YUDI YUDOYOKO, Indonesian Artist who lives and works between Uruguay and Argentina.
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>> On Yudi Yudoyoko
By Roberto Echavarren
Yudi Yudoyoko graduated in Fine Arts at Bandung Institute of Technology. In Indonesia he developed as a painter, installation artist, designer, and fashion editor at several fashion magazines. From 2003 onwards he has lived in Montevideo, and has continued his career in Uruguay and Argentina, staging solo exhibitions, installations, and participating in collective shows.His first solo exhibition of drawings in China ink, and a wall installation, took place at the Estación Alógena, Buenos Aires, in November 2004.
The first individual show of his paintings takes place now, at the Gallery Ruta 10 of La Barra in Punta del Este. In a figurative series of acrylic on wood, Yudoyoko assimilates in a singular way the characteristics of the Atlantic site of our country. They are not descriptive “seascapes”, but rather conceptual constructions. Staging, architecture, remind us to a certain extent of the pre-surrealistic paintings by De Chirico. On the other hand, their irrealistic exactness can be related to the inventions, the incarnate ideas of Magritte.
These peculiar “seascapes” propose to elevate the viewer above the coast line and at the same time to introduce that very coast line inside his contemplating eye. They fly, they levitate in high expectancy, and open the eye to an uplifting, fleeting meditation. Floating balloons and hand glides, trowel houses, without gravity, surrounded by a halo of fire. The balloons, sometimes elongated, suggest an expansion of the retina, pierced by calm intensity, which opens up space and time. Every painting is an experience of intensity and a question mark. In the water of the eye, the interrogating sea, melted by fire. A flame over water sustains the mystery, not a religious, but a topological mystery.
The eye itself levitates, inside and outside the painting, interior and exterior, upturned like a glove, two-faced and at the same time single- faced, like a Moebius ribbon. The painting itself figures the apparatus of vision, the eyelid and the retina, transmitting, infecting the eye with the courage of spiritual absorption and extasis. More than a seeing machine, the painting becomes a contemplating mechanism. An introduction to the possibilities of vision and the joy of artistic labor.(End)
* Text of catalog of the exhibition at Ruta 10 Arte Contemporaneo Gallery, La Barra, Uruguay, March 2004.
>> The Fragility of the Earth
By Gustavo Tabares
“Good bye! I am going away to breathe the breeze of the cliffs, since my lungs, half drowned, claim and wail for a quieter and more virtuous show than yours.”
Les Chants de Maldoror, by Le Comte de Lautréamont, Isidore Ducasse, 1868.
The universe, our galaxy, the solar system and the planet earth have not always existed, and were not always the same as they are now. The most accepted hypothesis by the cosmologists says that the universe originated 15.000 million years ago, as a consequence of a grand explosion called “Big Bang”. The solar system, and within it the earth, were formed about 4.650 million years ago, due to the gravitational contraction process of a nebula. The earth is a small celestial body without light, which turns, along with other eight planets, around a medium size star which we call sun. The planet presents, among its characteristic details, a big satellite, the moon; a very potent magnetic field; most of its mass consists of rocks; 75 % of its surface is covered by water; a gaseous envelopment called atmosphere, populated by a huge quantity of complex systems which reproduce themselves, take the energy and matter they need from their own environment, and have adapted to live in every ambient of the planet.
About 5 million years ago, among an exuberant and ancient fauna and flora, the first human beings populated the earth. It looks like a very long time, almost impossible to imagine; yet it is very little compared with the planet’s age of 15.000 million years.
An average human being, depending on the circumstances in which he develops, lives generally for about sixty years, although he could eventually live on, until becoming one hundred or so. If we compare the age of the earth (15.000.000.000) and the maximum age a human being could reach (100) we can start to understand something about the work of Yudi Yudoyoko.
Time, death, life cycles, hope, growth, life, renaissance, sex, the stupidity of man, greed, contamination, fragility, possessiveness, and the obsession to put a name on everything: there is no place on the planet which is not somebody’s property, be it private people or states. Everything has an “owner”. The planet has been divided, distributed, even the ocean and the air. We believe we are the owners of everything and we act as such.
Yudi parcels his work and sells portions of it to whomever pays for it, asking for each parcel a ridiculously low price, as a metaphor for this immemorial reality which has led us to self-destruction, war, contamination, exploitation, and death. The artist reflects and invites us to reflect while playing.We can buy a fragment of a big painting (for a low price), then the fragments will be delivered to their owners. The fragmented work will never be equal to its original presentation. Each one will be the “owner” of a fragment, but never of the entire work.
The earth is sick (or we are sick), it is hospitalized, lying in bed and fed with serum. But inside it green sprouts, full of life, future trees, germinate (hope). The iconography created by Yudoyoko is loaded with poetry, irony, and duality, a work generated from his dreams and nightmares, reflecting on the destiny of humanity, and diagnosing present society. The artist plays the role of observer, and expects to communicate his anxieties through his work, in the hope that humanity, at least a part of it, will become really conscious of which our place on the planet should be. Yudoyoko uses painting, but he doesn’t want to present “paintings”, as in some of his other shows; he combines them with other resources, in order to fill the exhibition’s space with an installation.
Some of the motives present in the bigger painting (“The Earth had no name”) had already been used by the artist in a different context (“TICS”, Cabildo de Montevideo, 2004). His work is the result of a very long process, where sketches and notations, developed through the years, now intervene. The dead little black beetles that Yudoyoko employs for his “Cosecha de Almas” ( “Harvest of Souls”) were collected at La Barra de Valizas, in Rocha, on the month of April, when every year a life cycle is accomplished: the adult black beetles die by the millions, and are carried away by the river waters towards the sea. Seen from afar, these coleopterous appear as a homogeneous texture; in order to perceive them as individuals, it is necessary to come closer; each of them, here, is given a different name by Yudoyoko.
The square shapes on the wall, made of mud directly in situ, symbolize, as the names tagged under them indicate, the five continents (Africa, Asia, America, Europe and Oceania). The cracking and the drying of the mud can be related here to the bad treatment we inflict on the environment, and the very fragility of a transient planet. In “La Sala no.36” (“Room no. 36”), beside a hospital bed covered with earth and sprouts, we find also two large paintings in black and white, titled “Dejame cumplir, dejame morir” (“Allow me to fulfill, allow me to die”).
On them appear the figures of a man and a woman in recumbent position, melting away and fusing themselves with the earth. It is impossible to decide whether these figures are alive or dead. The man is lying on his chest, embracing the soil. The woman is lying on her back, waiting for things from the sky. Disquietingly naked branches sprout from their bodies. The tree like imagery symbolizes hope, rebirth, growth. But here this growth is left in suspense. If we could unite both figures, they would be in a most conventional and universal sexual position; bearing fruits, with the earth under them. As a witness. ( End )
* Text of the catalog of exhibition “Tierra Mía”, Engelman-Ost Collection, Rondeau 1426, Montevideo, Uruguay, June 20th – July 14th, 2006.
>>The exhibition of ANATOMIA (2006)
About Surrealism and Metaphors
by Pablo Thiago Rocca
Since his arrival in Montevideo, already a couple of years ago, the works by Yudi Yudoyoko (Jakarta 1963) have been constant and meticulous. Spirited by a number of friends and, in particular, by Marte up Market Gallery, Yudoyoko has been unfolding a whole spectrum of artistic approaches which do not scorn the utilitarian, neither the conceptual, such as clothing design, drawings on different formats, paintings and installations.
