Experience Indonesia’s political and societal changes in the ‘70s through Museum MACAN’s ‘Pose’ exhibition

Learn how paintings serve as commentary to societal changes due to power shifts in the state at Pose, an exhibition by Museum MACAN in collaboration with Jakarta’s Museum of Fine Arts and Ceramics (Museum Seni Rupa dan Keramik), which is running until Sept. 18. Photo courtesy of Museum MACAN
Learn how paintings serve as commentary to societal changes due to power shifts in the state at Pose, an exhibition by Museum MACAN in collaboration with Jakarta’s Museum of Fine Arts and Ceramics (Museum Seni Rupa dan Keramik), which is running until Sept. 18. Photo courtesy of Museum MACAN

Learn how paintings serve as commentary to societal changes due to power shifts in the state at Pose, an exhibition by Museum MACAN in collaboration with Jakarta’s Museum of Fine Arts and Ceramics (Museum Seni Rupa dan Keramik), which is running until Sept. 18.

The exhibition, which took its name from a painting by Indonesian maestro S. Sudjojono, marks the first collaboration between the two art museums. The centerpieces Pose (1975) and High Level (1970) highlight Sudjojono’s observation of the emerging new class in Indonesian society during the ‘70s.

When Coconuts visited Museum MACAN for the press preview of the exhibition, we were told by the museum’s curator, Sally Texania, that both paintings depict Indonesian art scenes in the 1970s from Sudjojono’s eyes. In High Level, you can see an artist with critics, gallerists, and collectors observing his artwork; while Pose, as the title suggests, appears like a scene at a post-exhibition party where Sudjojono and his esteemed guests posed for the camera.

Through these works, Sudjojono illustrated the changes in Indonesia’s society after the establishment of Orde Baru (New Order), which focused on economic and political stability — and birthed new social classes as a result. 

Paintings by S. Sudjojono, from L-R: High Level (1970), Maka Lahirlah Angkatan 66 (1966), and Pose (1975). Photo courtesy of Museum MACAN

Also present alongside the aforementioned works is Sudjojono’s Maka Lahirlah Angkatan 66 (1966), which represents student protests occurring in that year, marking the birth of the New Order era.

You can also see A.D. Pirous’ Tulisan Putih (1972), one of the winning artworks at the first Great Indonesian Painting Exhibition held in December 1974, the event of which pioneered what we know as Jakarta Biennale today. This painting, along with Maka lahirlah angkatan 66 and High Level, are collections of Museum of Fine Arts and Ceramics that are being showcased at the exhibition.

Other Indonesian artists whose works are exhibited include But Muchtar, Srihadi Soedarsono, and Ahmad Sadali, who underwent training in the US and had been associated with non-representational work since the 1950s. The works by influential Indonesian artists are included in a section called Development Projections.

Over at the Continuous Revolution section, you can see a number of Political Pop and Cynical Realism artworks by leading Chinese and Japanese artists including Yu Youhan, Wang Guangyi, Yue Minjun, and Yoshitomo Nara. Lastly, on the Creative Factory section, works by American artists such as Keith Haring, Richard Prince, Jeff Koons, and photographer David LaChapelle are displayed, as well as English artist Damien Hirst.

Museum MACAN’s director Aaron Seeto said that one of the important functions of an art museum is the ability to uncover the stories of artists and the times they live in.

“I am looking forward to the conversations and debates that this exhibition will spark through the pairing of works from both our collections, and hope that cooperation and collaboration across public and private museums continues, this will in turn, encourage the public to continue to appreciate the cultural assets that can be found in this city,” Aaron said in a statement.

You can purchase your tickets ahead of your visit through Museum MACAN’s official website or ticket partners such as GoTix, Klook, Tiket.com, and Traveloka. Do not forget to observe strict health protocols and precautionary measures throughout your visit!

Also Read — Museum MACAN commissions printmaking artist Theresia Agustina Sitompul for new children’s art space

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