I Gusti Ayu Kadek Murniasih: On Beginnings


    October 19, 2019 – November 10, 2019

    Gajah Gallery Yogyakarta

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    Gajah Gallery presents I Gusti Ayu Kadek Murniasih: On Beginnings, an exhibition illuminating the early works of Indonesian artist I Gusti Ayu Kadek Murniasih (1966-2006). A testament to the modern Indonesian feminist movement ignited in the 1980s, Murniasih created revolutionary works that expressed her sexuality and traumas of her childhood in a contemporary and meaningful way before her untimely passing in 2006 after a 2 year long battle with cancer. Gajah Gallery is thrilled to announce our partnership and exclusive representation of I Gak Murniasih’s estate and artworks. We will be featuring a selection of her seminal works from the 1990s at the Yogyakarta gallery space curated by Mary Northmore Aziz.

    Hailing from Tabanan, Bali, a small town in Indonesia, Murniasih exemplifies the feminist convergence in Indonesia just before the turn of the century. Her works depict male and female genitalia, blood, and pain, created in a microcosm of change during what can only be described as a rebellion against the previously traditional values of Indonesia. Wrought with emotion and evocations of suffering, Murniasih created works that helped her communicate, in no discreet way, her struggles with her sexuality and her past.

    Born out of both reverence and disgust for her body and its functions, or a perceptive lack thereof, Murniasih used her craft to work through her complicated relationship with her biological functions, so to speak. She was unable to have children after undergoing a surgery in her teens to remove a cyst in her womb, and out of this stemmed her disdain towards her feminine identity and led to her exploration into the sexual desires and functions of women.

    Murniasih’s works focus on sex and violence, an intimate look into the mind of their incendiary creator and a reflection of the patriarchy and its view of the women who are forced to navigate it. The deviation of these works from the meticulous rigour of traditional Balinese art, the somewhat uncomfortable way that bodies are portrayed in unnatural colours and contortionist shapes in her works points to the conception of a whole new style of artistic practice outside of geography.

    Gajah Gallery is proud to exhibit the works of I GAK Murniasih: a truly profound artist, ahead of her time and gone much too soon.

    This exhibition opening will coincide with the launch of Jogja Biennale.

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