I tried using a manual kick wheel at F. Widayanto's ceramic studio in Tapos, Bogor, Indonesia. I have to say that I really sucked at it!
The whole experience reminded me of when I was learning to drive manual for the very first time. I had to make sure my feet, hands and eyes are all coordinated to make sure I don't screw up the work.
Being elevated like that was another thing to get used to. I have been accustomed to being down low, on ground level. It took a lot of getting used to.
Pak Udin, the main person working in the throwing wheel room, patiently guided me and provided instructions (and the occasional fix ups!). He told me that when he started, it took him a full day to finally get the hang of it.
I did not manage to prove whether a full day was what it took to master the kick wheel, but nonetheless, it was a great experience trying on something new!
The writing below is based on my visit to the 3rd Jakarta Contemporary Ceramics Biennale (JCCB). However, I must mention that being unaware of the separate buildings housing the artworks, I only visited the main building and thus my comments below are confined to just the artworks within the main building.
Galeri Nasional Indonesia
Jl. Medan Merdeka Timur No. 14 Jakarta
23 Sept - 13 Oct 2014
Boy was I glad that I managed to go to the JCCB just a few days before it closed.
When I arrived, I was informed that photography was no longer allowed from that day onwards. This was due to breakages that had occured while people carelessly moved around while taking photos. Luckily, I was given a special consideration by the coordinator, Yanti, as long as I was accompanied by one of the minders. Below are just some of the highlights.
As soon as you walk in, you are presented with an impressive chandelier that frames the entrance to Dadang Christanto's work entitled JAVA. I have seen Dadang's works previously at shows in Sydney, so I was pleased to see a familiar name.
On the other side of the wall, I was intrigued by Arghya Dhyaksa's playfull installation of small ceramic figurines on how our interpretations are distorted by our thirst to know everything about everyone. Below is a close up of the installation about how smoking kills you - apt for a country where smoking is so prevalent and widespread.
I was jarred from my quiet contemplation by what sounded like breaking ceramics. Fortunately, it was just the sound of Bagus Pandega's interactive installation called Propitious 13, made of ceramic cups and spoons. Visitors can trigger the tinkle of the spoon agains the ceramic cups (and if you're over vigorous with it, it sounds like you might break the cups).
The work of Budi Pradono, Clay City, cleverly used the gallery space. It was not surprising to find out that he is actually an architect. The curving brick walls meticulously arranged around the central spaces of the exhibition gently guided the flow of visitors from one room to another.
In a darkened room, Eldwin Pradipta's video projection on three white vases provided a different dimension to the exhibition. The work questions the nature of the value of art, based on Ai Weiwei's Colored Vases. Here Eldwin portrayed the possibility of displaying ordinary traditional vases (which are low in value) in a high art gallery, when it is covered by colours.
Other notable artworks from the biennale were the delicate and wonderful works of Tomoko Konno (Japan), the giant golden durian by Wasinburee Supranichvoraparch (Thailand) and Wan Li Ya's (China) blue and white porcelain works entitled Thousands Kilometers Landscape.
I was throughly impressed by the quality of the collection! The artworks showcased a wide range of colours, techniques and scope. I never would have expected to see such wonderful contemporary ceramic artworks in Indonesia. Congratulations to all the artists and the organisers! Job well done!
Of course, there are always room for improvements. Some suggestions I have to the organisers for future events:
Irine is a recipient of the Australia Council for the Arts' Artstart Grant (June 2014-2015).
This website has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts
funding and advisory body.