything is actually nothing else (reflections) movement and change, becoming (shairûrah) and the transition itself “(6). Windi’s and Agung’s paintings are not just about their [feelings], but also about how we (witnessed) their feelings and feel it.
Jalaluddin Rumi has a great phrase, like in the previous quote, to explain that meanings can be present even without words. Neither Windi’s and Agung’s paintings are about words, chosen to represent their feelings, nor is it a matter of understanding what have been described, in addition to the forms of feelings that are expressed. “What need for shouts for those who can hear whispers? “, said Rumi. Why do someone needs explanations, if he can understand it with feelings? Bright and dark, for Windi and Agung, I think, is a form of ‘game’ of consciousness that is creative as well as inspirational that they strive for us (who enjoy their works). Forms that move (transform) in the field of their paintings show how they’re each trying to find themselves, guaranteeing the presence of a blemish as a hope for goodness, subordinating various differences between them for mutually acceptable purposes. From the beginning of this exhibition, they have no purpose to ‘ equate ‘ themselves, nor do they want to consider the exhibition as a kind of opportunity to show the exchange of habits among each of them. Through this shared exhibition opportunities, they can actually reinforce the difference in their respective roles—each in the stages of becoming the (soul) of their self-being who ‘Creates’ and also created. This exhibition will make certain, that they are each a different person. The thinker Victor Segalen has a wonderful expression for this matter. He said: “(o)nly those with a strong individuality can fully appreciate the wonderful sensation of feeling what they are and what they are not “(7).
Bandung, September 2017
Rizki A. Zaelani ǀ Curator
- Rumi, Jalaluddin. “Kata-kata Hanyalah Pakaian, Maknalah yang Utama” on Signs of The Unseen: The Discourse of Jalaluddin Rumi, SHOPHiA. Ed, Trans. Anwar Kholid. 2006. Bandung: Pustaka Hidayah. p. 60–61.
- Gombrich, Ernst H.J. 1980. Art and Illusion: A Study in the psychology of Pictorial Representation. Oxford: Phaidon. p. 27.
- Heidegger, Martin. “The Origin of the Work of Art”, dalam Poetry, Language, Thought. Trans. Albert Hofstadter. 1971. New York: Harper & Row. p.19–20.
- Danto, Arthur C. “Symbolic Expressions and the Self”, on Gregg Horowitz & Tom Huhn. 1998. The Wake of Art: Criticism, Philosophy, and the Ends of Taste. Ed, Arthur C. Danto. Amsterdam: G+B Arts International Imprint. p. 104.
- Chittick, William C. 2007. Science of the Cosmos, Science of the Soul: The Pertinence of Islamic Cosmology in the Modern World. Trans. Arif Mulyadi. Bandung: Penerbit Mizan Publika. p. 185.
- Muthahhari, Lht. Murtadha. 2002. Filsafat Hikmah: Pengantar Pemikiran Shadra, Musa Kazhim. Bandung: Penerbit Mizan. p. 104.
- Segalen, Victor. 2002. Essay on Exotism: An Aesthetic of Diversity. Trans & ed. Yaël Rachel Schlick. Durham & London: Duke University Press. p. 20.
PROGRAM: A Duet Exhibition by Agung Fitriana & Windi Apriani
CURATOR: Rizki A. Zaelani
DATE: 29.06.18 – 13.07.18
VENUE: National Gallery of Indonesia
ADDRESS: Jl. Medan Merdeka Timur. No.14. Gambir, Jakarta 10110