Installation and New Media Art
The very question of whether photography is or is not an art is essentially a misleading one. Although photography generates works that can be called art - it requires subjectivity, it can lie, it gives aesthetic pleasure - photography is not, to begin with, an art form at all. Like language, it is a medium in which works of art (among other things) are made.
- Susan Sontag, on photography
When Louis Daguerre took a picture of a passerby of a Parisian street in 1838, using a silver and chalk based mixture to focus light on to a copper plate, little did he know this was an act to revolutionize the face of human history, and the interpretation of art as we know it now. The early daguerreotype evolved into film photography, then moving cinema, and finally the astonishing digital technology of the twenty-first century; permitting new concepts of visual aesthetics never dreamt of before by the Old Masters and Impressionists.
Within this specially curated section, a line-up of empowering new media works demonstrates the true multi-disciplinary potential and vision of young artists working in Asia today. Photographers such as Agan Harahap (Lot 1632) and Wawi Navarroza (Lot 1633); 'scanography' artist Angki Purbandono (Lot 1636); and video artists Tromarama (Lot 1634) all premise their works upon the final film or digital product which articulates their artistic intent within a single tangible object. Other more process-oriented artists such as Maria Taniguchi (Lot 1637) and Melati Suryodarmo (Lot 1635) use video as a means rather than an end; to form the nucleus of a complete experiential installation, or as documentation of a performing act.
On the other end of the spectrum, but equally challenging the boundaries of visual art, are the artists working in non-conventional sculpture and conceptual forms, such as Yason Banal (Lot 1638) whose artistic method is less about tangible structures than an interrogation of minimalism. Eko Nugroho's pair of monumental bronzes (Lot 1521) arise from his visions of a future technology-based dystopic world. Cast larger than life, as viewers we are forced to confront the reality-sized permutations of humanity and test our own reactions accordingly.
The rapidly increasing appreciation and practice of installation, conceptual art, and new media enables the construction of a new visual code and way of thinking. As viewers, we relocate from being mere spectators to audience-participants in one of the greatest aesthetic and intellectual movements of our current age.
Tromarama is an artist trio based out of Bandung, Indonesia. They work with animation video, using stop-mot ion video-editing techniques to create video works using woodcut, photocopy, collage, embroidery, painting, and drawing, and materials like charcoal, buttons, sequins, and beads. They have produced several music videos for local bands in different genres such as rock and jazz. Made for the music band R.N.R.M. (Rock N Roll Mafia), this present lot Zsa Zsa Zsu which derives from a phrase from the American drama Sex and the City which describes the feeling that a person feels from just wishing to be with the one one loves, counts as one of the first music video they have made. The work was created from 12 kilograms of buttons and a kilogram of beads that made up approximately 1,500 frames. The dazzling and rapidly changing colours used - red, pink, purple, green and blue, reflect the excitement of R.N.R.M's electronic musical tune.