In every instance he stands out by the care and meticulousness of his manual work, and in some cases by an imagination leaning towards the staging of “surrealizing” situations, even if not openly surrealistic. He brought from his native land a specific set of resources and intellectual equipment (the pieces of clothing reveal long ingrained Indonesian traditions adapted to modern design) and a relationship with contemporary art which manifests experiences as expressive variables (he graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts of Bandung Technological Institute and has had personal exhibits since he was twenty years old). But Yudoyoko has not at all remained anchored in his past, or kept away from the local artistic field.On the contrary, his quick adoption of the Spanish language for instance, even in this particular intervention,* reveals an ideological decision: he has avoided both the painterly picturesque and the neuter contemporary cosmopolitan language (I refer here to those art forms which are included without glory or relevance in well known international biennial exhibitions), choices which could have won him rapid credit in a milieu such as our own, guilty on occasion of being “peripheral”.
His compromise goes through diverse paths. Yudoyoko´s creation is permeated by oneiric fluxes. His inner visual world pours off in a relationship with matter and texture, and with the “external” forms of objects, toward a strong symbolic constant.
Some day, when one decides to recount the development of our plastic and visual contemporary arts, one will have to rethink the incidence of surrealism as such, as an attitude, or as way of standing, in front of metaphor, considered as a rhetoric trope: Pedro Peralta, Federico Arnaud, Rulfo, Cecilia Vignolo, just to name a few, will each be distinguished by a maniera. Yudi’s will be an in extremis form of metaphor as a traveling without a vehicle, as it were (metaphora, derived from metaphéro, “I carry”, “I figuratively employ”).
The hallucinating inverted tree smeared on the wall, glued like the bed of a dry vertical river, which gives lodging on its “branches” to an innumerable set of birds (in paper cutting) having each a proper name, is in itself a paradigmatic example of his own line of production. The Magritte-like game of setting objects in small boxes and naming them in writing, providing them with poetical equivalences (Ego=mirror, tongue=cutting edge of a cutter, body=rolling stone, soul=egg, and so on) is another way of playing with quotations, of coming and going through time. In his “anatomical” intervention the artist declares that he is interested in presenting “not only an organic physiology, but the functions of body and soul considered as interior to a plane of consistency”.
This plane turns up as a series of graphisms of unusually vivid artistic strength, where each texture and material, where each element by itself “draws” against the grain of its common signification, and achieves, thanks to it, a direct impact – although not a “one way” one – on the imagination of the viewer.
*Anatomía, first floor of Exhibition Center of the Ministry of Education and Culture, Montevideo, San José street 1116, October 5th – 27th, 2006.
Review appeared in El Ocho, Supplement of the weekly Brecha, October 13th 2006.
by Yudi Yudoyoko
I am not interested in presenting an organic physiology, but rather the functions of body and soul considered as pertaining to a certain plan of consistency. I think the soul doesn’t coincide with the body, it is the halitus or halituses, the interior/exterior space determined by breathing. This wall here, I take it to be a plan (or plain) of consistency which has became alive. A living creature is not circumscribed by the frontier of his corporal contour, it consists of the influences brought on it, it is a shell of resonance for a cosmic hearing. A cosmic wind passes through it, and establishes a tension between finite and infinite, limited and unlimited.
Desire, virtue, are not just physic-organic; they have to do with another person, and also with how someone could or should live. People are not separated from their surroundings, but always supported in one way or another by a circumstantial cluster, which articulates their belonging. They are always in such or such symbiotic relation, be it with another person, or with air, earth, food. In that sense, “anatomy” has to do with the complexities of life, an entire phenomenon articulated by experience.
Here I take on aspects of a conglomerate, breathing, ambient, life in an enclave, functions, one by one, of a functional whole, and I conjecture possible equivalencies within a realm of experience. Through forms and symbolic objects I establish ironic, humorous equivalencies. And body situations according to the elements with go through it. I conceive for example of a body of mud, through which the water of life passes. Or a body made out of dead organisms, organic and inorganic food products, and consider in it the promise of regeneration and growth. Or a body made out of sand, desert sand, over which, beyond the death of organisms, we travel, and populate each time with new creations. (END)
>> An Interview with Yudi Yudoyoko (March 2007)
Rifky Effendy (RE) : Since when did you start thinking about migration to South America? When did you leave Indonesia? Why South America?
Yudi Yudoyoko (YY) : I came to Uruguay in 2003. Since I was young, even I if did not say it often, I always wanted to go into “Latin America”. But you never realize your destiny until it happens. One day a friend invited me to come and visit, and I took the chance. For some reason, I wanted to be part of this continent, I wanted to assimilate the cultural ingredients of these countries; I sympathized with the “blood salad” of these peoples. This was intriguing to me. Can you name any other place where one can find such a rich and spicy mixture of precolombian cultures and modern life?
RE: How did you adapt to the local culture and the art world?
YY: I don’t remember exactly how; I guess that, as social beings, we are always in need to communicate and learn from each other, especially within the context where we are living. While I was learning the Spanish language (I arrived here with zero ability, just a few words from some songs; quizás….quizás…quizás!…which means: perhaps…. perhaps…perhaps…, I remembered that version by Cake) I was introduced to several relevant artists, photographers, curators, designers, gallery owners, writers, poets, and also musicians and singers. In some cases I introduced myself. I am lucky I am staying at a friend´s house, who happens to be one of South America´s most respected writers. Automatically I met his friends; most of them are stimulant and intelligent people. After about one year´s stay, I decided to go on with my career as an artist; I started to show my works, some of which were produced in Indonesia. I also went to many openings and exhibitions, where I met some new people, and got to know what other artists were doing. Showing my works in galleries was not easy at first; my Spanish was far from perfect; but, all in all, people here were nice to me, they were interested and understood my work, and the work itself often speaks better than the artist. Then a chain reaction took place. They appreciated my ideas and concepts, and the way I visualized them. I am treated with respect. Still, people keep wondering: what is this boy doing here, so far from his country? But I am doing well. In these last three years I built a web of friends and connections here in Uruguay, and also in Argentina, Brazil, and Colombia.
RE: How, when, and where did you have the first chance to exhibit your work?
YY: A friend of mine here, who is an artist, a singer (I created some of his stage costumes), a writer, and also a curator, organized an exhibition of artists from Argentina and Uruguay, and he invited me as an artist from a third country. Some of the people included were underground or conceptual artists, and the exhibition was held at the “Cabildo de Montevideo” (ancient government house), a public space belonging to the City of Montevideo. This was from May 8th to June 6th , 2004. One of the national TV channels interviewed the curator, and he invited me, together with one other artists included in the show, to participate in the interview. So they welcomed me to Uruguay , on the air.
RE: How does the local art world respond to your works?
YY: Very well! I have developed different lines of production, an “odd” range of styles from purely abstract, to figurative paintings, to drawings, to installations, to alternative wardrobe for pop and rock concerts, to “haute couture” clothing. I guess I am being accepted as a part of the Uruguayan artistic life nowadays. The ministry of Education and Culture has chosen me, along with three other artists ( a video maker, a dancer, and a another visual artist), for their feature clips project on TV, where every one of us has a segment of 8 minutes, where I was interviewed and shown at work. Every clip is being programmed time and again in national television. Here, my paintings have their market, and are sold not only to local collectors but to some foreign ones from the USA and Europe. A London based internet site, latinpaintings.com, selling works by Latin American artists, offers my works also.
RE: What are the changes in your artistic production, since the time you worked in Indonesia?
YY: I don’t know if there are any. Surely I am being influenced by my surroundings, by nature and the great landscapes here. In connection with the local art milieu, you know, I prefer to walk through my own different path, which I consider an adventure. I was tamed by Indonesian culture. The combination of our modern life with my anthropological background has molded me in a unique way. I can enter the craziness of today’s life, but on the other hand I guess I am also able to meditate as only Eastern people can. There might be some changes, in the sense that I have become more dedicated and better organized.
