As one of the big visual art exhibitions in Indonesia with the most consistent execution, ARTJOG has been anticipated by many—not only by art community (artist, critic, collector, curator, gallery owner, etc.) but also by wider public from local and international. At first organized as an art fair (Jogja Art Fair or JAF) in 2008, this event has been through some evolutions in the way it manifests its idea and form.

In 2010, the early evolution of this event was marked by a new name: ARTJOG. Since then, ARTJOG always proposes a specific curatorial frame, a tighter selection process, and running an open invitation mechanism that also becomes the characteristic of this annual event. Since 2012, participation of works of foreign artists not only show the expansion of the participant, but also of the public. Since 2016, ARTJOG was held at a new place, Jogja National Museum. With more proper capacity of the exhibition room, this event shows another evolution, marked by the increasing number of audience, and a more-maximal display of the works.

Although the impact of ARTJOG on visual art market in Indonesia is so obvious, but what ARTJOG actually has been achieving is way much more than that. For years, ARTJOG has been proving that a contemporary visual arts exhibition in Indonesia can be presented as a popular event for local and international audience. Above all, the impact on local visual art scene might be its most important contribution. Prior to and after the opening of ARTJOG, tens of exhibitions independently were being held at independent spaces, galleries and art communities in Yogyakarta and surrounding areas.

ARTJOG – Yogyakarta International Contemporary Visual Arts Festival
After many years being one of the landmarks of contemporary visual arts event in Indonesia, now it’s time for ARTJOG to emphasize its direction and identity. Different than any events labeled by a term like ‘museum exhibition’, ‘biennale’ and ‘art fair’, ARTJOG actually has its own special deep-rooted character.

From this year on, ARTJOG would position itself as an event with ‘festival’ as its label, more precisely as an ‘international contemporary visual art festival’, or officially called Yogyakarta International Contemporary Art Festival. Surely, it’s not an exaggeration, knowing how festivity has been inherently associated with any ARTJOG. Aside from that, labeling is important as an affirmation of Yogyakarta’s position, as one of the most important visual art axis in South East Asia, in a wider scene of contemporary visual art event.

ARTJOG XIX-XXI | Arts in Common

From 2019 on, ARTJOG would be framed by a big theme or a tagline that binds three sub-theme manifested in three editions of festival each year, entitled Arts in Common. Common literally means ‘something general’, ‘something usual’. Thus, formulating this theme is a way to present this event as an event that’s more friendly and down to earth for anyone. Hopefully ARTJOG can attract a wider audience, anyone who likes art.

ARTJOG intends to offer an understanding that what ARTJOG would present in the next three years is some kind of incision, or a collection of things that unite the diversity of art expression and creativity by various individuals with different social, culture nationality background. This big theme is consistent with the affirmation of ARTJOG as an international contemporary visual arts festival. In the last two decades, contemporary visual art is still an effective practice to critically discuss various realities in this ever-moving world. Arts in Common believes that these days—amidst the inevitable globalization—diversity and sophistication of contemporary visual art expression still can provide shared meanings, which is contextual with the everyday world around us.
Arts in Common is inspired by ‘the commons’. Specifically, that term defines a repository of various knowledge, thing or (material or immaterial) resource bequeathed and created individually or collectively, and (hopefully) they would stand through time and be useful for the next generation. ‘The commons’ is an alternative way of thinking that’s so relevant with various realities of life nowadays, when—within the capitalistic economic system—paradigm of individual or group ownership and authorship has become too dominant, and it tends to create various gaps. Simply, ‘the commons’ can be interpreted as the result of (immaterial and material—natural, industrial, digital, etc.) resource exploration for common interest. Actually we can see and feel the benefit of the manifested idea of ‘the commons’ in various aspects of life in the last two until three decades, for example the movements of open culture, open source, digital commons and creative commons. ARTJOG – Arts in Common perceives that expression of art basically is the manifestation of creativity—as the most human resource in individual—that’s supposed to be ‘the common knowledge”.

ARTJOG MMXIX – common|space | curatorial concept

ARTJOG 2019 (further written as ARTJOG MMXIX) started from an idea of space as a dimension of this world where humans live in: a dimension where everything can exist simultaneously, at the same moment. ‘Space’ is a construct that determines relationships between various position, perspective and perception of individual or group toward the realities of the world. The title common|space is picked to bring ARTJOG closer to the meaning of exhibition or festival as a ‘common room’—like how architecture, urbanism and planology use that term to define a space or a physical area designed for people to use—such as a garden, a lobby or a reading room in a library.

In order to realize that idea, ARTJOG intends to bring together some artists and some practitioners of other creative areas in a common creating room. Some visual artists will be invited to apply their proposal for collaborative works. As an artistic strategy, collaboration—derived from the word colaborare—is practice that’s so relevant with the meaning of the commons. Within the modernist framework, collaboration is regarded as an inventive methodological breakthrough that can produce new aesthetical novelties. Meanwhile, some historians recently have discussed collaboration as a new way to redefine practice of art, and at the same time also as a conscious effort for an artist to project a new identity, they have already been known or constructed as a loner and an isolated individual. In general, collaboration is a manifestation of the spirit of openness and of the melting of subjectivity of the ‘artist’—as the author: a sole individual who is ‘genius’ and particular. ARTJOG hopes that the artists invited to do this collaborative project may propose some ideas that encourage interdisciplinary experimentations.

ARTJOG MMXIX-common|space also attempts to widen the problem of ‘space’ and ‘common|space’ into a discourse that works with various ecological perspectives. In accordance the original meaning of commons in as a repository of common natural resource (water, oxygen, sea, river, etc.), common|space within this context is also a metaphor for social environment, earth and universe. The main question is: what kind of commonplace are we living in right now?

After experiencing some massive changes simultaneously through the process of modernization all along the 20th century, we must view the thing we call ‘environment’ these days through a new perspective. Acceleration of change in earth ecosystem has sharply increased since this belief about human as the core entity in the universe. Modern people believe that universe is there to be explored and conquered. However, aside from producing various discoveries and sophisticating the way humans exploit nature, such belief also has driven the very significant changes in the condition of universe itself. If, in the past, the changes of the universe were driven by its own power (like volcanic eruption, snowstorm, the fall of meteor, etc.), now humans have become the source and the determinant factor of such change (for example the phenomenon of global, or deforestation, polluting sea with plastic, and the impact of those things is as big as the natural change of nature). The scientists call this era Anthropocene. Etymologically, this term is a merging of two Greek words; anthropo that means ‘human’ and –cene that means ‘new’. The use of this term, anthropocene, refers to the naming of a period in geology, like: pleistocene, holocene, paleocene. Anthropocene is used to define a new period when human activity starts to significantly affect the condition of geology and ecosystem on Earth.

Aside from the condition of nature (earth, sky, flora, fauna, etc.) that changes, we also find how that ecological change also happens on the social level. In the 21st century, what we call ‘ecosystem’ may refer to a new environmental order in which technological discoveries (machine, computer, robot, etc.) and various kinds of nature object/organism (including human, flora and fauna in it) for the last decade have been running process of co-habitation and co-activation. Nowadays, humans really rely on—and on the extreme level, controlled by—robot, machine and computer. Digital technology now also may present other ‘environment’ or ‘nature’—virtual reality—in which numbers or digit converted to simulacra. So, that’s simple description of how common|space we all live in right now really need a new perspective, reposition, rethinking, new contemplation and criticism.