While in his previous body of work, Rosit appropriates mostly paintings from the Baroque, Neoclassical, and early Post-Impressionist eras, in this series, his works borrow heavily from famous American Illustrated style and Pop Art artworks, which have a profound urban-capitalist background. He employs the usage of industrial-ready colours and combines silk-screen techniques and tools with the oil painting medium.

These visual portrayals of cynicism and lethargy towards the capitalist structure are then redirected by Rosit to express similar sentiments against the boredom of waiting and facing an ever-changing mish-mash of policies during the pandemic.

Adegan karantina hari ke-xxx #1
(A Scene from Quarantine Day-xxx #1)
oil paint, acrylic, and pastel on canvas
200 x 145 cm

(After Norman Rockwell, Tired Salesgirl on Christmas Eve, 1947)

This work was inspired by the conversations of Mulyadi’s neighborhood housewives that were bored and fed up with their husbands’ antics. Instead of being a rational support, their men acted emotionally, spending their days babbling about and not putting in actual work. They complained that what they need during this critical moment is not unsolicited condescending advice or unnecessary attitudes, but concrete action and support. The housewives are experiencing a combination of boredom and annoyance. 

This artwork becomes a representation of the public’s growing frustration because of the long drawn-out pandemic. The phrase” U Talk Too Much” is the parallel of local Javanese saying “Kakean Cangkem”, which the housewives use to describe their husbands. Ironically enough, this phrase is often used to stereotype and demean housewives—but in this case, the husbands are the one partaking in the “excessive chattering”.

Rosit’s choice of appropriating Norman Rockwell’s artwork is interesting in the context of this exhibition, since American illustrated style, while thriving for naturalism at-large, incorporates a distinct stylization that exaggerates certain features such that the figures appear comical.  

Additionally, on top of Rosit’s artistic treatment in the form of scribbles and texts, the painting is presented in an Instagram feed layout, with Rosit’s profile picture as Namakura Gatana’s protagonist, the dull-sworded Samurai. With captions “and kirik as always…” (and it’s a b**ch as always). These two subliminal messages allude to the self-deprecating cynic tone of the artist towards himself, that maybe he should not take himself too seriously. 

Adegan karantina hari ke-xxx #2
(A Scene from Quarantine Day-xxx #2)
oil paint, acrylic, and pastel on canvas
200 x 150 cm

(After Roy Lichtenstein, I Can See the Whole Room…and There’s Nobody in It!, 1961)

After Roy Lichtenstein borrows a panel of a Steve Roper cartoon to create a monocular scene disturbing a plane of black. Rosit re-appropriates the gesture of peeking as an expression of bleakness and unknowingness. Still inspired by the current events and how it affects his locale, Rosit analogises living in this pandemic era as staring into a dark room. 

While Lichtenstein comments on our limited perception, since there is clearly someone inside the room, looking back as Steve Roper fails to spot him/her, Rosit enhances the feeling of failing to see something, or inversely, to almost be seen, which is anxiety. Currently the majority of the public around him lives in anxiety, facing an uncertain economical, political, biological future. 

By adding the word “happy” behind the word “nobody” Rosit further defines the feeling from being just “not” to “not this”. Stuck in this limbo, the community might feel different feelings; be it anger, disappointment, sadness, or anxiousness. But one thing is certain: it is not “Happy”. Nobody is happy being obscured from what’s happening.

Miss Uh
acrylic on canvas
130 x 100 cm

(After Roy Lichtenstein, Girl with Ball, 1961)

This artwork is an appropriation of Roy Lichtenstein’s Girl with Ball, taken originally from the advertisement for the Mount Airy Lodge in the Pocono Mountains. As this work is an appropriation of an appropriation, the signature commercial printing technique has been imitated in two different ways. Lichtenstein enlarges the ben day dots and emulates it on canvas by painting it on or using a stencil but still largely uses painting technique. However, Rosit replicates Lichtenstein’s painted dots by using actual printmaking technique, employing the use of silk screen but with oil painting medium. 

The artist imagines this scene where a carefree girl plays with a ball–an idyllic scene that many people suffering from the pandemic’s collateral damage currently long for. The longing to frolic in nature, in free space. However, this wish does not seem to be feasible in the near future. Normalcy is not yet attainable, that is if it is attainable at all. This idyllic commercial image becomes ironic when paired with the current condition.

The title Miss Uh is homophonic with a Javanese word “misuh” which means anger, vocalised dissatisfaction, grumbling, or complaints. We are stuck in a condition that pushes us to “misuh”, swearing left and right. Misuh not only towards the pandemic itself, but also the policies that allegedly should mitigate the situation, yet often just add to the chaos. The artist realised that he gradually became more foul-mouthed, swearing and cursing just to have some cathartic release. 

Rosit Mulyadi
(b. 1988, Java, Indonesia)

Rosit Mulyadi, or more familiarly referred to as Ocid, was born into a conservative and highly religious family of farmers, in the southern coastal area of Bantul, Java. Before venturing into the world of Fine Arts, he was sent to study for six years in an Islamic boarding school up to his late teenage years. It is not surprising that his first encounter with art was through Arabic calligraphy. While most of his peers at school pursued further religious study, he chose to go to ISI Yogyakarta upon graduation, majoring in painting. 

Some of his notable group exhibitions include ARTJOG Resilience 2020, Kembulan at Studio Kalahan Heri Dono, Jammin in the name of the Lord in Masriadi Art Foundation, i:Observe at Jogja Contemporary, and the 26th Yogyakarta Arts Festival. He had his solo show in 2017 titled Still Life at Jogja Contemporary. His most recent solo show was with Gajah Gallery, titled A Scanner Darkly at Gajah Gallery Yogyakarta past 2020.

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