RE: So, far , how many exhibitions have you done ? either solo or group show?
YY: Three group shows, and seven solo exhibitions; four group performances, in Argentina, Uruguay and Spain. Now I am working on two solo exhibitions in Montevideo and Bogota.
RE: How do you feel to be a part of the local art world ?
YY: I feel very honored and glad to be appreciated by the art community and the public here, who have a high level of understanding, critical ability, and professionalism.
Yudi Yudoyoko (biography)
Born in Jakarta 20 August 1963
Graduated 1989 at the Faculty of Fine Art, Bandung Institute of Technology, Indonesia
Third Winner of Indonesian Fashion Design Competition
Participated in workshop and exhibition of traditional Japanese wood printing with artist Funasaka at Bandung
Costume designer of opera Sangkuriang
Teacher of fashion illustration at Studio Intermodel, Bandung
Costume designer of modern dance performance “Street youths”, Studio East, Bandung
Graphic designer for GAYA magazine, Bandung
Participated in Sixth South East Asian Nations Youth Painting Workshop and Exhibition in Brunei Darrussalam
Exhibition at Aula Timur ITB
Painting performance “Art to Step On”
Video performance “Play and Pay”
Exhibition and competition of Indonesian Young Painters; nominated Best Artist
Organizer of “Teka-teki seni aral” a group performances, video art and photography documentation shows at several locations in Bandung.
Fashion editor at MODE magazine, Indonesia
Selected for the 9th Fine Arts Indonesian Biennale in Jakarta
Fashion stylist at HAI magazine, Jakarta
Fashion editor at JAKARTA JAKARTA magazine, Indonesia
Author of billboard for Aids Campaign Week in Jakarta
Exhibition “Original Sin” at Alliance Française in Bandung
Selected for Indonesian and Belgian Artists Exhibition at National Gallery, Jakarta
Teacher of Fashion Illustration at Studio Intermodel, Bandung
Solo exhibition “Recognition”, Gallery Padi Bandung.
Designer of worker’s uniforms for Lamborghini Café, Jakarta.
Illumination colorist for manuscript edition of the Koran, Indonesian Islamic Art Foundation.
Designer, producer-manager of the Oje Workshop and Showroom of painting, interior accessories, furniture, clothing and handbags.
Illumination colorist for Jordanian edition of the Koran.
Exhibition “Tics”, Cabildo de Montevideo, from May 8th to June 6th.
Solo Exhibition “En vilo”, chinese ink drawings and wall installation, Estación Alógena, Buenos Aires, from November 26th to December 20th.
Illustrator of Lapzus(Brecha), Uruguay and Tse-tsé magazines, Buenos Aires.
Solo Exhibition, figurative and y abstract paintings, Ruta 10 Arte Contemporáneo, La Barra, Punta del Este, from March 20th to 27th.
Three performances with the group Pira (a collective of poets, musicians, dancer and artists): at Borges Culture Center of Buenos Aires at April 29th , at Archibrazo of Buenos Aires at September 27th and at Spain Culture Center in Montevideo, December 15th.
Solo Exhibition, figurative paintings, Taller Casa Azul, La barra, Punta del Este, Uruguay, from January 13th to 25th.
Solo Exhibition, Marte up Market Gallery, Montevideo, Uruguay.
Solo Exhibition, “Tierra Mia”, Engelman-Ost Collection, Montevideo, Uruguay.
“Anatomía”, intervention at Exhibition Central of Ministry of Education and Culture, Montevideo, Uruguay.
performance with the group Pira at Borges Culture Center of Buenos Aires at November 1st.
Participant in design rubric in festival of “Montevideo in Zaragoza”, organized by Zona de Obra magazine, Zaragoza, Spain.
Figurative painting Exhibition, del Paseo Gallery, Manantiales, Punta del Este, Uruguay.