ARTJOG has been running for a decade. With such long journey, it has provided new discourses for Indonesia contemporary fine arts. Its various achievements have become important notes for us, the organizer, especially the one which studies the connection between the past, now and the future. For us, the nature of contemporary in ARTJOG means art has to be developed and accepted as a daily experience.
In the last three years, each of three themes that we picked represented our attempt to develop the social meaning and function of such contemporary. In 2015, with Infinity in Flux as its theme, we developed how sensory or embodiment experience built a network with information explosion and infinite image. In 2016, with Universal Influence as its theme, we encouraged artists to re-question universalism that got sidetracked in global culture practice during the last two decades. And the theme of Changing Perspective in 2017, challenged us to change the perspective on how art works and art forms, in order for art to regain its new essence.
For ARTJOG 2018, we propose Enlightenment-Towards Various Futures as the theme.
Enlightenment, in the history of the world, marked the birth of rationalism and humanism in Europe in 18th century. Enlightenment itself is the birth of idea about the sovereignty of individuality, the expansion and the institutionalization of knowledge, and the separation of state and religion (church)—all of those that in turn led to the idea of progress, democracy and modernity and also state-nation. Enlightenment freed man from the darkness of superstitious and irrationality. Art, with freedom of expression as its principal, had become an important part in project of Enlightenment.
We think enlightenment doesn’t have to use to big “E”. Enlightenment doesn’t always happen on the universal level, and it’s supposed to happen time after time. Because enlightenment is any attempt to drive out the darkness, to bring anything and anyone that got trapped in it to the light.
National Independence is indeed one of the enlightenment moments. But that’s not enough. There should have been many—and there must be many more—enlightenment moments, because there are still dark parts in the states and human beings, for examples the areas occupied by ethnocentrism, ultra-nationalism, fundamentalism, and anything that breeds violence and inhumanity. Art can be the light that comes to those dark areas.
History of fine arts is also a series of enlightenment moments. Every art movement—renewal of art—becomes a guiding light for whatever progress produces. Art keeps on moving forward because it realizes the abundant residue (“garbage”, unplanned outcome, “sickness”) left by modernity. And digital technology itself.
The critical nature of contemporary art is supposed to not only aim outside, but also inside. Therefore, enlightenment means the work of art should also light its own history, the history of art. Every work of art must be seen as an evaluation about history of art and the relationship between
society and art. That’s why contemporary art can be thought as the re-telling of history of art through different way in one stroke, to prepare various possibilities in the future.
For us, ARTJOG itself—after running for a decade—is the way to find out the inseparable connection between art experimentation, history of art and art reception. Enlightenment is an attempt to describe such tight connection in global digital culture. With this theme, Enlightenment, we want to ask artists to correlate interactivity and reflection, the aesthetical and the non-aesthetical, revolution (renewal) of art and commodification, the acceptable and the renewal, subversion and communication, art and knowledge, history of art and the contemporary one.
We ask artists to find various lights that can light up those winding and branched roads that lead to the infinite future, those various futures.
--Curatorial Team ARTJOG|11