Sun, 05 Nov 2000

Book Nook: Half a Century of Indonesian Printmaking

Setengah Abad Seni Grafis Indonesia, Half a Century of Indonesian Printmaking; Jointly published by KPG (Kepustakaan Populer Gramedia) and Bentara Budaya Jakarta; 187 pp; Rp 175,000

JAKARTA (JP): Despite its 50 years of existence, Indonesian graphic arts or printmaking continues to bear a grievous stigma as a marginalized art form in the local fine arts world.

Compared to drawing, painting and sculpture, graphic arts is relatively young, emerging from the works of pioneering artists like Mochtar Apin from Bandung, West Java, and Baharoedin M.S. from Jakarta in 1946, a year after the country's independence.

Efforts to elevate the "status" of graphic arts in the country's art scene have continually been made by artists, lecturers and art critics.

One significant attempt has been made by Bentara Budaya Jakarta in holding a comprehensive exhibition to commemorate 50 years of graphic arts in the country. It is meant to portray the journey of graphic arts, evidenced through the works of pioneering artists and those of their counterparts today.

This bilingual work (the English section was translated by staff of The Jakarta Post) has been published in conjunction with the exhibition to provide art lovers, students and others with the background history, development and contributions to Indonesian fine arts.

Written by curators of Bentara Budaya Jakarta, the two articles Our Debt to Apin, Baharoedin and Suromo and Half a Century of Indonesian Print Art: No Need to Print in Blood are clear and informative. Yet, to make it a good and readable book on graphic arts for its primary readers -- art students and ardent art lovers -- the work needs a lot more information on the art of printmaking.

The editor could have invited other art experts and writers to contribute their knowledge and analytical thoughts on the subject to enrich the book's content. Otherwise, the book only serves as an accompanying catalog for an art exhibition. (raw)