“Indonesian on stage” is an exhibition of photographs by Daniel Susilo, an Indonesian photographer who documents contemporary performing arts. In the author’s own words, his aim is to capture and retain, in more material form, the evanescence and intangibility of such an ephemeral and elusive art form as performance. Daniel Susilo Wibowo graduated from the Institute of Indonesian Art in Surakarta, a city with a very long and rich artistic tradition, where traditional dances and music are still performed and occupy an important place during cultural events and in the curriculums of art schools. Local artists are often inspired by tradition and this shows in their art; so, in the presented photographs, dancers appear in traditional costumes but in non-traditional poses or, on the contrary, traditional poses are presented by dancers in entirely modern costumes. This interplay of modernity and tradition is a symbolic reflection of the social and political situation of Indonesia, a country where, on the one hand, many local customs and forms of art are practiced, and on the other hand, modern technologies are part of everyday life and modernization is more than welcome. Those frames, captured during the performances, show how modern Indonesian artists react to the surrounding reality and how Daniel Susilo Wibowo perceives their works.
The photographs that comprise this exhibition present only a taste of the artistic events taking place in today’s Indonesia. The performing arts thrive in this country and their creators, just like those of contemporary art in many other countries, are inspired by the sociopolitical problems.
Indonesia is a country of 17 504 islands, 1340 ethnic groups and 546 languages. This is a source of the cultural wealth and diversity of Indonesia. The creators of modern art are inspired by local tradition. The exhibition “Indonesia on the Stage” reveals the present-day reality of Indonesian performing arts. It shows that Indonesian art is more than just a picture that we recognise from travel brochures and that contemporary artist play an important role in the cultural diversity of the country.
curator: Maria Szymańska-Ilnata