Without any intentions whatsoever, I have visited three art museums in this year alone. This is new to me, as I never consider myself as an art lover/or museum people. But if I recall my visits, all of them were delightful.
The first one was on the end of March when I visited ARMA / Agung Rai Museum in Ubud, Bali. I mentioned a bit of my visit here. In Arma, I can see how much respect the Balinese people give to a German born artist who then living in Bali, Walter Spies because of his contribution on developing Balinese art and introduce Balinese culture internationally.
But my favorite one is a painting by a local artist, I Made Kedol who’s famous for his spaghetti technique. His Golden Rice painting makes me in an awe when I saw the painting in which nicely placed in the center of the room. It’s like the painting is eagerly telling us “Don’t you see how beautiful I am?”. And I bought the invitation. I was astonished. It’s almost the same kind of feeling when you see a well-made decorated (and enormous) cake and all you’re wondering is “how can a man create such a masterpiece?”.
And the second was just earlier this month when I visited Museum Ludwig in Cologne. From other museums that I have in my list (as tempting as Chocolate museum & Fragrance museum), I don’t know why I finally landed myself only in this museum. I guess I started to love the experience of pondering in front of a painting, without I realized.
I spent like the entire afternoon only on this museum because it has lots of collections (and I want to have the most of what I have paid. haha). There were a number of exhibitions going on in the museums. A large porsion on the first floor is an exhibition of James Rosenquist. He’s a pop artist from the US who’s widely known as a billboard painter.
Pop art is not my favorite to be honest. Most of them seems quite obvious and the color is just too bright for my eye. But I love how Rosenquist’s pop art is speaking in a different kind of way. One of his painting called “The meteor hits Monet’s garden” is just brilliant and laughable. I knew Monet‘s work from a public library where I spent most of my time (other than internet cafe) after school during junior high school. Monet’s muse are mostly nature and his wife (One of his famous masterpiece called Women in the garden). So when I saw the meteor hits Monet’s garden painting and laughed, I knew at that moment that I should put it on my blog.
There’s something about this experience. About how art can be comical. About how it can be a medium to tell a history of a nation or a movement. About… how it tells a different stage of the artist’s life. Or about how they critize the goverment or society through their art.
I think most of you will agree with me if I say that we hate it when we feel stupid. And there’s a lot of times when I look at a painting, and think “what the hell is this painting means?”. I feel dumb. And I will tell myself “Maybe you just don’t know art..”. Or “Maybe you’re not so smart to understand..”. But then lately I would add in the end “.. and it’s okay”.
It’s okay if we think we don’t understand how other people value the painting. Each of us has a different perspective anyway. I remember in Ludwig museum, they also display even the conceptual work of the “Swimmer in the Econo-mist” by Rosenquist. There’s not much to see in terms of aesthetical purpose to display those raw work. But I can see how much they value the process of an art. I learned that just like everything else in this life, the process count.
And there were also lots of art work that got me thinking “Oh God, my childhood painting is much better than this. Why don’t they put mine instead?”. And then of course, the other side of myself will say “It’s not always the shape or the final look. It’s about the story it’s carry. The the emotional process that’s lied behind the creation.”
Oh btw, it’s not only Rosenquist’s work there in Ludwig. There were tons of other artists (even Pablo Picaso!). And not only painting, they have photo exhibition as well. One of them that they highlighted is collection of Werner Mantz, a renowned photographer from Cologne who is famous for his architectural photos. I love him, btw!
And just yesterday, I visited Museum Macan or Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara. Which is the only contemporary art museum ever open for public in Jakarta.
The first exhibition, called Art Turns, World Turns is telling a story about how the world and art are influencing each other using Indonesian history as a guiding framework. In the beginning of the exhibition, we can see many painting about the pre and post time after colonization. Going inside, we can see more international collections which looks identical with the painter’s original culture.
I’m so thankful for this museum yet concerned at the same time. I mean, I’m so happy to see many people are visiting it. And I swear this is the first time ever in my life I see a crowded museum (oh, another time is when I attended an event in Museum Gajah). But in the other hand, I feel that Jakartans need to be educated when it comes to behave in a museum. I mean, taking photo in every corner? Really? I can’t even feel relax to read the guide text because everyone seems trying to take photo everywhere. I’m a nice girl, I don’t want to ruin whatever they’re trying to pull there.
And yes, of course I’m such a lame I didn’t join the queue for the Infinity Room. I always consider surrealism as a magic kind of art (and that, is a modest way to say that “It’s a trick, you’ll be fooled” :b). But anyway, the main reason is actually the queue itself, really.
And in this museum, I found myself more into adoring monochromatic collections. One of them is a painting called “My Monologue” (2008) by Ay Tjoe Christine which shows two figures (one in white and the other in black) who are facing each other like they argue about something. For me this speak deep about human psychology in which having conflicted feeling sometimes. I find it coincidence because I read a similar line in a book that I’m currently reading.
“The notion that human beings are born with the equivalent potential for both contraction and expansion. The ingredient of both darkness and light are equally present in all of us, and then it’s up to the individual to decide what will be brought forth - the virtues or the malevolence.”
The other monocromatic arts would be painting from Chinese & Japanese artists. In which you can tell the culture that influence the painting from the first look. The Chinese one is more feminine because of the color combination (it’s not entirely monochrome). The other Japanese one is more explicit and simple. It amaze me how the same color can tell a different story by shape and combination.
And there’s a painting in the end section of the exhibition which called “I do not rule my dreams, my dreams rule me”. I like to think that one as a sign for me to make a move. (: