The Altarpieces in Jakarta


03 Oct 2017 to 17 Oct 2017


9am-4pm, Tues-Sun; 8am-8pm, Sat


National Gallery of Indonesia, Jl. Medan Merdeka Timur No. 14, Central Jakarta, Indonesia



Thai contemporary artist Natee Utarit is exhibiting seven of his paintings from his Optimism is Ridiculous series. The series began in 2012 and such works have been shown in various galleries in Asia.

Co-presented by Richard Koh Fine Art, the latest showing in Jakarta is entitled, Optimism Is Ridiculous: The Altarpieces, and the works are meant to question Western modernism.

"It is said to be a satire of modernism and capitalism, and tells of its seduction of local customs and traditions," according to the KL-based gallery's press release.

Comprising a total of 12 paintings, the works feature multiple panels that form diptych, triptych, or polyptych compositions which are said to follow the tradition of Western religious paintings with elaborate frames and settings.

Utarit’s interest in such religious paintings, stems from his approach to classical art, adds the press release.

The artist is quoted as saying, “In my paintings here, I offer an interpretation of the world and various beliefs that appear in the Western world from my own Asian perspective." 

This is the second stop of the travelling exhibition. It was first exhibited in Manila in February this year. 

After its run in Jakarta, the exhibition is scheduled to show in Singapore.

Utarit studied in Thailand at the College of Fine Art in 1987 and graduated in graphic arts at the Painting and Sculpture Faculty at Silpakorn University in 1991.

Utarit’s practice focuses on the exploration of the painting technique connecting it with photography and Western classical art. Light and perspective are some of the elements the artist chose to work with, focusing on painting as a means to explore image making. 

His complex pictures, juggle wide-ranging metaphors usually in the format of the traditional still life, and allude to Thailand’s social and political developments.