121008 - Garuda Magazine

Last June, I was given an assignment to photograph a story on the art scenes in Yogyakarta and Magelang. While the writer and I mostly visited art venues and artist studios in Yogya, for me the highlight was visiting the Oei Hong Djien Museum in Magelang. Now, I have to admit that I was (and I guess still am... kind of) quite ignorant about Indonesian art history. I know the names of some Indonesian master painters, but I had only seen very few of their works and I didn't have the slightest idea why they were important. I thought I just wasn't equipped with the necessary knowledge to be able to appreciate paintings. It was in OHD Museum that I saw those maestro's works up close for the first time, and I realized there was no need to understand them. While I still couldn't elaborate what I felt when I saw these paintings they way I could with photographs, I have to say I was moved by their presence. Yes, presence. With photography, you have both photograph-as-image and photograph-as-object. You can still appreciate a photograph (though not every photograph!) on a monitor without ever seeing its print. But there's no other way you can appreciate a painting but to directly stand in front of it and let yourself be engulfed by its energy. Honestly, I'm not exaggerating. Seeing a great photograph in a well-displayed exhibition can be quite an experience, but this is something completely different. 

One thing I certainly didn't expect though: turns out that there are paintings which, strangely enough, can be easily enjoyed by my street-trained eyes. Check out Perusing a Poster (1956) by S. Sudjojono. Notice the way the characters are neatly distributed throughout the canvas (my favorite is that guy looking back on a bike in the background.) That's easily a street photograph. 

Anyway, some tearsheets:

YogyakARTa, Garuda Magazine, October 2012
Text by Bajo Winarno, photographs by Kurniadi Widodo

Yogya Heat, Garuda Magazine, October 2012
Text by Bajo Winarno, photographs by Kurniadi Widodo
(for some reason, in the magazine the article is in Japanese, but with the same layout)