Exhibition Title : EPOCH
Venue : ROH Projects, Equity Tower 40E, SCBD Lot 9, Jl. Jend Sudirman Kav 52-53, Jakarta 12190
Name of Organizer : ROH Projects, supported by Selasar Sunaryo and Bale Project (Bandung), Silverlens Galleries
(Manila), Take Ninagawa Gallery (Tokyo)
Contact details : Danti (+6287822897663) / [email protected]
Type of Event : Group Exhibition
Date : 9 October 2018 – 5 November 2018
epoch presents four artists from different generations and milieus whose practices constantly ask us to re-view and re-think what
is in plain sight. Their works call for a reexamination of the purpose of creative energy and impulses, something essential for the
art that lasts.
With deft handling by Sopheap Pich, Gary Ross Pastrana, Shinro Ohtake, and Sunaryo, ordinary everyday things—magazine
pages, bamboo slats, rope—become recontextualised and reenergised.
Like many contemporary artists of this day, they all work on a variety and diversity of materials and media. Yet, despite coming
from a wide range of “whats” and “wheres,” the art of each one returns to the central question of “why?” This is an exhibition about
the making of art in this age.
Sopheap Pich (b. 1971, Cambodia), trained as a painter at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he received his MFA in
1999. Perhaps best known for his sculptural bamboo-and-rattan work—the two in this show are fine examples—his art confronts
the idea of frames and layers: two very painterly challenges.
With Untitled (Floors and Walk), he brings up that interest in rethinking of space and materials. His grid is literally that, made of
wire, rattan and bamboo, but then Pich employs beeswax, burlap and natural resin to create a more complicated story. He showed
similar works in 2012 at documenta(13) in Kassel, Germany.
The youngest of the group, Gary Ross Pastrana (b. 1977, Philippines) is a conceptual artist and a curator, an influential voice in
Manila’s lively contemporary scene. Most lauded for his installations and objects, he presents the two together with this new
work. For many years, collaging has formed an important part of his practice, as an exploration in the potential of composition and
as a daily On Kawarian gesture.
He takes print materials and reorganises the slivers into forms that are at once from the future and in dialog with a distant past:
old magazine pages, shots of pure color and geometry. He aims to make a collage every day. Here, he has presented them as
ephemeral and yet deliberate, on structures that unframe them.
Similarly, but not quite, Shinro Ohtake (b. 1955, Japan) reimagines pages from books, mass-market publications and other
readymades into vivid forms and visual textures. Many remember his obsessively produced and thoroughly immersive scrapbooks
of collages as a highlight of the the 2013 Venice Biennale. The multi-hyphenated artist, who is an accomplished painter and
graphic designer, distils the sensations into works that are uniquely in his own distinct voice.
Writing about his masterplan for Venice 2013, curator Massimiliano Gioni explained that the “Encyclopedic Palace” comes from an
unrealised 1955 idea of a museum of human knowledge and innovation. Gioni wrote: “Today, as we grapple with a flood of
information, such attempts to structure knowledge into all-inclusive systems seem even more necessary and even more
desperate.” He intended the exhibition to offer “a reflection on the ways in which images have been used to organize knowledge
and shape our experience of the world.”
Ohtake has been making collages since around 1977. Each is a memory, a necessary response to a moment, a hope. The work in
this show, made between 2007 and 2011, stand out as specimens of his mastery of the form. When bodyparts peep out from the
striations, they appear to underscore the presence of human will in a world of pixels and the automation of the printing machine.
Finally, the most senior artist in the exhibition, Sunaryo (b. 1943, Indonesia) is represented with a large collage on canvas. A new
piece, the venerated artist and educator has fashioned an earthy composition that suggests a landscape-dreamscape, an
abstraction and a fascination with the ingredients of art.
With a color palette that brings to mind the stones and foliage around many of his public sculptures, and even his magical rock
garden in the hills of his Bandung hometown, like Sunaryo does best, he connects with the elements and the fundamentals of his
world and his art.
All the pieces in this exhibition were hand-built out of each artist’s experiences, surroundings and toils. They not only capture their
time, but also in a manner, inquire about what might come next.
They have brought layers of materials and thought-processes, resulting in fresh forms and new perspectives. Although varying
approaches are employed, the works come together in a dynamism that throws open questions about the contemporary, where it
might fit in a larger history and indeed why art matters in 2018.
We live in an epoch where the meaningful art of the present emerges from a plurality of influences and directions, to challenge
conventional ways of seeing and doing. Coming out of some of the most engaging and self-aware artistic practices in Japan,
Cambodia, the Philippines and Indonesia, the works invite a conversation on the value of modernity, the present, and the necessity
of making sense of it all.
The artists in this exhibition see the world for what it is, around them, and consider its possibilities. We need art today because as
human beings we need to feel and sometimes let the imagination take flight.
- Alexandra Seno
Gary-Ross Pastrana’s art has been one of the most persistent in terms of combining concepts with objects. His
conceptual pieces, although loaded with poetic intensity, remain unobtrusively subtle and even almost quaint in their
Coiled or folded photographs, his woven tales from found pictures in the internet, the sawed off parts of a boat shipped to
another gallery, his shirt tied to a pole to commensurate a flag, these are the slightest of turns Gary-Ross has his objects
make to create a new text within.
Born in 1977 in Manila, he received his Bachelor’s degree in Painting from the University of the Philippines and was handed
with the Dominador Castaneda Award for Best Thesis, and was granted with residency programs in Japan and Bangkok.
Gary-Ross Pastrana received the CCP Thirteen Artists Award in 2006. He has shown
at the Singapore Art Museum, Metropolitan Museum of the Philippines, and the Jorge
B. Vargas Museum. He was the country’s representative for the New Museum in New York’s 2012 Triennial “The
Ungovernables.” He was part of the Aichi Triennale in 2010 and the Busan Biennale in 2008. He is one of the co- founders of
Future Prospects Art Space and has regularly curated for shows both in Philippines and abroad.
Born in Tokyo in 1955, Shinro Ohtake is one of Japan’s leading contemporary artists. Studies of materiality, form and chance
processes, his works encompass drawings, collages, paintings and large-scale assemblage pieces, as well as architectural
projects and the experimental noise bands JUKE/19 (1978-82) and Puzzle Punks. Begun in 1977, the ongoing series of Scrapbooks
forms the core of Ohtake's practice. He
has made 68 unique books to date, ranging between 50 and 882 pages. The artist works on each book for several months to over a
year, pasting found imagery and materials into fragmentary compositions on each page, and then adding hand-drawn and painted
elements. Over time the books take on sculptural yet organic properties. A complete presentation of the Scrapbooks was shown at
the 2013 Venice Biennale as part of the “Encyclopaedic Palace.”
Currently based between Uwajima and Tokyo, Ohtake graduated from Musashino Art University, Tokyo (1980), and was recently
awarded the Cultural Affairs Minister’s Award for the Fine Arts 2013-14. He has had mid-career surveys at the Takamatsu City
Museum of Art (2013), the Fukuoka Art Museum (2007, toured to Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art) and the Museum of
Contemporary Art Tokyo (2006). International solo exhibitions include the Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art, London
(2014) and Artsonje Center, Seoul (2012). His work is in numerous public and private collections, including the Hara Museum of
Contemporary Art, Tokyo; the Hiroshima City Museum of
Contemporary Art; the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo; Benesse Art Site Naoshima; the Museum of Modern Art, New York;
and the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. In addition to the Venice Biennale, he has participated in major international
exhibitions including the Setouchi Triennale 2016; the Yokohama Triennale 2014; documenta 13, Kassel (2012); and the 8th
Gwangju Biennale (2010).
The artist is represented by Take Ninagawa, Tokyo.
Sopheap Pich is widely considered to be Cambodia’s most internationally prominent contemporary artist. Born in Battambang,
Cambodia, in 1971, he moved with his family to the United States in 1984. After receiving his BFA (University of Massachusetts at
Amherst, 1995) and MFA (The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 1999), he returned to Cambodia in 2002, where he began
working with local materials – bamboo, rattan, burlap, beeswax and earth pigments gathered from around Cambodia – to make
sculptures inspired by bodily organs, vegetal forms, and abstract geometric structures. Pich’s childhood experiences during the
genocidal conditions of late 1970s Cambodia had a lasting impact on his work, informing its themes of time, memory, and the
body. His sculptures stand out for their subtlety and power, combining refinement of form with a visceral, emotive force.
Born in Banyumas, Central Java, Indonesia in 1943, Sunaryo received his initial art study in sculpture at the ITB (Bandung Institute
of Technology). He graduated in 1969. In 1975, he went to Carrara, Italy to study marble sculpting. An accomplished artist, Sunaryo
is known for his monumental sculpture such as the Monumen Perjuangan Rakyat Jawa Barat (MONPERA), Bandung and the
Jenderal Sudirman Statue, Jakarta, and the latest one being “Bilah Nusantara”, cauldron for Asian Games 2018 which located in
front of the main stadium of Gelora Bung Karno. Besides paintings, he is also known for his paintings, installations, and prints.
Five of his print works were included in The Contemporary Prints of the World (1989) alongside internationally renowned artists
like Joan Miro and Paul Klee.
Throughout his artistic career, Sunaryo received many prestigious awards in Indonesia and abroad, such as Honorable Mention in
Philip Morris ASEAN Art Award (1995) and One of Five Best Paintings, Indonesian Art Award (1994). His participation in many major
art exhibitions at home and overseas, and together with the numerous public commissions that he won, has secured his
reputation as being one of Indonesia’s most eminent artists.
The multi-talented artist lives and works in Bandung, Indonesia, and is the founder of Selasar Sunaryo Art Space, a leading notfor-
profit art organization in Bandung. In 2015, Sunaryo also founded Wot Batu, an installation work in a form of ±2000 m2 stone
garden. Consisting 135 +1 stones which are conceptually and harmoniously planted and laid out in it.
Sunaryo’s concerns in art and culture throughout his life granted him several awards such as the Akademi Jakarta Award, The
Lifetime Achievement from Art Stage Jakarta and Jogja Biennale in 2017, and The Chevalier dans L’ordre des Arts et Lettres from
the French Cultural Ministry.