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INDIEGUERILLAS (Indonesia b. 1975 & 1977)
INDIEGUERILLAS (Indonesia b. 1975 & 1977)

Awake is the New Sleep

INDIEGUERILLAS (Indonesia b. 1975 & 1977)
Awake is the New Sleep
signed with artists' monogram (centre left)
acrylic on canvas
51 1/8 x 51 1/8 in. (130 x 130 cm.)
Painted in 2008

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Mingyin Lin
Mingyin Lin

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Lot Essay

"The worst mistake that you can make is to think you're alive, when really you're asleep in life's waiting room." - the character of Guy Forsyth from Waking Life, a film by Richard Linklater

Artistic duo Indieguerillas assault our senses like a force of nature. As quintessential progenies of the Generation Y collective, they create and manipulate a bizarre hallucinogenic universe which pulses with effervescent life. Drawing their influences from street art, pop culture, animation and graphic design, as well as elements of their traditional Javanese storytelling heritage, they envision our contemporary world as a psychedelic artifice anchored by popular metaphors and passing momentary desires.

This present work, aptly titled Awake is the New Sleep, imbues our current existence with all the heightened sensorial qualities usually associated with the condition of sleep or, more accurately, lucid dreaming. Lucid dreaming is the state of somatic being where certain mental faculties and powers of cognition are still present, but take place within a hallucinatory dreamscape conjured up by REM neurobiology. Colours spin within the air, appearing brighter and more vivid than everyday life; words, signs and symbols gain an increased significance; events occur in a chaotic yet seemingly poignant sequence. As the dreamers within this waking life, we are disarmed, open, and receptive, while vaguely pumped up as though on an amphetamine high, just like the euphoric characters cavorting across the pictorial plane.

Adopting their movements from the slick b-boys of the street, the styleheads populating Indieguerillas' canvas flail their limbs and contort their torsos, moving as a unanimous group to individualistic beats. The central protagonist wears a crown proclaiming him the king of his own hill, his candy-cane striped arms curling and twisting in fantastic fashion. He is blissfully cocooned in his noise-muffling earphones, enclosing him into a sonic universe which only he can hear. A second figure cradles a boombox on his shoulder, while in the background another flips in the air for joy, spinning and breaking at the speed of light. Their toothless grins give them a naïf, almost imbecilic demeanour, yet their blissed out expressions indicate the ascent into their own personal nirvanas.

The frenetic quality of the entire composition underscores the hedonistic overdrive of our current reality, where the aphorism of "live fast, die young" has been taken to new extremes. Indieguerillas are masters at assembling iconic representations of the dynamic excess found within contemporary culture, starkly provocative yet strikingly resonant.

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