A Taste Of Contemporary Art In Bali

Contemporary Art in Bali

Art in Bali is live and well! Thanks to the leader of Biasa Group for contemporary art development, we discovered local artists in Bali during a GAA trip organized to the area.

 

Conceptual artist Marco Cassani, who hails from Italy, believes Bali is a place where artists are encouraged to work with freedom and creativity. He specialises in integrating art exhibitions in Ubud’s cultural spaces rather than galleries, something that is quite unusual for the location.

Contemporary Art in Bali
Indisciplinato Exhibition View, 2016, VAPRICO#157 column, assisted readymade one thousand coins of Rp 100, 2015. Stainless steel and brass pipe Ø 2,3x200cm. Images courtesy of VAPRICO and OFCA International.
Contemporary Art in Bali
Contemporary Art in Bali
Marco Cassani, Indisciplinato Installation View 2016. Image courtesy of VAPRICO and OFCA International.

A well-known artist to set up a home in Bali is Lucie Fontaine. This French artist has a Balinese branch aptly named KAYU, which is the Indonesian word for wood. By opening a local branch in Bali, she helps to develop the island’s local art scene with her internationally acclaimed connections.

In 2005, Susanna Perini founded the Biasa Art Group. This group fights for the rights of both Indonesian and International artists, many of whom are young, and just starting out in the industry. It has provided tremendous support to artists on the island, giving them a space to work in, but also access to creative ideas from the community, allowing them to converse with the public. The public also serves as inspiration to them. The Indonesian contemporary art scene has benefited greatly since the government and the local institutions started working with Biasa ArtSpace and here we ask the founder a few questions.

Collectionair: How did you go from boutique owner to the founder of BIASA?

Susanna Perini: I founded BIASA, my resort wear label, in 1994 here in Bali – couture and design is my heritage and ‘trade’ let’s say, something that has run in my family for generations in my native Italy. I discovered my passion for Indonesian contemporary art whilst travelling within the Indonesian archipelago. I met these incredibly talented artists who were exploring concepts and creations with depth and new-ness and wanted to know more about this realm. This led me to opening BIASA ArtSpace in 2005.

Contemporary Art in Bali
Susanna Perini. Image courtesy of Biasa ArtSpace.
Contemporary Art in Bali
BIASA ArtSpace, Portable, Gallery View. Image courtesy of Biasa ArtSpace.

C: How has the Balinese and Indonesian art scene changed since your first exhibition opened in 2005?

SP: The art scene in Indonesia, Java and Bali included, has changed immensely since 2005. I find that a lot of Indonesian artists have found their voices along the way and taken more risks in sharing their art-form with the public, with artists showing their work across the globe, gaining more and more following and respect within contemporary art circles. Now, we find ourselves in a more quiet moment, where we see an interesting interaction between gallery – curator – artist. It is in this moment that we wait to see what is in store in the future.

C: …and where do you see the Indonesian art scene going?

SP: I feel that the Indonesian contemporary art scene has much to offer, but it will all depend on the opportunities and investment Indonesia makes towards this. I strongly believe that it is time for institutions and funded learning centres to begin to be established to educate both artists and the public.

C: What has been your favourite show to date?

SP: A very difficult question, I always feel that every exhibition I have worked towards in the gallery brought incredible rewards in the time and space in which it was held. If I have to mention a few of my favourites, I would have to mention an exhibition I hosted in Shanghai, ‘Poem of Blood’ by Ugo Untoro and ‘Fetish’, a group exhibition curated by Enin Supriyanto.

Contemporary Art in Bali
Installation view, Poem of Blood, Shanghai. Image courtesy of Biasa ArtSpace.
Contemporary Art in Bali
Installation view, Poem of Blood, Shanghai. Image courtesy of Biasa ArtSpace.

C: What advice would you give to collectors or art enthusiasts that are interested in knowing more about the Indonesian art scene?

SP: Besides visiting galleries and learning more about the incredible history of Indonesia that plays a big part in the art created here, I would really suggest to spend more time in artist’s studios – sharing a meal, a conversation, a moment where you learn more about the source of the work before it enters the world of ‘art’ through curators and gallerists. This is the most interesting way to discover more about contemporary art in Indonesia.

Viktoriya Arnaud

Viktoriya Arnaud, was born in Eastern Europe and has worked in France for over a decade. She received a Master’s degree in Contemporary Art Market and Expertise from IESA in Paris abd has been actively involved in the international art industry for more than 8 years. She has worked with art fairs, french galleries and Sotheby’s Auction House.