Fri, 26 Aug 1994

Student art expo shows development of arts institute

By Amir Sidharta

JAKARTA (JP): Student works nominated for the Jakarta Art Institute (Institut Kesenian Jakarta) Art Award, currently on show at the institute's exhibition hall, reflect the potential of the art and design department students in developing their artistic and design concepts.

Unfortunately, however, some designs have not been sufficiently developed in concept and many of the better designs have been produced poorly.

The institute has worked hard to develop a proficient applied arts program and the students' work reflect the advancement of the school. The exhibit follows the various divisions of the art and design department and presents many quality works.

Two chaise lounges represent works from the wood studio. The gentle slope of the chair's surface and the austere curves of the armrests and base keeps Jimmy W.'s design simple. He maintained a basic modern design and therefore was able to concentrate on the production of the piece. Although simple, his work is well developed.

In contrast, Sri R's chaise lounge looks like the profile of a semi-reclining figure leaning on its elbow. She used various materials, including two different kinds of wood. The wood, which gives rather gratuitous accents to the chair's supporting members, and a tawdry web of fabric suspended from the frame of the chair further complicates the design.

Although the organic design is indeed original and elaborate, its concept lacks clarity. Moreover, the chair seems to be too small for comfort and is badly produced. More is definitely less in this student's design. Her imaginative design might have benefited from simplification.

Bedroom decor

The interior design division of the school focuses on bedroom decor. M. Marina K.'s borrowed the headdress of Jakarta's Ondel- ondel mythical couple as the motif for his bed cover. Another bed room set uses shapes akin to the basic bowed structure of a palmer.

In both cases the designs are appropriate for the large surface of a bed cover, but seem contrived and inept on the cushions and wall hangings. The designs need to be further adapted to suit the proportions of the cushions.

The students of textile design have begun to draw their inspiration from Indonesian ethnic groups. One design is derived from the motifs of the Asmat of Irian Jaya. However, the student failed to push the exploration of the design to its limits. The student could have studied the vast variety of individual motifs and the expressive quality in which the patterns are repeated, and then presented this pluralistic nature of Asmat design. Instead the student displayed a monotonous repetition of a single pattern.

The medium selected, batik, also limits the creativeness of the designs. Conventional batik fails to allow the designer to produce motifs with a dynamic, expressive flavor. A modern brush applied batik technique, which allows the designer to fabricate looser motifs, would have been more appropriate.

Fun graphics

A wide range of graphic designs, ranging from the formal to the witty, is presented in the exhibit. The formal graphics for "Prambanan dine and dance" restaurant have been designed with conservative elegance. The architectural form of the candi (temple) has been used for much of the restaurant paraphernalia except the triangular toothpick holders.

The witty designs include the fun graphics for the Radiator Cafe. Its motto, "Radiator cafe isn't blind" seems to refer to the absurd use of English in many Japanese products.

Similarly, the design for the Jail House Cafe present the piquant idea of using a prison theme for the cafe's eating utensils. The cafe utilizes the aluminum plates, bowls, and mugs commonly found in prisons. The bill holder, in the form of a prison building, might be going overboard, but is nonetheless consistent with the theme. However, the conventional glasses instead of aluminum cups is an awkward anomaly.

The witty poster for a United Colors of Benetton ad, using an image of a becak (pedicab) isn't original or communicative, but its simple and refined execution is certainly indicative of the student's artistic skills.

Visually exciting simple designs for three bags in the exhibit reflect the school's commendable progress. The letter "M", the initial of the shop the bag has been designed for, occupies the majority of the space, while the negative spaces are transformed into pencil ends. The dynamic design for "Jam basketball stuff" is appropriately rendered using pastels and suggests movement. The design for Picasso is well produced although it does not use Picassoesque forms, but rather patterns derived from Sotsass's Memphis.

Fine Arts

Painting, graphic arts and sculpture represent the fine arts element of the school's division of art and design. As in the applied arts, mastery of the medium in the fine arts also facilitates the effectiveness of the work.

The graphic arts division of the department presents a number of etchings juxtaposed with large paintings ranging from realism to social expressionism. The graphic art studio's image is much more intimate and personal.

"Kiln", a black and white aquatint etching by Aswam Samudra, quietly evokes the mood of a rudimentary space, perhaps the studio of the artist, by the arrangement of the simple forms in the picture. The student's familiarity with the medium and the techniques of printmaking has enabled him to produce a simple, yet communicative, work of art.

The figure in Budi GS's color etching stands in a feeble contraposto. Curvilinear strokes, suggestive of spirals swirling around the body, create a lissome nuance of movement within the image. The static poise of the figure combined with the dynamic flow of the spiral suggests a moment of transition, the commencement of movement. The celebratory spirit of the etching is further enhanced by forms indicative of red roses and its yellow border. Here, the experimental savor of the print strengthens its significance.

Sculpture, another category of fine art presented in the exhibit, is represented by Julia Pribadi's work. Her two pieces, Masquerade and Arrogance, shows the strong influence of her instructor, sculptor Dolorosa Sinaga, both in terms of form, composition and quality of production. Despite the student's use of her mentor's idioms, the refined execution of the pieces indicate her talent and prospects. Focusing on mastering the techniques of sculpture will allow her to develop her own personal artistic style in the future.

Good opportunity

The Jakarta Art Institute exhibition is a good opportunity for the school to acknowledge the accomplishments of their students, while presenting itself as an eminent art school. It offers the students an excellent opportunity to establish their professional network, while at the same time allowing the art and design related industries to contact prospective employees to support their trade in the future. Because this event will benefit to those industries in the long run, the organizers should try to obtain greater support from the art and design profession.

The student works will be on show at the institute's exhibition hall, behind the Taman Ismail Marzuki Art Center, Jl. Cikini Raya 73, Central Jakarta, until Saturday, Aug. 27, 1994.