18 Apr 2017

Identity Crisis: Reflections on Public and Private Life in Contemporary Javanese Photography

Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University

Reviewed by Arthur Whitman

Photography is a recent fine art in Indonesia. At Cornell's Johnson Museum, "Identity Crisis" assembles Javanese artists grappling with the medium, as well as post-colonial, post-dictatorship uncertainty. It's a labor of love for Brian Arnold, a visiting researcher, photographer, and gamelan musician.

Several artists represent MES 56, an influential Yogyakarta collective. Drawing from performance, subversion of formal portraiture is a key. In his digital Uniform Code series, founding member Jim Allen Abel tries on social archetypes and absurdist masks.

Such mannered provocation is met elsewhere with greater subtlety. The gelatin silver prints of Henrycus Napit Sunargo's After Image series explore a family compound, mixing the quotidian and the haunted. Amran Malik Hakim's monochrome inkjets The Soul of Autism answer the marginalization of the disabled under the Suharto regime. The boys and girls in these unflinching close-ups - some placid, some disturbed - are memorably present.

Exhibition Identity Crisis: Reflections on Public and Private Life in Contemporary Javanese Photography link
Start date 21 Jan 2017
End date 11 Jun 2017 (15 days ago)
Presenter Johnson Museum of Art link
Venue Cornell University, 114 Central Avenue, Ithaca, NY, USA map
Image Henrycus Napit Sunargo, from the series After Image, 2000-10, courtesy of the artist and the Johnson Museum of Art
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