Jumat, 02 Maret 2012

Buah Tangan #5

small presentation about Mella Jaarsma art work by Nasrin Sadaat (Iran)
at Grobak a(r)t Kos, jl, Stonen no 29 Semarang
sunday 04032012/ 1 pm
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The aim of this research will be describe a case study of Mella Jaarsma's artwork, a Dutch female artist leaving and working in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. To examine common features of the artist’s works and specifically look to find expressions of cultural identity within. Jaarsma seeks to express using the human body in various art media and genres of painting, photography, illustration, objects, video installation and installation through performance art to invite the audience to think more deeply. Since migrating to Yogyakarta, Jaarsma not only has been interested in a personal exploration of Javanese culture especially shadow and light but also the colonization situation. So the artist’s point of view in the creation of art was to deconstruct and question identities, origin and otherness. For understanding and analyzing the content and the process of creation in Jaarsma's work, the approach of this research will be the theory of post-colonization in concepts of otherness and hybridity in Java.

Research Background

In the 21st century the concept of identity has many different parts that are shaped by the contemporary world. According to Ford (2005) "identity, encompasses the unique blend of character, gender, race, sexual orientation and values that defines and distinguishes each person from another." (par.2) “Culture is an important factor in shaping identity.”(Pratt 2005).
In recent decades, in response to globalization, the desire to know and understand other cultures has increased. Contemporary women artists in different spheres of social development are addressing the specific concerns of women as well as indigenous characteristics of their land to create works of art in various fields such as, Photography, Video, Installation, and performance art. Therefore, the issue of ideas about social and cultural life in a postmodern, urban, globalized world is challengeable. To understand the images being created, the artist relies on the audience’s familiarity with the visual culture of contemporary life. In the contemporary globalized world, social and historical context in art offers new ways of seeing and thinking about relations of belonging and identity. Today women artists select new media to express them.
Through Mella Jaarsma’s exploration of colonization, Javanese philosophy and being interested in shadow and light in ‘wayang puppet’ show; audiences can seek three important phases in artist works. The first phase, according to Ooi, 2009 “The turbulent events following the 1997 economic crash that led to the anti-Chinese riots, Reformasi, and a number of religious clashes dominating Indonesia’s socio-political landscape during that period of time” In reference to surroundings, Jaarsma questioned origin, identity and otherness to work with the body and it’s covering with unusual material, such as animal skin. According to Ooi, 2009 Symbolic expression loaded metaphor of race sexuality authenticity and origin in the exotic animal skin. The notion of insider/outsider which relate to human existence and responses to others occurred in this phase. In the second phase from 2003, Jaarsma used architecture and utilitarianism as contents in form and design to seeking protection, migration and mobility. In a time of peace, phase three, Jaarsma places emphases on video in her installations. The choice of material moved to everyday objects.
In Jaarsma oeuvre viewers confront with community code, rituals and symbols. Also, the mixture of different values, hidden meaning. All material chooses to convey certain symbolic meaning with various interpretations of audience form different cultures.
On one hand, Jaarsma’s artwork addresses the socio-political problems in her surroundings. Jaarsma confronts the cultural differences between races, classes, ethnics, gender and religions in Java. Then artist demonstrates how these differences between sub-cultures could be creating conflicts and confrontation but sometimes one image can be borrow form another culture with same meaning in both society. These issues manifest themselves through hatred, violence and social hierarchies in both groups and individuals.
On the other hand, the colonized country exchanges culture with the colonizer yet separate from this still keeps their own culture like Javanese philosophy that the artist can work with. In this situation there are lots of different values and interpretations of objects. Symbolic meanings for indigenous and non-indigenous are not same. The artist can look to symbols as the central problem through different perspectives and tries to convey it in artworks to challenge the audiences and invite viewers to think again.
In conclusion this can be defined by Mella Jaarsma’s statement “Through my work, I question origin and actually deconstruct identities by producing renewable identities, seeing identity as a transient invention.”
(Nasrin Saadat)

Nasrin Saadat, Born in 1980, Iran
MA student in Visual arts, cultraul center, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur
BA in Photography,Faculty of Arts and Architecture, Azad University
Second Degree Diploma in Graphic Design, Shariati University, Tehran

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