It was our last, fifth, evening in Yogyakarta, in a city, that left a seriously good impression with its streets full of cool art and creative spirit coming from the smiley and friendly locals. Whether it was in the old part, where we tried drawing batik and making Wayang Kulit(leather shadow puppets), or a modern take on colors and shapes in painting, graffiti in the middle of the rice fields, recycled sculptures on Malioboro street, etc.
It took us three attempts to find Jogja National Museum and we nearly didn't make it again that night due to me eating a green super salted duck egg that was in the heat for a day and nearly getting sick on the scooter. But we made it and got to see ARTJOG, an incredibly great Indonesian artists exhibition.
I go to many artsy events, see a lot of nice works on the walls, frames, freestanding, floating, you name it. And often take flat and boring looking photos of those masterpieces to show to my friends or whoever I think would be interested in seeing what I saw. So I almost did the same at ARTJOG, but then noticed this guy taking a photo with his phone and then I saw the art piece on his phone screen and then suddenly I see my camera screen lighting up and taking a photo of him taking a photo of the art object.
So then I started watching people looking and reacting to what was in front of them. Don't get me wrong, I still admired and inspected every displayed work and interesting write ups from the artists, but my attention was more drawn to the visitors now and their act. It's called a creative space for a reason, isn't it!
Not knowing Indonesian language, I could only imagine what they were discussing among themselves, that left me with even more freedom to interpret and read the answers from facial expressions and body language. A little smile or a giggle, a sudden frown, or just a stone cold serious face.. It could've meant anything really, but I enjoyed playing a psychoanalyst that night.
I often caught myself thinking that people that pose next to the art pieces look like they could be the proud owners themselves. Maybe they were. At the end of the day, the more publicity art gets, even if it's just in the background of the poser, the better for the real author it is.
I was discreet and subtle in my people watching through camera activity. They didn't mind, because they didn't know. But if I was caught out, I always asked if it was ok. And smile.
I suppose it's all about the different angle, new and weird perspective, all sorts of ways of seeing the same thing. When it comes to art, there is no one, not even the maker of the piece, to say what exactly you're meant to think or see in it. However, saying that, I would like to point out that the woman's profile photo at the top left is my favorite and everyone should look at it.
Thank you ARTJOG for an exhibition in the exhibition and hopefully will visit it again next year!
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