Disparate Bodies is a group exhibition featuring international artists Agus Suwage, Mella Jaarsma, J. Ariadhitya Pramuhedra, BenCab, Isabel & Alfredo Aquilizan and Pinaree Sanpitak.
The exhibition is said to present works in varying media that center around explorations and conceptions of the body. They touch upon topics such as “[the body]’s relation to being human, ideas of reassessing the self and identity, and implications arising from displacement and dispersed presence.”
Agus Suwage presents two new works that explores contemporary society and its tensions through the Self. The self-portraits are said to be an interplay between the Self, and the contrivance about the Self. Agus records a variety of his poses and facial expressions with a camera, before transforming these visual records into paintings and drawings.
Similarly, Mella Jaarsma questions the positioning of self and identity, but in the context of cultural and racial signifiers embedded within clothing, the body and food. In her work, titled The Pecking Order, Jaarsma inverts and plays with the titular phrase, by producing costumes and paintings that refer to the animal most literally associated with a pecking order: the chicken. The costumes function as both a dress and a table to explore social organisation and hierarchies.
The charcoal works of J. Ariadhitya Pramuhendra are said to question one’s core identity in the search for the truth and the divine. He creates realistic portraits depicting theatrical figurative scenes that reference historic Christian iconography and surreal science. His latest piece Angel’s Journey, continues an enquiry on self-identity and morality within the personal context of practising Christianity in Indonesia - one of the largest Muslim countries in the world.
Ben Cabrera, better known as BenCab exhibits his latest large-scale work, The Human Clay After Muybridge. Weaving in iconographic references to art and scientific history, the work is a multi-layered and complex piece that is inspire by Eadweard Muybridge’s early motion study photographs, as well as by an exhibition entitled The Human Clay which the artist R. B. Kitaj organized in the 70s. The group exhibition, which included Francis Bacon, David Hockney, Lucien Freud and Frank Auerbach, was controversial because it championed figuration at a time when abstraction was dominant. By drawing on these key sources, BenCab similarly calls for the case of figuration, while emphasising the idea that ultimately, it is the artist’s creativity that shapes and moulds the art, like clay.
Pinaree Sanpitak’s practice often concentrate on the powerful and tender experience of being female and a mother. Two Red Breasts differs from her monochromatic works. For well over 20 years, Sanpitak’s primary inspiration has been the female body, distilled to its most primal, basic forms: the vessel and the mound. The female breast has been a recurring motif in her works, which was brought about after the birth of her only son. Sanpitak is also often called a feminist or Buddhist artist, but she resists such easy categorisations, preferring to let her work speak to each viewer directly, through the most basic language of form, colour, and texture.
Lastly, Isabel and Alfredo Aquilizan explore community ties and displacement between groups and bodies of people through commonly found materials. Left Wing Project (Belok Kiri Jalan Terus) is a continuous series of work that examines the complex socio-political struggles that contemporary agrarian societies face in Asia. The immense sculpture consists of hundreds of hand-forged sickles, fashioned and welded into the shape of a left angel wing. The wing draws references to the leftist political history of Jogjakarta and traces their increasingly disenfranchised blacksmith communities due to Chinese economic globalism.
In celebration of the opening of Disparate Bodies, Mella Jaarsma will be presenting The Pecking Order, an hour and a half long performance at the gallery.
The opening reception is on Dec 1 at 4pm.