Gajah Gallery is proud to announce its participation in the inaugural Tokyo Gendai, exhibiting works by two acclaimed Indonesian artists: Yunizar and I Gusti Ayu Kadek Murniasih.
After the fall of Suharto’s repressive regime in 1998, a wave of critical, political art flooded the Indonesian art world, as artists embraced their hard-earned freedom of expression to expose urgent social issues of their time. While many artists tackled anti-regime, anti-corruption, anti-military, and many other critical discourses in their works, artists Murni and Yunizar emerged with an original identity. Veering away from dominant political and national narratives, they illuminated the richness of the everyday; emphasized the power of dreams and the subconscious; and in the case of Murniasih, centered the powerful agency of women. Far from being detached, their works crucially highlight the interior realities of those who have long been relegated to the peripheries—ultimately contributing to a richer, more complex story of Indonesian contemporary art.
Yunizar creates an ideal of imaginative and authentic expression, a universal visual language brimming with fantastical creatures and enigmatic narratives. In Japan, the Gallery will spotlight a number of portraits as well as a selection of his small bronze sculptures that bring the characters from his drawings to life. Yunizar’s works are currently found in the collections of major art institutions, such as the Singapore Art Museum (SAM), the Long Museum in Shanghai, and the Benesse Art Collection in Japan.
Never-before-seen works from Murni’s later years will be presented alongside Yunizar’s works. More than merely sex, Murni painted life, reflections on the patriarchy and its view of the women forced to navigate it. Murni’s works are deeply biographical, with a humor and pathos that filter through her paintings. In recent years, Murni’s works have been garnering international and institutional recognition. Last year, her works were selected to be part of the 58th Carnegie International in Pittsburgh, the longest running North American exhibition of international art. Her work has been acquired by prestigious institutions such as the National Gallery of Australia, the National Gallery of Singapore, the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara (MACAN), and the University of Chicago.