Indonesia young artists favour wit and parody over straightforward critique of the government and the socio-political landscape of Indonesia and they draw on urban and popular culture. According to curator, Asmudjo Jono Irianto, ‘One of the post‑Reformation young artists’ greatest influences is the industry of popular culture. Low‑brow tendencies in the form of comics, illustrations, graffiti and advertising are quite ‘fashionable’ with young artists now.’
Uji Handbook Eko Saputro (aka Hahan) who is young artist in Indonesia and graduated with a major in printmaking from the Indonesia Institute of the Arts, although he now works in several media including painting, ink drawing and sculpture. His work is influenced by youth culture and he is closely involved with the graffiti and comic-book scene in Yogyakarta. Hahan uses satire and exaggerated characters to make commentaries on contemporary culture.
According to his interview, he said ‘I always start brainstorming from my personal perspective. There is this tendency of mine to view issues from the “black joke” point of view. I think it is brilliant to criticize someone in a subtle way. It’s like you cuddle that person, but they realize that they are being criticized. For me, art is interesting. It enables me to deliver my thought in a different way.’
In his work The Journey Hahan focuses on the art industry, highlighting how difficult it can be for young Indonesian artists to make it in the international art world, in spite of the Indonesian art market boom. He interrogates stereotypes in the art world, such as the revolutionary artists, gallery artists, innovators and a hard-working artist, and sets them within an apocalyptic scene.
Indonesia contemporary arts address a changing Indonesia as a “post-boom, democratic, multi-ethic and globalised consumer society.”
Art Radar, 2016, Indo pop: Indonesian art from APT7: a new generation of Indonesian artists, Art Radar, viewed on 16th February 2017, <http://artradarjournal.com/2016/02/29/indo-pop-indonesian-art-from-apt7-a-new-generation-of-indonesian-artists/>.
Uji Handoko Eko SAPUTRO (aka Hahan), The Journey, 2011, synthetic polymer paint on canvas. Purchased 2011. Queensland Art Gallery Foundation, collection: QAGOMA.